East London fashion hub receives £2m funding

A series of fashion projects across Poplar, Bow and Hackney Wick have received almost £2m of funding through the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.

The idea is to create affordable studio space and new opportunities for fashion companies in East London

The ‘Fashion District’ is an initiative from the London College of Fashion, UAL and the UK Industrial Strategy aimed at creating a fashion technology and manufacturing hub in the East End of London.

The project was presented to the Mayor of London under the name of ‘Lea Threads’, and will deliver of a collection of affordable workspace for start-ups in Poplar, larger studios for growth-stage fashion designers on Monier Road just off the Olympic Park, and a loan-financing scheme for sustainable fashion businesses.

In Poplar, the workspaces will be created as part of the wider Fashioning Poplar initiative, which has already delivered affordable design studio space; education facilities and a garment manufacturing and training hub run by London College of Fashion. The new workspaces will be completed in spring 2019.

Meanwhile, the fit-out of larger Monier Road studios will be completed in September.

Other fashion projects in the area include 'East Works: Fashion’, a comprehensive skills and business development programme across fashion workspaces and businesses within the Lower Lea Valley and Olympic Park. This programme, and the loan-financing scheme London Fashion Fund, will launch from autumn 2018.

Professor Frances Corner, head of the London College of Fashion, said:  “This investment will drive the growth of London’s fashion technology sector and bring meaningful economic and social transformation to East London. The Fashion District is a place where opportunities are being created and this funding will mean more of that. More workspace, more skills being developed and more businesses being supported. I’m delighted by what this could mean for the future of our fashion industry.”

Steve Stride, CEO of  Poplar Harca added: “The Mayor of London’s investment recognises East London’s rich fashion and manufacturing heritage and the important strategic role this can play in delivering future growth and opportunity across the Lower Lea Valley. For Poplar Harca, this is about bringing fashion jobs, training and business opportunities back to the East End, which are fully accessible to local people and the wider community. It’s a hugely exciting time for Poplar.”

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