Trampery fashion incubator forced to find new home as rent hits £500,000

The much-acclaimed Trampery fashion incubator in London Fields has been forced to close leaving labels including James Long, Jonathan Saunders and Lou Dalton desperately seeking a new home.

Recognised as London’s first fashion-focused shared workspace, recent rent hikes of 400 per cent mean that dozens of small businesses will be forced to leave the studio on Mare Street, Hackney.

The social enterprise has been paying £125,000 a year to rent the 20,000 sq ft space, and had expected this to rise to £230,000 in September, but are now facing relocation after the landlord announced plans to raise the annual fee to an unfeasible £500,000.

Speaking about the venture Trampery founder Charles Armstrong “We put a lot of attention into curating the group we brought together in the building,”

“For the designers it’s an office, a community and a social space. It’s also the place where they make their catwalk collections. The London College of Fashion offers mentoring through its Pioneers programme, and we also provide opportunities for labels to meet investors and participate in high-profile events such as Pitch at the Palace.”

For many years pockets of London property have been attractive investment assets for global wealth, and as rent levels are no longer determined by supply and demand, it seems that they are being driven by global capital.

The issue has massive implications not only for local designers for the future of London’s economy, says Armstrong.

“The astronomical rise in commercial rents poses an existential threat to London’s creative and entrepreneurial community,” he said.

“If we reach a point where early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to locate themselves in London any more it will cause long-term damage to the city’s economic fabric.”

The Trampery, which opened its first workspace in Shoreditch’s Tech City in 2009, has five sites across London, each catering to a specific sector and growth stage. These include the TravelTech Lab in London Bridge (travel, tourism and hospitality), Fish Island Labs (technology and the arts), and Bevenden Street, Shoreditch (web businesses, designers, software engineers).

The social enterprise launched its Hackney-based fashion incubator in 2013, which is currently home to 31 small or early stage businesses, and has many specialist facilities and equipment that are used by drop-in designers, as well as the in-house team.

Backed by the likes of The Barbican, Publicis Worldwide, London & Partners, the London College of Fashion and the British Fashion Council, many have voiced their support, using “#savetramperyfashion” on Twitter.

The Duke of York, Patron of The Trampery, has also pledged his commitment to the cause.

“The Trampery is an incredible facility for start-up and developing designer fashion businesses,” said Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council, in a statement on The Trampery website.

“Many of the businesses that currently rely on the Trampery facilities are part of London Fashion Week. It is essential to us that The Trampery be found a new home.”

The fashion incubator is now looking for a new home

”Our first priority is our members. We’re urgently calling out to large fashion labels and retailers [for help],” said Armstrong.

The Trampery is now asking large fashion brand and retailers that have 500-2,000 square feet of unused space to consider housing the displaced designers as a temporary measure.

Image: Fashion designer by Shutterstock