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David Beckham backs British designers in China

By Angus McNeice in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2018-09-27 00:01
Francis Srun, Xia Ding, David Beckham, Dylan Jones and Caroline Rush (from left to right) at The Middle House hotel in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

English soccer legend David Beckham flew the flag for British fashion at an event in Shanghai this week, where major Chinese retailers pledged 350,000 pounds ($460,000) to up-and-coming designers based in the United Kingdom.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder is an ambassador to the British Fashion Council, or the BFC, which launched its China Partnerships Strategy in the Chinese city.

As part of the strategy, e-commerce giant JD.com and Chinese clothing company Ruyi agreed to sponsor the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, which awards 150,000 pounds in direct funding and a two-year mentoring program to a promising menswear designer based in the UK.

JD.com also committed support to the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, which involves one year of mentoring for a UK-based designer and a cash prize of 200,000 pounds.

Additional funding from the UK Department for International Trade meant that the BFC raised a total of 500,000 pounds at the event.

"Promoting the British fashion industry in China is an important part of my new role with the British Fashion Council," said Beckham. "I hope that through events like today we are able to shine a light on the incredible creative talent we have in the UK and promote that talent on a global scale."

Beckham said that there is significant opportunity for British designers to secure creative partnerships and investment in China.

"Today we are able to show real commitment from Chinese businesses to future fashion leaders in the UK and in parallel, share our experience, knowledge and platforms with emerging Chinese designers," he added.

Beckham also visited Beijing last week, where he promoted healthy living to children and their parents, in his role as a global ambassador for Hong Kong-based life insurance company AIA.

BFC chair Stephanie Phair said that there is a "growing appetite" for British fashion in China, which represents one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world.

In 2017, the global share of personal luxury goods including high-end fashion purchased by Chinese nationals reached 32 percent, according to consulting firm Bain & Company.

Phair said China represents "a broad and complex market" for foreign designers, and the BFC wants to help through the new strategy.

It will do this by supporting emerging talent with mentoring in China, partnering on fashion week trade shows, and connecting British designers with Chinese investors, retailers, and media, according to Phair.

The BFC said it would also explore further collaboration with VIP.com, which became the first Chinese retailer to become an official partner of London Fashion Week this month.

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