David Beckham is to take on a leadership role in the fashion industry, a move that consolidates the standing of Beckham and his wife, Victoria, who is a designer, as the first couple of British fashion.
As newly appointed ambassadorial president, Beckham will on Friday visit educational fashion projects and clothing manufacturers in Manchester. The post, which Beckham described in a statement as “the chance to get under the skin of an industry I love”, will comprise two parts.
The British Fashion Council hopes to leverage Beckham’s fame to attract a new generation of domestic creative and business talent into the industry by encouraging young people to view fashion as a potential career. Meanwhile at a global level, the draw of the Beckham name is expected to bring international investors to the table and secure financial backing for talented young designers.
“I’m really excited about promoting fashion as an opportunity to all kids across the country, regardless of their background or their gender,” Beckham told the Guardian, adding: “That means creating more awareness for boys to get involved with fashion … helping them understand that creative opportunities are available to them too.”
Beckham appears to have form in encouraging young men to pursue careers in the industry: his eldest son, Brooklyn, is studying photography at the New York fashion school Parsons.
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Stephanie Phair, the newly appointed chair of the British Fashion Council, described Beckham’s role as that of a “global figurehead”. Beckham will host an event at menswear shows in London in June Trips to China and the US are in the pipeline.
But he will take a backseat during September’s London Fashion Week in order to give Victoria, who is bringing her catwalk show home from New York to celebrate her 10th anniversary in fashion, her turn in the spotlight.
The role is another step in a striking evolution from brashly dressed footballer to a front row regular who already has a place at fashion’s top table as the majority owner of the Savile Row label Kent & Curwen.
The British Fashion Council hopes that the power of the Beckham brand – which has proved hugely valuable to the designer names he has promoted and the magazines he has appeared in, and has spawned trends from tattoos to flat caps – will prove lucrative on the global stage for British fashion, an industry Beckham described on Thursday as “one of our best performing exports”.
Beckham, keen to restore his public reputation after a furore last yea r around leaked emails in which he appeared to bemoan not having been given a knighthood, said he wanted “to support an industry that’s been so good to me”.