Established in 2008, The Fund aims to discover new talent and accelerate growth over a twelve-month period through mentoring and awarding a cash prize of £200,000. This year’s applications were encouraged from all over the UK, with many not shortlisted put on the radar of the high-profile industry judging committee for the first time.
This year’s judging committee is chaired by Edward Enninful OBE, Editor of British Vogue. The committee comprises of experts from across the fashion industry: Caroline Rush CBE, 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, the world’s second largest consumer and luxury market, and expand their customer bases into the country. With the launch of JD Fashion in 2017, JD is supporting designers and meeting demand from their customers who are increasingly looking to brands in the U.K. to express their individuality. Furthermore, award-winning law firm Mishcon de Reya will provide pro-bono legal advice to the finalists and winner.
In 2017 the Fund was shared between two recipients, Mother of Pearl and palmer//harding. For its 10th year anniversary the Fund returns to its original format to award one winner and help bring new knowledge to designer businesses and the finance put towards a full time or consultant team member but also to advise on areas such as accountancy, merchandising, business strategy, international growth, retail and e-commerce.
The shortlisted designers will be interviewed by the Fund Judging Committee on Thursday 15th March 2018 at Mortimer House, London, with the winner being announced on Tuesday 8th May 2018.
Since its inception, winners of The Fund include Erdem (2010), Christopher Kane (2011), Jonathan Saunders (2012), Nicholas Kirkwood (2013), Peter Pilotto (2014), Mary Katrantzou (2015), Sophia Webster (2016) and Mother of Pearl & palmer//harding (2017).