Since 2014, Centre for Fashion Enterprise has delivered business support programmes in Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds City Council.

Leeds has historically played a key part in the UK fashion industry due to its strong manufacturing base and being the birthplace of legendary brands such as Marks and Spencer and Burton. The region continues to make an impressive contribution to the industry, with Burberry planning to move its production to Leeds city centre and a number of fashion courses on offer at the city’s world-class universities.

The city has aspirations to become an ever-stronger fashion hub, evidenced by the growing community of fashion businesses in Leeds who have benefitted from CFE’s support. To date, the CFE Leeds programme has worked with 27 Market Entry-level designers and 5 Pioneer-level designers from the Leeds fashion community. CFE’s expert consultants have provided bespoke support and mentoring to the participating designers, with the aim of business development through viable business strategies, access to networks and better understanding of the fashion eco-system.

Pioneer designer Zara-Mia Ava said of her experience: “My business has developed greatly with the help of the CFE. I have learned the importance of a brand’s development and how beneficial it is to have a vision and ethos, a business that means something.”

In 2016, Leeds City Council commissioned CFE to deliver a 3-year strategy proposal to support Leeds’ development as a hub for the fashion industry in the North of England.

The impact of CFE’s work in Leeds so far includes:

  • CFE Pioneer designers Cabba and Julia D’albert were stocked in new John Lewis store in Leeds for A/W 2016 season
  • Key industry figures introduced to the Leeds fashion network steering committee
  • Development of Fashion in Leeds, a local fashion network in Leeds
  • Strong links developed between Leeds and the wider fashion industry

CFE continues to work closely with the Leeds fashion industry to support its growth and development.