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British Fashion Council Awards Second Round of Funding to 30 Designers

Thirty more British fashion designers and independent labels have been awarded grants from The British Fashion Council (BFC) as part of the group’s effort to support creative fashion businesses and individuals throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Through the Council’s BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, 500,000 pounds ($636,000) has been distributed across the designer businesses, marking the second time the fund has doled out relief this year. In May, BFC distributed 1 million pounds (approximately $1.2 million) in emergency funds to 37 businesses depending on their urgency and ability to withstand the crisis and thrive in its aftermath.

The recipients of the Fashion Fund are: Camilla Elphick, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Clothsurgeon, Cottweiler, Danshan, Emilia Wickstead, Eudon Choi, Feng Chen Wang, Fyodor Golan, Goomheo, Helen Kirkum, Liam Hodges, Marques ‘ Almeida, Maximilian, Molly Goodard, Mother of Pearl, Nensi Dojaka, Nicholas Daley, Olubiyi Thomas, Osman Yousefzada, Preen By Thornton Bregazzi, Prism, Racil, Richard Malone, Roberts | Wood, Rokh, Saul Nash, Sharon Wauchob, Ssōne, Supriya Lele, Teatum Jones, Teija, Thom Sweeney and Wicker Wings.

The recipients were able to apply for a maximum of 50,000 pounds ($64,000) and will also be given access to BFC business support and mentoring from the BFC’s Fashion Business Network, as well as individual expert one-to-one mentors from across the business value chain.

Funding decisions were based on a number of factors including viability of the business going forward, creative talent, employment and revenue.

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The BFC supported designers from the Fashion East incubator, including funding recipients Goomheo, Maximilian, Nensi Dojaka and Saul Nash, in creating collections this season. A small number of startup businesses were also supported to create collections for continuity based on their exceptional creativity. In line with the BFC’s focus on diversity and inclusion, the organization ensured all funding panels had increased diversity.

“The U.K. leads the way in the number of highly creative, entrepreneurial and responsible SMEs in the global fashion industry. Protecting these businesses through the most challenging period we have all faced has been a priority and the need for funds is still great,” Caroline Rush, CEO at the BFC, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful for each and every one of our funders and hope to continue scaling the fund to help secure the future of the next generation of designer businesses. This is a critical moment to protect British fashion’s global position and reputation in terms of creative designer fashion businesses.”

Richard Malone Ready to Wear Fall 2019, photographed in London on Feb 18th, 2019.
Richard Malone Ready to Wear Fall 2019, photographed in London on Feb 18th, 2019. Fairchild Archives

The Fashion Fund has seen more than 350 applications to date. All applicants that did not receive funding through this round, will be informed on new rounds of funding, government support schemes and webinars to collectively aid the businesses throughout the crisis.

BFC continues to fundraise and will reopen applications every time the 500,000-pound milestone is reached. Brands such as Alexander McQueen, Amazon Fashion, Browns, Cadogan, Clearpay, The Coach Foundation and John Lewis & Partners all donated to the recent round, while participating designers include Halpern, Julien Macdonald, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, Raeburn and Rixo.

In May, the BFC and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) put out a joint statement calling for a hard fashion industry reset amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies even encouraged the often fast-moving retailers, brands and designers to “slow down” and to align the delivery of clothes to stores to “closer to the seasons for which it is intended.”

The Council previously estimated in May that 100 million pounds ($121.8 million) of support would be needed to help protect growing fashion businesses and designers within 18 months. The BFC has been a strong proponent of federal intervention to aid the U.K. fashion industry in recovery, outlining a series of seven measures in July calling for the country’s government to help turn around the sector.

Joint data from BFC and Oxford Economics reports that 240,000 total direct job losses are expected within the U.K. fashion industry this year, more than one-fourth of the sector’s 890,000 that were employed in 2019. Including indirect jobs through the supply chain and related to consumer spending, this total rises to 350,000, which equals one percent of all U.K. jobs. To make matters worse, fashion’s level of contribution to the country’s GDP is forecasted to drop from 35 billion pounds ($44 billion) in 2019 to 26.2 billion pounds ($33 billion) by the close of 2020.

Earlier this month, BFC made four new appointments to its board of directors, including Jamie Gill, CEO of women’s wear brand Roksanda; June Sarpong, director of creative diversity at the BBC; Scott Morrison, founder of creative agency The Boom, and Sian Westerman, senior advisor at financial advisory firm Rothschild & Co.