Original author of Designer Fact File 1996/97
Caroline Coates initiated the idea for Designer Fact File (DFF) in 1995 with the belief that her 12 year experience in the British fashion design sector could help to support fledgling designers, fostering better business practice and creating a wider understanding of the sector.
Collaborating with the British Fashion Council and the Department of Trade and Industry, Coates gathered the opinions of fashion leaders, designers, retailers, manufacturers, press and marketing companies and banks to produce the guide. In total, the research and compilation of DFF took 18 months and involved 90 UK design businesses.
Coates has 30 years experience as a change maker; working in education, the fashion business and affiliated commercial sectors, as well as the ‘not for profit’ art/science sector, and as a social entrepreneur.
In 1983 she launched Amalgamated Talent, a platform for young fashion designers and was sponsored by eight multinationals including Marks and Spencer. She served on industry bodies and later mentored new businesses via NESTA and others organisations.
Coates was Managing Director of the award winning Helen Storey fashion label until 1995. The label sold to 125 shops in 24 countries and had 3 London stores.
Alongside Helen Storey, Coates is a founder member and director of The Helen Storey Foundation, incorporated in 1999 as a result of the award winning, highly acclaimed project Primitive Streak. Today she develops and produces many of the Foundations public domain art /science projects.
She has raised over £1.5 million for art/science projects. Since 1999 the Foundation’s work has been seen by 15 million people, in over 80 venues, across 7 countries. Projects include award winning works Primitive Streak, Mental, Wonderland and currently Catalytic Clothing.
Caroline would like to acknowledge those who took part in and supported the original edition of the Designer Fact File, particularly Helen Storey who interviewed many of the designers, and Hugh Devlin and Withers LLP who assisted her in collating and editing the original edition's accountancy section. Withers has a wealth of experience in assisting fashion designers, details of which can be found at withersluxurybrands.com