When I was approached to be a judge of the Legacy Collection I knew instantly I wanted to be involved. The support that the LDNY Foundation gives to women worldwide from differing backgrounds, ethnicities and locations is so inspiring and it's a real privilege to be a part of this ground-breaking programme. The fashion industry has so many levels of which consumers are often completely unaware and the positive attention that the Legacy Collection is drawing to the creation and artisan aspect of the manufacturing process is really exciting. Usually this work goes on behind the scenes, in far off lands and in the hands of highly skilled women who receive little credit even though their role is so integral to the luxury clothing design process. I really can't wait for them to have their moment to shine and their hard work be recognised, it's the perfect way to kick-start what will be a fabulous, female orientated evening at the WIE awards.
As a women in the business-world myself, I have always been a strong believer that females should support each other in every way possible. From the girls who work in my London stores, to the women who we source fabrics from in Italy and the clientele I cater to worldwide, I'm always sure to treat everyone equally. At the end of the day, to be successful you have to value your people and the role they play, which is why the recognition that the Legacy Collection gives to rising designers and unknown artisans is so unique. At my company I have the philosophy that we are all part of a team, no matter how large or small someone's role may be. If we don't look after each other, encourage each other and motivate each other to ensure we are all performing our roles to the best of our ability then the end result can be affected - meaning my company and my company's reputation may suffer and what savvy business-woman would want that after fifteen years of pouring your heart and soul into building up your brand? There are so many negative words used to describe successful business women in contrast to successful business men and levelling out any gender inequalities is something I have tried to spearhead throughout my career.
This is why I am such a strong supporter of the LDNY Foundation and what they are trying to achieve. Not only are they reaching out to developing countries and forging successful trading relationships, but they are also focusing on helping a fashion career become attainable to those from less fortunate back-grounds in in two of the Fashion capitals of the world whilst helping to empower women in the process. What is really commendable is that this is a long term partnership, the ITC's Women and Trade programme has set a goal of building a design establishment in Africa, thereby creating an international platform for these talented artisans.
It's also been a pleasure to witness the work and craftsmanship from the next generation of designers at the London College of Fashion and Parsons New School New York as part of the judging process for this event. Yet the LDNY foundation has not just focused on the now, in fact they have set their sights further into the future and have carefully and consciously invested in the future of fashion by funding scholarships at both Parsons and the London College of fashion to empower women from less affluent backgrounds and give them the opportunity to progress into their chosen career. To see pieces designed in London, New York and more diverse places such as Ethiopia, India and Peru and ethically produced with London-based enterprise 'Fashion Enters', shows the positive global reach that this project has been able to achieve and personally I'm very excited to see the different cultural representations that we will be coming down the runway.