Top image: backstage at Craig Green SS20 / photography Nicky Zeng
Earlier this year, the British Fashion Council announced it would allocate a £1million emergency fund to designers, students and small businesses struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Just weeks later, 37 recipients have been awarded grants from the crisis fund: these include sustainability pioneers Bethany Williams and Phoebe English, menswear innovators Liam Hodges and Craig Green, as well as emerging designers like Stefan Cooke, Priya Ahluwalia and Paria Farzaneh.
Chief Executive Caroline Rush points to an “astonishing amount of applications” for the crisis fund, and highlights that this is only the beginning. “The need for support is immense,” she explains in a press statement. “Our hope is to re-open the fund for future rounds, to help as many businesses as possible, and ensure the future growth and success of the British fashion industry.”
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The first recipients of grants from the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund for the Covid Crisis have been announced, including @alighieri_jewellery, @16Arlington, @ahluwalia_studio, @ariesarise, @artschool_london, @bethany_williams_london, @biancasaunders_, @Chalayan, @_charlesjeffrey, @chopovalowena, @craig__green, @davidkomalondon, @etautz, @elvdenim, @EdelineLee, @eftychia_co, @halpernstudio, @kingandtuckfield, @kwaidaneditions, @liam__hodges, @babbym, @metier.london, @nabilnayal, @neous, @Nicholas_Daley, @palmerharding, @paperlondon, @pariafarzaneh, @pergotesson, @PhoebeEnglish, @raeburn_design, @rejinapyo, @RichardMalone, @RICHARDQUINN, @roksandailincic, @stefan_cooke and @t_o_o_g_o_o_d The BFC is fundraising to support more creative businesses survive this crisis. The BFC calls on the industry and its partners to donate and make #AMaterialDifference via link in bio.
As well as grants of up to £50,000 each, the recipients will gain valuable mentorship as well as guidance on how to claim support from the government. Rush is also calling on big businesses to donate to the fund – and so far, the likes of Alexander McQueen, Browns, Clearpay and Coach Foundation have all made contributions. The current £1million has been redirected from other talent support schemes like NEWGEN and the BFC / Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, yet this isn’t enough – it’s estimated that £100million will be needed to “help protect this decade’s generation of talent over the next 12 to 18 months.”
Other artist hardship funds are available too, and institutions like the Arts Council are accepting applications from emerging designers struggling to cope with the pandemic. If nothing else, the crisis is showcasing the kind of community spirit that can hopefully help creatives across the fashion industry to weather the storm.
More funding tips and resources are available on the British Fashion Council website.