Lulu Kennedy sees herself as a ''foster mum'' to young designers.

The designer is renowned for honing talent - having been instrumental in The Rise of designers including Roksanda Ilincic, Gareth Pugh and Jonathan Saunders - and advises all hopefuls to seek help and collaboration in their nascent careers.

She told The Guardian newspaper her best advice was: ''Don't try to do everything by yourself.''

Of the role her Fashion East company plays, she added: ''I'm just a foster mum. The designers are with me for one or two seasons and then I let them go. I can't grant them wishes. They make things happen. They've got to put the work in.''

Lulu - who describes her personality as a ''bossy big sister'' - also explained the way in which the non-profit Fashion East initiative can aid designers in launching their careers.

She added: ''Yeah, they're all friends. Basically, what we do is select designers we believe in the most and who need some support and then we give them sponsorship, a show, advice and mentoring. We bring a good audience into the show and we give them a small bursary as well, which doesn't get very far. The equivalent would be a music industry showcase.''

Two of Lulu's most recent proteges, Claire Barrow and Maarten van der Horst, have recently had their designs stocked by department store Selfridges in the UK.