Fashion Retail Academy

There was reason to celebrate this year at the Fashion Retail Academy (FRA) as it marked ten years of producing our industry’s future leaders.

As part of its celebrations, the FRA paid tribute to Arcadia’s Sir Philip Green, who was instrumental in establishing this centre of educational excellence for the fashion retail industry.

FRA Chair Kim Longman said: “From persuading the Government and the four other founding retail partners to come on board through to supporting our master class programme and work placement opportunities, Sir Philip Green and Arcadia provided the drive and energy needed.”

The celebrations culminated in the FRA’s biggest-ever graduation ceremony with 1,400 guests joining students and celebrities at a venue in London’s Covent Garden.

More than 140 retailers now work with the FRA to produce high quality graduates with the necessary professional skills to deliver immediate value into the industry.

Over the last decade the FRA has provided more than 5,000 places across 13 different courses with a 95% achievement rate.

One such FRA graduate helping to add value at Arcadia is Becky Harding, currently Assistant Buyer for Petites at Wallis. Becky graduated in 2012 with a Level 3 Qualification in Fashion Retail. Just over a year after graduating and with two fashion industry stints already behind her, she joined Arcadia as a Buyer’s Admin Assistant and has quickly worked her way up to her current role.

Becky said: “I knew I wanted to be a buyer and I knew this would be a good course as it incorporated all areas of the business into it. The best elements were the master classes delivered by people like Sir Philip Green as well as the industry placements. Things like the mock assessment days really taught you how to handle yourself and gave me a huge confidence boost. I’ve worked hard to get here but I understand how lucky I am.”

Now the FRA is preparing for the next ten years with a bold growth plan to build on its achievements to date. A new leadership team headed by Principal Lee Lucas intends to double the number of students to 1,600, offer qualifications in digital skills, embrace technology for learning and invest in updating the FRA headquarters.

Arcadia has already pledged its support for the FRA’s future with support in kind via project management and design input.


TOPSHOP continued to support emerging design talent in the fashion industry this year via its long-term sponsorship of the NEWGEN group, which enables young designers to show their collections as part of London Fashion Week.

TOPSHOP hosts a space at London Fashion Week each season, giving the designers the opportunity to make sales appointments with buyers via a pop-up shop that opens for four hours after their show or presentation.

Similarly TOPMAN supports the NEWGEN MEN event, sponsoring designers to showcase their collections to press and buyers in London. The Spring/Summer 2016 event was held in June 2015 and saw ten designers receive sponsorship.

In addition, the brand has worked in partnership with Fashion East to stage MAN, an event that saw a further three designers supported during London Fashion Week (LFW). This summer saw the tenth anniversary of MAN.

Mini Map