The head of Contour Fashion at De Montfort University has called on the government to support entrepreneurial graduates by funding more small manufacturing units in Britain.
Gillian Proctor said that due to a lack of infrastructure in the UK, just 2 to 3% of Contour Fashion graduates go on to set up their own businesses after leaving university.
“If we did have more grants for smaller units then maybe two or three students, even if they were from different universities, could get together and set up small labels. This could be a new way into the future. Not everyone wants to work in big business,” she told Lingerie Insight.
Proctor said she would “dearly love” to see lingerie manufacturing return to Britain, but explained that the grip of the Far East is “too well established”.
“I recently attended an exhibition in Shanghai and I was talking to a government minister who was asking why there are so few graduates setting up their own businesses, and in a nutshell it’s because we don’t have the infrastructure in the system here to support that,” she added.
The Contour Fashion programme leader is hoping DMU’s new Contour Fashion and Communication course, which covers entrepreneurship, will encourage more graduates to set up their own businesses.
The course, which starts in October, is the first of its kind in the world to combine contour fashion with fashion buying modules, along with its own specific elements.
Students who enrol on the three-year programme will develop specialist skills in conceptual design, presentation formats, digital technologies, trend prediction, marketing, fashion business and entrepreneurship.