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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Q&A: Natalie Massenet

Net-a-Porter’s founder weighs in on England’s fashionable rise.

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Photography by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.

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Q: Why England—why now?

A: We have a generation of very talented British designers coming through at the same time who have got their acts together and who are creating great clothing that is high impact and travels very well digitally. Fashion is partly a spectator sport, so it doesn’t hurt that these clothes stand out in a sea of homogenous information.

Q: How can the British Fashion Council (BFC) make a difference?

A: We’ve got this creative cultural resource that we need to protect and nurture with business savvy, education, information and access to people who are able to help grow those businesses. England is an amazing feeding ground for investors—they keep coming back to our pond to fish for their next revenue streams—so we need to facilitate that dialogue.

Q: So you’re a matchmaker! But then part of BFC’s mission is to encourage brands to go directly to their customers—to think as retailers and e-tailers. Don’t you worry that if you succeed, that you, Net-a-Porter, will be elbowed out of the picture?

A: It’s interesting...as a company gets bigger, innovation can slow down, so we are constantly creating new initiatives—from launching Mr Porter to getting into the beauty game—and making sure that we maintain a distinctive editorial point of view. I thrive on competition. Bring it!

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