Jaeger to support fashion students - scholarship fund
Jaeger owner sets up fund to support fashion students
Article by Jon Boone from Financial Times Firday 26/1 06
Harold Tillman, the retail entrepreneur, has set up a scholarship fund to support fashion students in an attempt to address industry concerns that too many fail to fulfil their potential because of a lack of financial support.
Mr Tillman, the owner of the Jaeger brand, hoped his £1m gift to the London College of Fashion would help to give students the financial freedom that he had enjoyed. "When I was a student in the 60s everything was basically paid for but we know that today there are several students a year who can't afford to go on and study at MA level. Because they have to repay their student loans, some of them end up taking professions they haven't even studied and that is a huge loss to our industry."
He called on other fashion and retail businesses to support emerging talent through scholarship and mentoring schemes.
"Fashion is worth around £10bn a year to Britain but it is only based around a very small network of businesses and I don't think those are aware of how much they rely on students coming through the system. We are not talking about the world class British designers . . .but about the general design pool that most businesses need."
Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur, has spent £5m setting up a Fashion Retail Academy to give teenagers aged 16-18, the skills he said were lacking among recruits to his industry.
Frances Corner, head of the LCF, welcomed the donation and said: "The creative industries are vital for our economic future and yet while China, India and Singapore are putting huge amounts into their creative businesses many people here don't seem to realise that in order to develop major fashion companies, designers need to be supported . . . when they are still at the one man band stage."
In 2004, the clothing industry produced almost £4bn of goods and employed more than 90,000. If the textile industry is added, the combined sectors produce more than £9.5bn worth of goods at manufacturers' prices and employ 180,000 people. Overseas sales combined are worth more than £6bn at manufacturers prices.
Mr Tillman's gift to the LCF will pay for 10 MA places at the college, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Graduates will also receive work placements at Jaeger or one of Mr Tillman's other businesses.
Ms Corner said with most government funding focused on undergraduates many fashion students who wan-ted to study further were unable to do so. "This will be a huge help because students have to spend a lot of money on materials and producing a portfolio and many of them have considerable debt. Many . . will want to start their own businesses, which obviously requires even more funding."