Walpole, the not-for-profit trade body that represents more than 160 British luxury brands, has chosen London Fashion Week ready-to-wear womenswear designer Emilia Wickstead as one of its twelve emerging companies for its Brands of Tomorrow programme.
Wickstead, who was recently placed in the spotlight after dressing Diane Kruger at the Golden Globes Awards, is joined by accessories and footwear brand Bionda Castana, fashion and interiors print label House of Hackney, shoe brand Mulo, men’s accessories label Marwood and eyewear brand Finlay & Co, as the luxury fashion and accessories brands to watch.
Now in its eighth year, the programme provides a year-long series of workshops and one-on-one mentorship from some of the UK’s most experienced luxury leaders and entrepreneurs. Due to the record number of entries, more than 75 brands, the competition was expanded this year from 8 to 12 due to the quality and strength of the entrants.
This year’s mentors include Harrods managing director Michael Ward, who has been assigned to work with Bionda Castana, president and chief executive of Thomas Pink Jonathan Heilbron who will be assisting House of Hackney, and Jim Sharp, partner and co-founder of Sirius Equity will be working with Emilia Wickstead.
Walpole unveils 2015 class for Brands of Tomorrow programme
The programme has been extended to offer workshops covering strategy, financial planning, distribution channels, branding, marketing, the customer and managing a growing business. In addition, Walpole has also linked its London Business School’s Luxury Goods MBA elective to partner a student to a brand.
Since its inception in 2007, over 70 emerging luxury brands have graduated from the Brands of Tomorrow programme, including footwear brand Charlotte Olympia, menswear and womenswear brand Private White VC and cashmere womenswear brand Goat.
Michelle Emmerson, CEO of Walpole, said: “This year’s excellent group of very diverse brands represents the future of our industry. The British luxury goods industry is forecast to be worth 12.2 billion pounds by 2017 and as part of our mission to develop, promote and protect this industry, we are dedicated to growing the next generation of talent.
“I am also thrilled to welcome Jonathan Heilbron as Chairman of our Brands of Tomorrow programme. Since Jonathan’s appointment as President and CEO of Thomas Pink, in 2004, he has revived, restored and reinterpreted the quality British shirt making tradition and in doing so built a globally successful luxury brand. His experience, vision and motivation are a huge asset to the programme.”
Other brands named as Brands of Tomorrow includes art gallery Beetles+Huxley, furniture retailer John Galvin Design, luxury nail lacquer brand Only Fingers and Toes, as well as British designed candle brand Rachel Vosper, golfing label RolleyGold and bike specialist 14 Bike Co.
Images: Walpole - Emilia Wickstead and Bionda Castana