On 5th November 2014 the British Fashion Council announced the new recipients of financial and mentoring support from the BFC Fashion Trust. Grants totalling £215,000 will be split between eight designers: Emilia Wickstead, House of Holland, Mary Katrantzou, Michael van der Ham, Osman, Richard Nicoll, Todd Lynn and Zoe Jordan.
The Fashion Trust is a British Fashion Council initiative, founded in February 2011 to offer selected designers business support through mentoring and financial awards to promote the art and business of fashion. The Trust is funded by private donors who receive an exclusive fashion insider programme curated by Arts Co. The programme includes private curator-led tours at the V&A Museum, in conversations with key industry leaders, designer studio talks and blue sky thinking presentations by The Future Laboratory.
The designers benefiting from the programme gain access to a network of advisors, mentors and businesses, including Taylor Wessing which specialises in copyright and IP law; global investment firm Rothschild, and The Future Laboratory, which delivers trend forecasting, consumer insight and brand strategy to the luxury and fashion sectors. The designer support programme also includes a wide range of seminars throughout the year to help strengthen the designers’ knowledge and understanding of topics linked directly to their business.
Previous years’ recipients of grants and pro bono mentoring include Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Osman, Peter Pilotto, Richard Nicoll, Roksanda Ilincic, Michael van der Ham and Todd Lynn, providing invaluable support to each developing business.
Funds are raised through membership to an annual fashion insight and cultural programme. The BFC Fashion Trust Founder Member Committee has played a key role in broadening the designers’ access to entrepreneurs across all fields of business and creativity and supporting the co-chairs in developing the membership programme.
Richard Nicoll commented: “The support of the BFC Fashion Trust has been invaluable to my company and the future of our business. Not only have they provided tailored support and advice from experienced industry professionals and advisors, but they have enabled us to take our sales in house and retain the services of a Celebrity PR agency, who are already increasing the profile of the brand, internationally”
Roksanda Ilincic added: “The support of the BFC Fashion Trust came at a crucial time for us. We were focusing on the business and commercial aspects of the company, and the opening of our first store, when the Trust introduced myself and my team to talented mentors and advisors. The platform they have created with access to extremely influential people in the industry is invaluable for growing British designers like myself.”
The Founder Member Committee includes Belma Gaudio, Deborah Brett, Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, Felicia Brocklebank, Joanna Przetakiewicz, Kate Haslett, Leon Max, Megha Mittal, Natalie Livingstone, Nicoletta Fiorucci, Sue Whiteley, Terry Gunzburg and Yassmin Ghandehari. In addition, Jessica de Rothschild in LA and Yana Peel in Hong Kong have curated dynamic networks of individuals interested in supporting British designers to better understand international markets.