Young people face Dragons’ Den in fashion and business challenge

Young people aged 13 to 15 faced a Dragons’ Den-style panel when they pitched ideas for how to market new Ted Baker fashion ranges abroad.

Four teams of Camden Summer University students competed in the Ted Baker Camden Challenge, in which they developed new ranges of clothing for men and women to sell at pop-up stores in countries where Ted Baker do not currently have a presence.

As well as coming up with eye-catching new fashion ranges for overseas markets, they had to research where best to get their clothes made, based on ethical as well as business considerations – and how best to market them and maximise profit margins.

The young people took inspiration for their collections from wildlife, plants and flowers, paintings and politics, the seasons and the sunshine. Marketing ideas included giving away free flamingo balloons or ice lollies.

The challenge, which took place from 30 July to 3 August, was run jointly by Camden Council, Ted Baker and University College London’s Innovation and Enterprise Base.

Support also came from the Young Camden Foundation charity and the Urban Partners business partnership for King’s Cross, Euston and St Pancras, which Ted Baker is a member of.

The Ted Baker Camden Challenge was developed as part of the Camden STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) programme, which involves the council, schools and youth organisations linking with businesses and cultural organisations to create opportunities for local young people.

Young people enrolled on the challenge through Camden Summer University, the council’s summer youth activities programme.

All of the young people who took part in the Ted Baker Camden Challenge will be invited back to the company’s King’s Cross headquarters for a further insight into the world of fashion, as well as getting work experience vouchers to use at Ted Baker when they turn 16.

Donald Browne, Ted Baker Production Director, was one of the Dragons who helped judge the young people’s presentations. He told the teams: “I am so impressed with what you have achieved in such a short space of time. What you have done in five days is remarkable.”

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of the Council, was also a Dragon on the judging panel, which included other Ted Baker executives and Len Blake from UCL's Innovation and Enterprise Base.


Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council
World-renowned institutions and companies here in Camden are helping to inspire and support our young people to aim high and forge exciting careers. Our STEAM programme’s ambition is to link businesses strongly with schools and further education colleges to help deliver the 21st century talent they need and, in so doing, to guarantee the best opportunities and futures for all our young people.
Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

As well as linking with the council's STEAM programme and Camden Summer University, the week was part of Ted Baker's involvement in Urban Partners, the business partnership for King’s Cross, Euston and St Pancras.

Ted Baker’s Peter McDonough, who is also Next Generation Co-ordinator for Urban Partners, said: "This is just one of a host of opportunities being offered to members of the King's Cross, Euston and St Pancras Community."

Our STEAM Commission, chaired by Dinah Caine CBE, was set up in June last year to help prepare local young people for careers in global organisations in Camden and beyond.