This season we were proud to present our first series of #FSMasterclasses at Freemasons' Hall. The masterclasses kicked off right after the AW18 shows, on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st February. Influential speakers from within the fashion industry came in to talk to designers, traveling to London from all around the globe to educate, inform and advise emerging designers on topics ranging from financial planning in an international market to creative collaborations. 

Our first speaker, Jan Miller, began with a talk on setting up a business and what you need to consider before going solo as a designer. Jan encouraged the audience to recognise themselves as entrepreneurs and their brand as a business. With her success and experience in specialist consultancy services, Jan's informed perspective makes her a highly qualified voice on strengthening brand sand building reputations as a designer name.

Her insight gave the audience of designers thoughtful tips and a great basis of knowledge in building up their platform. Jan's proficiency in strategic business planning and finance management gave us the opportunity to invite her back to the masterclass on day two, where she started the day off with a talk on financial planning and growth in keeping a business stable and profitable.    

Next up, speaker Abdullah Abo Milhim gave a talk on strategic branding, innovation and value creation within the industry. With a background in teaching courses in Fashion Business, Fashion Buying, Fashion Promotion and Luxury Brand Management as well as Economics, Finance, Strategy and Management at several Higher Education Institutions, Abdullah had an incredible amount of factual knowledge as well as professional experience to share with our guests. His enthusiasm and extensive insight to the industry was an inspiration to all, as Abdullah gave our guest designers a crash course on how to keep a business running smoothly and successfully. 

We had the pleasure of welcoming Geraldine Wharry, our third guest speaker to talk to us about understanding trends and maintaining creative originality. With her experience and understanding of trend forecasting, Geraldine gave a talk on how designers can be original, whilst remaining relevant to the rest of the ever evolving fashion industry and incorporating uniqueness into your brand. Often when considering trends many people think of the mainstream, however the acknowledgment of current trends and forecasting trends is vital to designers in creating collections.

To end the first day, Hannah Middleton took to the stage to explain how to attract buyers and build on stockists, as well as range planning and internationalisation. Starting the masterclass she had an interactive task to engage the guests, leading onto to a discussion about how they identify themselves and how they might be able to market their brand identity to attract these buyers. 

The second day saw four guest speakers; Chimere Cisse, Mark Dodds and Martyn Roberts speaking with Paul Alger. Chimere Cisse spoke about the importance and processes of show PR, attracting media, and building relationships from over ten years experience in PR positions for luxury brands. Chimere's talk impacted and enlightened most of the designers at the event on PR and how to build a brand through relationships and collaborations, while Martyn Roberts and Paul Alger gave us an in-depth and detailed talk on catwalk vs. presentation, producing memorable shows and a guide to international exhibitions. Having founded Fashion Scout in 2006, Martyn gave all insider details and advice to our guests on how to create a WOW show and how to behave in within the industry. Paul Alger spoke more in depth on the international aspect of fashion shows and exhibitions having worked and studied in international surroundings. 

To finish off our masterclass this season, we had guest speaker Mark Dodds present on the topic of production, sales and wholesales. His background in the British fashion industry working with suppliers and traveling internationally was crucial and informative to educate the audience on how sales, production and the process of creating garments in factories functions.

We've had a wonderful and exciting season for AW18 this year, and the launch of our masterclass is the first of many more to come! With plenty of great food, conversation and the opportunity to network with professionals in the fashion industry Fashion Scout's Masterclasses are a great way for us to end London Fashion Week and prepare for the future for more shows and events to come.  



Words and Photography by Amaryliss Knight