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British Fashion Council Doles Out Relief Funds to 37 Fashion Labels

More than three dozen fashion designers and labels in the U.K. just received a windfall to help survive the coronavirus crisis.

British Fashion Council (BFC) is supporting creative fashion businesses and individuals across the U.K. by doling out as much as £50,000 ($60,900) in extra funding to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants, awarded from the council’s £1,000,000 ($1.2 million) emergency fund, are allocated to 37 viable businesses depending on their urgency and capability to function and thrive after the crisis.

The recipients include: 16Arlington, Ahluwalia, Alighieri, Aries, Art School, Bethany Williams, Bianca Saunders, Chalayan, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Chopova Lowena, Craig Green, David Koma, E. Tautz, E.L.V. Denim, Edeline Lee, Eftychia, Halpern, King & Tuckfield, Kwaidan Editions, Liam Hodges, Matty Bovan, Metier, Nabil Nayal, Neous, Nicholas Daley, Palmer Harding, Paper London, Paria Farzaneh, Per Gotesson, Phoebe English, Raeburn, Rejina Pyo, Richard Malone, Richard Quinn, Roksanda, Stefan Cooke and Toogood.

An undisclosed portion of funds has also been allocated to students.

Per Gotesson
Per Gotesson’s F/W 20 show for London Fashion Week Men’s. Pixelformula/SIPA/Shutterstock

“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,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive at BFC. “The need for support is immense. Our hope is to reopen the fund for future rounds, to help as many businesses as possible, and ensure the future growth and success of the British fashion industry.”

The emergency fund pools talent support grants that would usually have been awarded for either early-stage showcasing support or business growth and promotion, including the BFC and Vogue Designer Fashion Fund (VDFF). Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, six of these designers—Alighieri, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, David Koma, Halpern, Metier and Rejina Pyo—were named as finalists for the BFC and VDFF 2020. The winner was set to receive a cash prize of £200,000 ($243,700) and a year’s worth of mentoring, but the BFC and Vogue made the decision to split the prize money among the six designers in early March when COVID-19 upended the U.K. market.

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Art School

The fund has seen more than 220 applications to date. All applicants who did not receive funding through this round will be informed when new rounds of funding open and will be advised of government support schemes.

Fund recipients will receive a maximum of £50,000 ($60,900) and will also be given access to BFC business support and mentoring from the BFC’s Fashion Business Network including DLA Piper, Eco-Age, Farfetch, FashionEx, Google, HSBC, Instagram, Lewis Silkin, Lloyds, LVMH, Mishcon De Reya, RSM, Sheridans, Taylor Wessing, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Bicester Village Shopping Collection and YouTube, plus individual expert one-to-one mentors from across the business value chain.

BFC has called on both the U.K. government to step in to work with them on significant industry stimulus, and on the fashion industry and individuals to donate to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund.

Richard Quinn
Richard Quinn F/W 20 runway show at London Fashion Week James Veysey/Shutterstock

The council estimates that £100 million ($121.8 million) of support will be needed to help protect growing fashion businesses and designers over the next year to 18 months.

The fund will reopen for further rounds of applications every time the £500,000 ($609,000) donation milestone is reached. Donations towards the next round of funding have already been received from Alexander McQueen, Browns, Clearpay and Coach Foundation.