The top fashion associations in Europe have an important role in the business of fashion on a regional and pan-European scale. The associations strive for integration, tolerance and cooperation between the different European fashion industries; support and establishment of regional fashion art on a pan-European level; development of fashion design in Europe; cooperation between the business circles of member states; exchange and realisation of ideas, initiatives and concepts by member states. Let’s take a look at some of the leading fashion association in Europe -:
European Fashion Heritage Association
The European Fashion Heritage Association was established in 2014 following a project co-funded by the European Commission, in which both public and private archives and museums across Europe collaborated and shared the rich heritage of their historical clothing and accessories, contemporary designs, catwalk photographs, drawings, sketches, magazines, catalogues and videos, on a digital platform.
Since, the association has created a growing network of fashion heritage institutions and built the largest and richest digital fashion heritage repository. It has reeled in forty-five European fashion institutions from fourteen European countries – with the unified objective to give free access to Europe’s fashion heritage. Today, it is a digital hub, in which fashion galleries, libraries, archives, museums, fashion brands, researchers and creatives can share experiences and practices in the field of digitisation, co-creation and valorisation of fashion heritage resources, contributing to the digital transformation in the sector and supporting the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage in the field of textile and fashion. The association also contributes as the fashion thematic aggregator to Europeana, Europe’s platform for cultural heritage funded by the European Commission that gives access to millions of digital heritage objects from cultural institutions across Europe. It is also an active member of Culture Action Europe and of the European Heritage Alliance, and official partner of the New European Bauhaus.
Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode
As a regulating commission that determines which fashion design houses are eligible to be haute couture houses, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode brings together fashion brands that seek to promote French fashion culture, particularly Haute Couture, by encouraging them to combine traditional textile craft with modern technology. It comprises three central bodies i.e. Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear, Men’s Fashion. And, regulates Paris Fashion Week and its offshoots, including the official calendar of shows and presentations, bringing together over one hundred and fifty fashion brands.
Skills are the core of the Federation. Deeply invested in creation, committed to companies and acting globally, it encouraged the strategic partnership between schools that influenced fashion in their own way. The ECSCP have embodied French excellence since 1927 and the IFM has been a pioneer in fashion management degree since 1986. Today, their union offers Paris a new school to shape fresh fashion talent. “The union of the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale et de l’IFM provides Paris with a school whose ambition is to establish itself as the best fashion school in the world, relying on a unique trio, management, technics and creation, ranging from CAP to Thesis, including Bachelor and Master Degree, settled in a new innovative and open site, actively promoting social diversity, and at the forefront in terms of technologies and sustainable development” stated Ralph Toledano, President, Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
As a core element of an ecosystem resolutely geared towards the future, the Federation lies at the heart of the fashion industry’s changes and challenges. It provides members with a range of services in the sphere of legal, social, economic, technological, marketing and communication through dedicated commissions, ad hoc task forces or individual appointments with fashion brands. It actively takes part in the expansion of the French ecosystem by providing emerging fashion brands with financial and organisational support, and the overall expertise they need to structure and ease their development and exposure.The support to emerging brands is one of the key missions of the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. It supports their development before and after their entry in the official calendars and contributes to increasing their visibility within an institutional, commercial, technologic and media network. The Fédération also organises a showroom, Designers Apartment, with the backing of the DEFI, a committee for the promotion and advancement of clothing industries. And, to remain relevant today, it has a digital platform ‘New Now’.
British Fashion Council
Founded in 1983, London-based British Fashion Council <BCF> strengthens British fashion in the global economy by championing diversity and encouraging the industry to build a circular fashion economy. The not-for-profit organisation — responsible for London Fashion Week, London Fashion Week Men’s, British Fashion Awards and London Fashion Week Festival — supports both young and established fashion designers in a number of ways including scholarships, connections with global audiences and championing talent.
Most significantly, the BFC is activating a long term plan to stamp out racial prejudice. In September 2020, the council created a Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee to stamp out racism in fashion and hosts fortnightly discussions with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic fashion communities to address challenges and work on solutions.“The Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee aspires for the fashion industry to be open for all and reflect the diverse, global communities it inspires and serves. The Committee aims to reach this ambition by bringing together leaders in business, culture and education to create a framework which will build better, broader engagement and access for all under-represented groups; creating more opportunities and driving greater diversity throughout the industry,” Caroline Rush, CEO of British Fashion Council, revealed in a statement.
The BFC also incorporated all its charities to form the BFC Foundation in 2019, supporting the growth of the British fashion industry by focusing on education, grant-giving and business mentoring and the IPF. In the mot recent news, following a period of virtual fashion shows, financial strain and the closures of several labels and fashion brands, the council re-allocated its resources and helped a large number of fashion designers to survive the pandemic. A primary example is of how BFC Foundation made £1,000,000 Covid emergency funds available to fashion businesses impacted by the pandemic and a portion of the funds also allocated to fashion students, underpinning the future generation of creative talent.
Nordic Fashion Association
Nordic Fashion Association was inaugurated in 2008 by five Nordic fashion organisations: Danish Fashion Institute; Helsinki Design Week; Icelandic Fashion Council; Oslo Fashion Week; and Swedish Fashion Council. It has the core purpose of getting together the Nordic fashion industry and collectively embarking on the process of working with, and implementing, socially responsible and sustainable principles of fashion. These five Nordic countries are globally acclaimed for socially responsible business acumen and a tradition of high social and environmental standards.
By teaming up, the five countries can pool knowledge and gain critical mass and actually make a difference in terms of influencing the global fashion production processes.
“It is extremely important that we as an industry take a holistic view on the big topics about sustainability in fashion, and we need to work together, globally… focusing on solutions for a more sustainable future in fashion,” said Swedish Fashion Association’s Secretary General Catarina Midby.
Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana
Non-profit association Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana supports the development of Italian Fashion. Founded in 1985, the association embodies the cultural values of Italian Fashion and aims to protect and strengthen its image, both in Italy and overseas. Representing more than two hundred companies across segments like clothing, accessories, leather goods and footwear, it disseminates knowledge with stakeholders in the industry and develops Italian fashion through high-scale events, the most influential being Milan Fashion Week established in 1958 and currently one of the world’s big four fashion weeks alongside New York, London and Paris. PS An interesting facet of Milan Fashion Week is The Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia for sustainable fashion — by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in alliance with UK-based consulting firm Eco-Age which specialises in ethics and sustainability.
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