Islington Council is helping spread the word about London’s best-kept fashion secret with a new marketing campaign to show off their bespoke tailoring talents.
Fonthill Road Fashion Village is made up of more than 100 independent fashion retailers, based along a 300m stretch of Fonthill Road, just a stone’s throw from Finsbury Park station.
The area has been a haven for generations of people in the know since the 1950s. Literally millions of sequins and hundreds of thousands of metres of fabric have been transformed by skilled hands into catwalk-worthy creations to celebrate occasions to remember, from school proms to weddings and everything in between.
This high-end quality is matched with consistently affordable prices, earning Fonthill Road Fashion Village a reputation as the destination of choice for anyone wanting bespoke outfits created by skilled dressmakers and tailors at a fraction of the cost of any off-the-rack high street retailer. It has been known by generations of London’s black and ethnic minority communities as the go-to place for occasion wear, with many families still travelling from far and wide for bespoke outfits.
Now the council has helped these Fonthill Road traders take the next step, providing the marketing support to create, distribute and publicise a “lookbook” to work as a striking showcase of their tailoring talent.
Islington is the first council in London to take such an approach to promoting a local economy that supports hundreds of jobs – part of its vision to build a fairer, inclusive economy that builds wealth within the community, and keeps it there. Supporting local independent retailers to keep providing goods and services at affordable prices is central to this aim.
Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, said: “The independent businesses of Fonthill Road Fashion Village have survived the rise of internet shopping and today’s turbulent and competitive retail landscape because they consistently offer high quality and amazing value.
“Generations of families return to this compact tailoring quarter from far and wide, whenever the time calls for a new summer outfit, a bespoke dress, suit or occasion wear.
“It really is a great place, but it’s impossible for any individual trader to sing the praises of this fashion destination. So we are proud to be taking the lead in London and working with the local traders’ association on a fantastic lookbook and marketing campaign that will get them the attention they deserve. Fonthill Road should be a secret no more!”
The lookbook outfits are modelled by local residents and compiled by Courtney Mitchell, a recent womenswear fashion design graduate who lives in Islington.
Courtney said: “I have known about Fonthill Road my whole life because it is such an institution for so many people across London, particularly for women like my aunts who find such incredibly high-quality dresses there. I am impressed the council launched this type of project because it is quite creative.”
Vickie Christensen, manager of London Fashion Centre and co-chair of the Fonthill Road Traders’ Association, said: “We know Fonthill Road is London’s best-kept fashion secret, but it’s time that secret got out and our vibrant shopping destination gets the reputation it deserves.
“It is fantastic news that the council is backing one of Islington’s havens for independent traders, helping us to spread the word. I’m looking forward to meeting the many new faces who want to discover the quality pieces on offer in our shops.”
+ See the lookbook and get an exclusive discount voucher to spend in Fonthill Road Fashion Village at www.IslingtonLife.London/FRFV
Notes to editor
All of the Fonthill Road Fashion Village retailers are open six days per week, Monday to Saturday, with some also open on Sundays.
The marketing support offered by the council is part of a package of measures aimed at strengthening the local economy and small, independent traders, who are the lifeblood of Islington’s high streets. The measures include business rates relief and appeals, town centre management, grants and town centre events.
In 2018 the council agreed a grant of £4,000 to help the Fonthill Road Traders’ Association to take ownership and lead initiatives aimed at improving the look and feel of the area and promoting the businesses.
A commitment was also made by private residential developers City North to pay for a series of advertising activities for Fonthill Road’s traders to mitigate the disruption caused by the major building project nearby.
High-resolution images are available on request.