Blog: Leonie BarrieWinning UK fashion exports

Leonie Barrie | 25 May 2006

Congratulations to retailer Ben Sherman and Rose Marie Bravo, chief executive of Burberry, who between them picked up four of the ten trophies at yesterday’s UK Fashion Export Awards in London. The annual event celebrates the best of all things British, and this year reinforced the strong bond that exists between the UK and US, with most winners citing the US as their top market in 2005.

Of course the Brits are known for their iconic brands and directional fashion, and none more so than the winners. Ben Sherman was the first ever company to pick up three gongs – the Gold Award for Exporter of the Year and the Multi-Channel and Export Initiative trophies – and has seen its style trademarks veer from the Mods in the 60s to rock legends such as David Bowie, Paul Weller and the Gallagher brothers.
Rose Marie Bravo masterminded Burberry’s US sales surge (up by 83% since 2001 to GBP166m in 2005) by turning a British classic into the must-have label behind the current AngloMania exhibition in New York.

Winner of the Export Newcomer Award was La Petite Salope; Pistol Panties collected the Lingerie/Beachwear Award; Accessories went to Tateossian; the Childrenswear winner was Tickittyboo; Menswear was won by John Smedley; and the Womenswear award went to Bellville Sassoon Lorcan Mullany.

As Gail Sackloff, merchandise director of AMC Target, which represents Saks Fifth Avenue among other American stores, and one of yesterday’s judges said: “London still manages to be first with the direction and the excitement." Not only is this absolutely true, but it's also something we tend to lose sight of. The UK is a seed-bed for nurturing up-and-coming design talent that is sought after, not just in the USA but throughout the world. Indeed, apparel exports, estimated at around GBP3bn for 2005, represent one of the largest sectors within the UK economy.


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