Established in 2008, the Fund aims to celebrate exceptional talent and empower businesses to play their part in positive growth through bespoke mentoring and for the winning designer, a cash prize of £200,000 allowing them to take their business to the next level.
Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue; European Editorial Director, Vogue, and Chair of the Fund Committee said: "Congratulations to Bethany Williams for receiving the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund for 2021. Bethany is an extraordinary talent who brings a depth to her process that is nothing short of inspirational. On top of her substantial gifts as a designer, she has rethought the way her collections are made, working with women who are homeless or in prison, among others, using her business to bring training and support. She really is a marvel."
Alighieri, ASAI, Bethany Williams, Chopova Lowena, Completedworks, E.L.V. Denim, Halpern, Kwaidan Editions, Olubiyi Thomas, Richard Malone and Supriya Lele were all shortlisted for the 2021 prize and were invited to present their collections and business plan to the panel. This year, the BFCVDFF was open to all gender collections and/or accessories.
All shortlisted designers receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s Business Support team, with access to funders and industry experts. The Fund receives the generous support of British Vogue, Burberry, Clearpay and Paul Smith.
Chaired by Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue and European Editorial Director, Vogue, the judging committee was made up of representatives from businesses who support the Fund and industry experts Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council; Adut Akech, Model; Julia Sarr-Jamois, Fashion Director, British Vogue; Lauren Indvik, Fashion Editor, Financial Times; Lizzy Eisenberg, VP International Expansion, Clearpay; Natalie Kingham, Global Fashion Officer, Matchesfashion.com; Rod Manley, Chief Marketing Officer, Burberry, Sarah Harris, Deputy Editor & Fashion Features Director, British Vogue and Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent & Chief Critic, Vogue Runway.
Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council, commented: “Congratulations to Bethany Williams on receiving this year’s BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. Bethany’s brand is a real example of a sustainable and conscious business, and as a designer, she is constantly finding new innovative design solutions to sustainability. All shortlisted designers deserved the prize, but the judging panel was particularly impressed by Bethany’s exceptional talent for using recycled deadstock and organic materials made in the UK and her ways of collaborating with communities and charities, aiming to shape the industry towards thinking more ethically. I cannot wait to see her business grow even more.”
BFCVDFF is part of the BFC Foundation (Registered Charity Number: 1185152) which brings all the BFC’s charitable initiatives under one umbrella supporting the future growth and success of the British fashion industry by focusing on Education, Grant-Giving and Business Mentoring.
In 2020, at the onset of the COVID crisis, the decision was taken to split the BFCVDFF cash prize across each of the six shortlisted brands for the very first time. These were Alighieri, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, David Koma, Halpern, Métier and Rejina Pyo.
Previous winners of the BFCVDFF include, WALES BONNER (2019), Molly Goddard (2018), Mother of Pearl & palmer//harding (2017), Sophia Webster (2016), Mary Katrantzou (2015), Peter Pilotto (2014), Nicholas Kirkwood (2013), Jonathan Saunders (2012), Christopher Kane (2011) and Erdem (2010).
The BFC would like to thank Mishcon de Reya for their pro-bono legal services, as well as the BFC Fashion Business Network and one-to-one mentors.