About

UFE is the voice for the common ambitions and challenges of European independent businesses at both European as well as international level

Our core aims are:

To stimulate the quality and sustainability of fashion design
To promote the relevance and importance of fashion SMEs and businesses
To empower the fashion design sector

Vision and values

United Fashion Europe (UFE) is the European network for the fashion business value chain, whose overall objective it is to support fashion SMEs and related businesses through fostering and promoting their creativity and viability. Its main activities are to offer networking opportunities, stimulate knowledge exchange, engage in advocacy and representation, communicate on behalf of the sector, and this at a transnational level.

We base our work and activities on the following shared beliefs:

Networks as organisational forms, because of their characteristics, have vast potential to be effective tools for change and collaboration. Beyond institutional boundaries, networks are more flexible, adaptive, non-hierarchic, and quicker at making decisions, and thus can be more effective. In their organisational appearance, networks have proved especially suitable for international collaboration and for resolving complex problems. At the same time, networks such as UFE for independent fashion, ask work and commitment for everyone involved. Networks build upon diversity, knowledge and social capital as their key resources and for their success.

History

Between 2014 and 2017, MAD, the Brussels centre for fashion and design, gathered fashion councils and fashion associations from all over Europe in Brussels to attend the European Fashion Summit MADIFESTO. There was a need to speak about the current status of fashion design in Europe, the major challenges designers and labels face now and in the future, and main objectives and possible solutions to secure the future of European creativity. Moreover, during these exchange and reflection moments, participants unanimously voiced the strong need for the sector to join forces and work more collaboratively in order to face common challenges. This is how the idea for a European project took shape, that would be able to strengthen the fash­ion sec­tor in Europe by giv­ing inde­pen­dent labels and cre­ators the tools and skills to better develop their business in a globalized world.

With that in mind, MAD took the lead in creating a European partnership and together those organisations were able to obtain European funding for the fashion sector for a total of 4 million Euros (Creative Europe strand). United Fashion, as it is called, is the first European project that promotes entrepreneurial creativity and innovation with the aim to enhance business opportunities for European fashion designers. Running from 2017 until 2021, it has brought together 8 fashion support associations from Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Portugal and the UK, and in that time, it will provide insight on different (European) cre­ative, tech­no­log­i­cal and busi­ness opportunities to the more than 150 par­tic­i­pat­ing fash­ion SME’s.

As the project United Fashion developed, the partnership grew more and more together, which created a fruitful soil for more exchange and more qualitative synergies. However, the goal was to go further than that. Through the collaboration of partners from all over Europe a long-term structure has been put in place: a European network for design fashion. It is to function as an umbrella organisation that will allow for a better-connected fashion eco-system, for exchange and collaboration between countries and professionals, for a better anchoring of the fashion sector in the present while preparing for the future, and that will be a catalyst for change. By doing so, it will ultimately bring a stronger voice to the European fashion business value chain. Much needed in our global world!