After the covid-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the fashion industry globally, those at the top of the chain who control The Big Four have had to radically alter the fashion calendar and think hard and fast about how we now move forward with what we don’t yet know as our new normal. Production halted for many designers as showrooms sprung up as makeshift PPE production lines for hospitals all over the world casting doubt on whether there would even be time, or the inclination to produce a collection in time for the next season as we currently knew it. As time went on we realised that there might not even be a season, hell what even are seasons any more? When you’re in lockdown the barometer you use to gauge importance shifts a little….
And so smaller designers began to wonder if they’d survive the crisis. Without the huge social followings, the platforms, the masses of product to sell between seasons – it’s hard to thrive in an industry with so many tiers that can falter when there’s a crisis of this scale. Recognising that in order for the hierarchy of design talent to continue to thrive post pandemic, the post graduate, alumni and young design talent need to be nurtured, the British Fashion Council has announced the first round of recipients of the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, supporting creative fashion businesses and individuals to survive the Covid-19 crisis.
Financial support will be given to 37 British designer businesses, with grants taken from the £1,000,000 emergency fund, allocated to viable businesses depending on their urgency and capability to come through and thrive post crisis. A portion of funds has also been allocated to students, underpinning the future generation of creative talent. London Fashion Week has always been about emerging talent, creating opportunities for new designers which might not have been available elsewhere.
Recipients for the Fund are:
Alighieri (VDFF 2020), 16Arlington, Ahluwalia, Aries, ART SCHOOL, Bethany Williams, BIANCA SAUNDERS, Chalayan, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY (VDFF 2020), Chopova Lowena, CRAIG GREEN, David Koma (VDFF 2020), E. Tautz, E.L.V. DENIM, Edeline Lee, EFTYCHIA, Halpern (VDFF 2020), King & Tuckfield, Kwaidan Editions, Liam Hodges, Matty Bovan, Metier (VDFF 2020), Nabil Nayal, NEOUS, Nicholas Daley, palmer//harding, PAPER LONDON, paria /FARZANEH, PER GOTESSON, Phoebe English, Raeburn, Rejina Pyo (VDFF 2020), Richard Malone, RICHARD QUINN, ROKSANDA, Stefan Cooke, Toogood
“Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen an astonishing amount of applications come through from British designer businesses all over the country, asking for help to survive the crisis. The need for support is immense. Our hope is to re-open the fund for future rounds, to help as many businesses as possible, and ensure the future growth and success of the British fashion industry.” Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC
The emergency Fund was made possible through pooling the BFC talent support grants that would have traditionally been awarded for either early stage showcasing support or business growth and promotion: BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by JD.com, INC, BFC Fashion Trust and BFC NEWGEN. As the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund had already completed the judging process, the decision was made to split the cash prize and mentoring award across each of the six shortlisted brands for the very first time.
This is the first announcement of recipients to receive funding from the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund for the Covid Crisis, which has seen over 220 applications to date. Fund recipients will receive a maximum of £50,000 and will also be given access to BFC business support and mentoring from the BFC’s Fashion Business Network which includes among others FarFetch, Google, HSBC, Instagram, LVMH, Mishcon De Reya, and YouTube, plus individual expert one-to-one mentors from across the business value chain.
whilst a million pounds in funding sounds like a huge amount of money and it provides a fantastic start to these designers, the scale of the need is much greater and BFC has called on both Government to step in to work with them on significant industry stimulus, and on the industry and individuals to support the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund through donations, so that more businesses can be supported at this time. BFC estimates that a massive £100 million of support in different forms will be needed to help protect this decade’s generation of talent over the next 12 to 18 months. The fund will re-open for further rounds of applications so that more meaningful support can be given, every time the £500,000 milestone is reached. Donations towards the next round of funding have already been received from Alexander McQueen, Browns, Clearpay and Coach Foundation and the BFC has called on all that are able to support, to try to do so at this time in order to protect a future generation of design talent.