Edgy London attracts more fashion buyers from U.S., Asia

Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:56pm EDT
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By Li-mei Hoang and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - British designers are drawing increasing interest from buyers in the United States and Asia, experts say, as fashion followers turn to edgy London to keep their wardrobes fresh.

Having produced names like Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, the British capital traditionally champions designers prepared to take risks.

Buyers from big department stores around the world travel to the four fashion hubs each season - New York, Paris, Milan and London - and, while smaller than its rivals, the latter still enjoys a reputation for breaking new ground.

The September 13-17 London Fashion Week for spring/summer 2014 has drawn a strong U.S. presence, including from luxury department stores Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, said Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council (BFC) chief executive.

"There is a very strong attendance from the U.S.," she said.

"(Young) designers are seeing growth in American markets, various different Asian territories; they're seeing growth in mainland Europe but (mainly) a lot of opportunity through America and Asia."

Well-known British luxury goods brands such as Burberry and Mulberry are staples in many stores around the world, but newer names such as Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto are also proving popular across the pond.

"I am a huge fan of London Fashion Week because we have so many great designers that we sell at Neiman Marcus," said Ken Downing, fashion director at the U.S. store.   Continued...

Models present creations from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label Spring/Summer 2014 collection during London Fashion Week September 15, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett