February 20, 2015 / 4:51 PM / 4 years ago

London's fashion pack turns focus to business for online sales

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s emerging talent kicked off the first day of London Fashion Week with designs featuring oversized coats, geometric shapes and voluminous skirts, amid hopes online demand for luxury goods is growing stronger.

Delicate embroidered dresses paired with cropped jackets highlighted Turkish designer Bora Aksu’s show on Friday, in colours of gold, dusty pinks and pale blue inspired by Irish writer Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose.

Earlier, Korean-born designer Eudon Choi sent models down the runway in boxy leather jackets decorated with colourful geometric shapes, oversized scarves and floral printed flares.

More than 5,000 buyers, journalists and bloggers have flocked to London to see emerging talent like Aksu and Choi showcase their designs alongside leading designers Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey.

This season sees the British Fashion Council (BFC) focus on how designers can grow their businesses into successful brands and boost growth in Britain’s 26 billion pound ($39.98 billion) fashion industry.

“It is fantastic that we are seeing these young businesses going from strength to strength,” Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters.

“The next stage of course is thinking about e-commerce and online businesses and again as part of our business pillar, I’m working closely with the tech sector looking at some quick wins and some really strong guys to help in e-commerce,” Rush added.

With online fashion sales expected to reach 19 billion pounds in the next four years, according to research firm Mintel, designers are turning to social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to help drive more online purchases.

“We have been very focused on the past year or so, helping designers to understand how they can best use social media,” Rush said.

Aksu said the networks were the perfect tool to help his label grow internationally and gain recognition.

Camille Juras, who three weeks ago launched what she called a vegan shoe company making footwear with micro fibres rather than animal leather, said she had already generated sales from using social media websites.

“Social media is key. It all starts with online presence and then you grow,” said Juras. “On Instagram, it was instant. You would launch your page, people would start to like you, like your products and that started the sales process.”

London Fashion Week, which generates more than 100 million pounds in orders each season from buyers around the world, will run until Feb. 24. ($1 = 0.6504 pounds) (Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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