The British Fashion Council and Vogue have revealed the designers in the running to secure their Designer Fashion Fund, which this year is sponsored by Chinese retail giant JD.com for the first time.
One designer from a shortlist of David Koma, Huishan Zhang, Le Kilt, Marques’ Almeida, Molly Goddard and Rejina Pyo will receive the £200,000 prize and 12 months’ mentoring to accelerate their businesses.
This year’s judging committee is chaired by Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue. The committee comprises of experts from across the fashion industry: Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council; Erdem Moralioglu, ERDEM; Gemma Metheringham, LABEL; Helen David, Harrods; Jourdan Dunn, model; Maria Hatzistefanis, Rodial; Sarah Manley, Burberry; Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent & Vogue Runway; Paul Price, Topshop and Xia Ding, JD.com.
The application process encouraged brands to think strategically about the Fund’s core objective of business growth. All shortlisted designers will receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s Business Support team, with access to funders and industry experts including a roundtable hosted by Sir Paul Smith and a mentoring session from Rodial’s Maria Hatzistefanis. Additionally, Xia Ding of JD.com will offer expertise on how to best penetrate the Chinese market.
In 2017 the Fund was shared between two recipients, Mother of Pearl and palmer//harding. For its 10th year anniversary this year the Fund returns to its original format to award one winner.
‘The BFC Vogue Designer Fashion Fund is a hugely important initiative and I am thrilled to have Chaired this year’s committee. Our shortlist is a true representation of the diverse and inspirational design talent we foster in the UK, and I’m excited to see who will impress us as we move forward,” said Enninful.
The shortlisted designers will be interviewed by the Fund Judging Committee on 15 March at Mortimer House, London W1T 3JH with the winner being announced on 8 May.
Previous winners of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund include Christopher Kane, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Mother of Pearl, Nicholas Kirkwood, palmer//harding, Peter Pilotto and Sophia Webster.