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London Alternative Fashion

Young Designers Go Beyond the High Streets and Into the Valley

Beyond The Valley
2 Newburgh Street
London W1F 7RD
T: (0)207.437.7338
W: www.beyondthevalley.com

Beyond The ValleyThree graduates from Central Saint Martins, Jo Jackson, Kate Harwood and Kristjana Williams have established themselves as fairy godmothers for up and coming designers in the UK in recent years, as they've used their experiences in the challenging London fashion world to come up with an idea to help those in a similar predicament.

"The issue is about young designers trying to establish themselves, and there is nothing really out there for them," Jackson said. "People who don't have the opportunities go forth in difficulty."

Though the trio itself was successful right away, it has kept fellow designers in mind with its unique boutique on Carnaby Street called Beyond the Valley, which is has sustained due to some fashion savvy and fresh business ideas.

"It's a kind of concept," Jackson said. "We're building a network of young designers in London and Britain."

In addition to their own clothing range - stacked with graphic sweats and tees - Beyond the Valley houses work from over 100 bright new designers full of talent and ambition that has yet to be realized.

Several years ago, after having an opportunity for recognition handed to them through an alternative arts design show in Covent Gardens - a 3-week senior project that turned into a 3-month showcase of the girls' work - the three young boutique owners wanted to give their fellow struggling designers the same opportunity.

"We thought we've got to do this," Jackson said. "We were really passionate about it."

She admits it was quite a risky business idea, as there was no model to base it on, but as seen in other thriving alternative fashion businesses, different and original is a recipe for success.

Since hitting the streets of Carnaby Street, they've been bombarded with design students from all over the UK, eager for some virtually-free hanger space in the store.

"It's really refreshing to see all these really young creative designers, instead of going way out west and to the markets."

Recently, though, Beyond the Valley has traveled further than West London in search of a good find.

"We wanted to extend it even more," Jackson said. "Go to another country, take our existing domestic designers and expose them."

So Jackson went to Finland and established another boutique called the Helsinki Exchange, where in addition to providing massive exposure to their favourite UK designers, found Finish clothing lines to bring back to the Valley.

The girls now have an ongoing flow of designers on their racks and artists on display in their exhibition space. They are even starting an online shopping area on their website which will lead to even more exposure for their designers.

And with a quick turnover and limited run on many of the styles, customers can stay on top of the very latest in young design in London.

Lauren Burke

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