FSP responds to and builds on the findings of previous CSF projects, including the 2013/14 AHRC-funded FIRE (Fashion, Innovation, Research and Enterprise) project led by FSP’s PI Prof.Sandy Black. The FIRE project identified the need for new business models and piloted methods of MSE support through knowledge exchange between design-led fashion MSEs and researchers.
CSF has always made support for small business a core aspect of our ethos and our work. We have been able to offer this support by partnering with other organisations, most recently the Fashion and Textiles Museum on the Creative Hub project. These partnerships have allowed us to access funding which subsidises both group workshops and one-to-one mentoring.
London Style also offered us an opportunity to provide training, support and showcasing to 100 London based fashion businesses over two years. We focused on offering insight and practical advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions; we brought together a network of expertise to cover areas such as design, supply chain management, communication and sales.
During the FSP project, a multi-disciplinary research team will work directly with a range of design-led fashion MSEs as co-producers of the research. The fashion designer-entrepreneur, and leaders in MSE teams, will be the focus of analysis. The research will explore sustainability as a creative endeavour, examining four key areas; design and operations, business networks and ecosystems, working practices and entrepreneurship and business models.
This will lead to new knowledge and understanding of the internal operations and external context within which these fashion MSEs operate. This knowledge will be applied to establish and support new sustainable models of business development, repositioning designer fashion MSEs as major contributors to the UK’s creative and sustainable economy, and ultimately informing future UK policy for the creative industries.
The research will analyse existing and novel business models and practices that foster sustainable prosperity, a concept aiming to balance environmental, social, cultural and economic considerations. We will identify barriers and points of intervention in order to develop alternative business support mechanisms for sustainability to inform fashion businesses at both small and larger scales. To meet this complex challenge, the academic team is drawn from three leading research centres and universities, whose complementary academic expertise will provide a novel cross-disciplinary approach to research in fashion innovation and sustainable prosperity.