In and around Stratford

The diversity of businesses and institutions create the perfect dynamic to come together to solve future problems.

An inclusive neighbourhood, the area hosts small independent family run businesses and start-up companies to some of the city’s largest organisations with thousands of employees, such as TfL and FCA. With 12,500 students studying within half a mile of IQL, these businesses have ‘talent on tap’, whilst the bright young minds are able to rub shoulders with industry leaders and experts, expanding their network for the future. As more and more businesses and education establishments continue to move East, we begin to see the formation and curation of industry ‘clusters’; a concentration of interconnected organisations, suppliers and institutions from a particular industry or idea.

The cluster effect

The East London Fashion District is where fashion, technology and business will meet. The vision, proposed by our friends over at London College of Fashion who will move to the neighbourhood in 2022, will bring a global talent base to the neighbourhood and act as the catalyst for collaboration with the manufacturers, textile studios, garment technology labs, designers, retailers, digital creative agencies and more who already call the neighbourhood their home. This cluster will help create jobs and facilitate convergence between traditional skills based in fashion design and making and the very latest technological inventions. In turn, they aim to create the right business and educational conditions for East London to become the UK and Europe’s leading fashion district.

The benefits of clustering are plentiful. The local proximity facilitates ease of communication, networking and collaboration and access to a wide talent pool. Smaller businesses can leverage off the existing infrastructure and production networks of the more established organisations and benefit from improved supply channels by sourcing locally. Of course, clustering of an ecosystem also drives progress, as businesses compete to out-innovate one another. The High Tech Campus in Eindhoven is a fine example of this, where the companies located there are responsible for nearly 40% of all Dutch patent applications.

Even before they’ve arrived, LCF are working with local partners to tackle future problems. Working together with UCL, Loughborough University London, V&A and Sadler’s Wells, they have developed the Global Disability Innovation Hub with the aim of exploring innovation through the dual lenses of design for disability and disability inspired design. Their work on the circular economy is also paving the way for a new chapter in sustainable fashion. Shortlife garments are out. Long-life garments are in. It’s exciting to see Stratford become the epicentre for the development of ideas and products that will improve lives and our environments in the future.