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Poplar Works designers holding Poplar Works sign

Deputy Mayor for Culture, Justine Simons, officially opens Poplar Works

Written by Jesse Tilley
Published date 27 February 2020

On Thursday 27 February 2020, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons, joined us in East London to officially open Poplar Works. With our partners at the Fashion District, Poplar HARCA and The Trampery, Poplar Works has been created as a makery in addition to a new home for Centre for Fashion Enterprise studios and our Making for Change manufacture unit. The spaces have been built from a row of disused garages located near the A12 and now provide working studio space for 45 upcoming designers and businesses.

We celebrated handing over the keys to 7 businesses going into Poplar Works which include Bethany Williams (MA Menswear alum) – honoured with the award for ‘British Menswear Talent – Emerging’ at the recent BFC Fashion Awards, Rahemur Rahman, Loot Forever, Alex Mullins, Tolu Coker, Juliette and Not Very Well. The free studio space is provided by Centre for Fashion Enterprise, which in the past has nurtured designers that have gone on to become household names and whose businesses contribute hugely to the UK’s Creative Industries economy, including Molly Goddard, Charles Jeffrey, Craig Green, Wales Bonner, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem.

Photography by Rehan Jamil

Deputy Mayor of Culture and Creative Industries,Justine Simons, says “London is overflowing with talent and imagination, but our creative workforce is under threat because of the shortage of affordable studios, rising rents and the insecurity of short-term leases. These new studios at Poplar Works will allow artists to put down roots in the heart of the growing Fashion District in East London. Turning these disused garages into affordable workspaces, training and business facilities will make a really big difference to the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs.”

"Today marks a major new milestone in the story of fashion in East London" - Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor of Culture and Creative Industries.

Fashion has a special place in East London’s heritage, once making a huge financial and cultural contribution to the area. Poplar Works, was conceived around the simple idea that fashion could again become a major part of East London’s social and economic make-up. Poplar Works is a huge milestone moment in London College of Fashion's upcoming move to The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford in 2022.

Photography by Rehan Jamil