Growing your small business: Taking the fashion world by storm

10 December 2015 -


Womenswear label Peter Pilotto was launched in 2008 and, with the help of the The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, has gone on to become one of London’s most exciting young fashion brands

CMI Team

Peter Pilotto, a womenswear label launched by Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos, is regarded as one of London’s most successful young fashion businesses. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise has been critical to its growth.

The pair met at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, founded the label in London and launched their first collection together for the spring/summer season of 2008.

Peter and Christopher were supported by the London College of Fashion’s CFE Pioneer programme for six months, followed by the CFE venture programme between 2007 and 2009. They received support from the CFE team in business planning, finance and cash flow management, contracts, early stage retail strategies, brand development and trademark registration. They also attended the New York sales showroom every season.

In all, the subsidy support totalled almost £37,000.

The impact has been measurable and significant. During the time Peter Pilotto was supported on the two CFE programmes, their sales rose by 3,173% with more than 95 stockists when they exited both programmes. In 2009, stockists for Peter Pilotto’s spring/summer 2010 collection surged from 28 stores in 14 countries to 88 in 30 countries. There are currently more than 200 points of sale for Peter Pilotto in 50 countries.

The brand is championed by some of the fashion world’s most influential opinion formers and has won numerous awards, including the £300,000 British Fashion Council/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in 2014.

The support of the CFE and the British Fashion Council enabled the pair to self-finance the business up to 2015 when they raised a minority- stake investment from London-based investment firm MH Luxe and Megha Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of German luxury brand Escada.

Industry sources estimate the current annual turnover of the business to be between $15-20m.

“The CFE has helped us not to be just the flavour of the month,” says Peter Pilotto, “they really support you in the long term.”

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