The Future of Fashion
Editor | Inhae Yeo
Tuesday 12th December 2017
Fashion Awards 2017 returned to the Royal Albert Hall for the second year to celebrate fashion industry’s most prominent names from the emerging to the established and the legendary. The ceremony heralded by British Fashion Council’s Chairman Natalie Massenet and CEO Caroline Rush, sponsored by Swarovski was last year renamed Fashion Awards, (previously British Fashion Awards) to recognize and celebrate the industry’s diverse international talents and brands. Natalie Massenent’s tenure as Chairman is to come to an end next year, as revealed at the awards ceremony by Marco Bizzarri at Gucci during his speech after being awarded the ‘Business Leader Award’, a new category added this year.
This is the 33rd year since the first Fashion Award was given by the British Fashion Council and this year 14 awardees were handed their awards in front of a global mix of 4,000 guests that included the fashion industry, students and members of the public. Of the 14 awards, 9 are voted by an international panel of 2,000 industry opinion formers and 5 are special recognition awards.
The interesting change that comes with the new name, change of venue and format since last year is that Fashion Awards will serve an important purpose to raise funds for the BFC Education Foundation, the charitable partner for the event that offers scholarships for fashion courses at universities in and outside of the London area as well as opportunities to fund apprenticeships to develop industry skills that are essential for employment.
Who is the BFC Education Foundation and what do they do?
BFC Education Foundation was established out of what was first named the Education pillar, one of the 5 strategic pillars Natalie Massenet had announced as the Chairman of the BFC, each headed by a president, an expert from the industry, to drive forward the pillars. The wakeup call was the education fee being shot up to what is today a maximum of £9,250 (US $12,330) per year for undergraduate degree programs for home students. For international students, the starting fee is around £10,000 (US $13,350). Massenet has stated that “the ambition is to raise and invest £10 million to support young people” with the goal to commit “to support talented people from all backgrounds fulfil their dreams and access the best universities in the world.” 100% of all donations from the Fashion Awards event will go to the BFC Education Foundation.
The main activities include pioneering both undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, fashion apprenticeships, a National Fashion & Business Saturday Club and programme of industry led events, seminars and competitions.
BA and MA Scholarships
According to Sarah Mower, Chief Critic for Vogue US and a trustee of the BFC Education Foundation, the scholars are selected “on the basis of their outstanding talent, from Universities across the country.” Creativity, individuality and technical skills are carefully measured with international excellence in mind. Sarah emphasizes that “funding the exceptional young people whose originality and new ways of thinking are needed to strengthen the future of the industry.”
Past MA scholarship winners include Graeme Raeburn, Designer, Rapha (2001); John Mooney, Brand Creative Director, ASOS (2001); Erdem Moralıoğlu, Designer and Founder, Erdem (2002); Aitor Throup, Executive Creative Director, G Star Raw (2004); Daphne Karras, Head of Womenswear, Kenzo (2004); Andres Azubel, Senior Menswear Designer, Givenchy (2005); Nabil El Nayal, Designer & founder, Nabil Nayal (2008); Nicola Morgan, Senior Designer, Thierry Mugler (2009); Alice Bastin, Head of Leather & Fur RTW, Alexander McQueen (2011); Emma Hardstaff, Womenswear Designer, Burberry (2012); Matty Bovan, Designer and Founder, Matty Bovan (2013) and Pip Paz Howlett, Print Designer, JW Anderson (2015).
Colleges Council Graduate Preview Day
BFC Colleges Council, founded by the BFC in 1993 to bridge the gap between education and the industry, is a membership program that provides opportunities for students to be involved in the industry. Currently there are around 35 member colleges. The BFC partners with these members and hosts a Graduate Preview Day annually where representative of the colleges introduces their best talents to the industry key figures. The event also puts on display the works of the BA and MA scholarship recipients.
Winners of the Burberry Fashion Design competition, Jigsaw & Pongees Evening-wear competition, Topshop & Topman Graduate Talent competition and The Anne Tyrell MBE Outstanding Portfolio competition are announced at the annual Graduate Preview Day. The competition open different doors to the students including a cash prize to help with the collection cost, traineeship or designs being produced into garments and sold in stores. The Fashion and Business Saturday club aims at giving young people aged 14-16 the opportunity to study fashion at their local college or university for free. The students will be able to experience in advance the different areas of the fashion industry. The objective of the program is to inspire and nurture talents from a young age. The opportunity will help shape their idea of what they would like to pursue in further education.
Fashion education has a huge significance as it is where the future talents are nurtured and fed into the industry. When the industry works closely with these colleges, talents will have a better chance at not only finding the right path but also knowing and acquiring skills necessary for the industry in a practical sense. OiKONOMOS.CLUB will reveal shortly on our platform, the interview features with the Heads of Fashion at the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion.