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BFC announces recipients for second round of funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Tom Bottomley
22 September 2020

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has today announced the second round of recipients of the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, which supports creative fashion businesses and individuals as they try to survive and navigate their way through the COVID-19 crisis.

The BFC has raised a further £500,000 that is now being distributed in grants to an additional 30 British designer businesses. It follows on from the initial £1m emergency fund distributed in May to 37 British designers.

Support is allocated to viable businesses depending on their urgency and capability to come through and thrive post crisis.

New recipients for the fund include: Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Clothsurgeon, Cottweiler, Danshan, Emilia Wickstead, Eudon Choi, Fyodor Golan, Goomheo, Feng Chen Wang, Liam Hodges, Helen Kirkum, Molly Goddard, Maximilian, Saul Nask, Nicholas Daley, Olubiyi Thomas, Thom Sweeney and Wicker Wings.

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the BFC, said: "The UK leads the way in the number of highly creative, entrepreneurial and responsible SMEs in the global fashion industry. Protecting these businesses through the most challenging period we have all faced has been a priority and the need for funds is still great.

"We are extremely grateful for each and every one of our funders and hope to continue scaling the fund to help secure the future of the next generation of designer businesses. This is a critical moment to protect British fashion’s global position and reputation in terms of creative designer fashion businesses."

Funding decisions were based on a number of factors including viability of the business going forward, creative talent, employment and turnover.

The BFC took the decision to support Fashion East designers in creating collections this season to secure the pipeline of creatives from the talent launchpad led by Lulu Kennedy, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. 

A small number of start-up stage businesses were also supported to create collections for continuity based on their exceptional creativity. In line with the BFC’s focus on diversity and inclusion, the organisation ensured all funding panels had increased diversity.

The BFC Foundation Fashion Fund was established in March 2020 to help support creative fashion businesses and individuals as they try to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

This first round of funding in May was made possible through pooling the BFC talent support grants that would have traditionally been awarded for either early stage showcasing support, or business growth and promotion. The grants come from the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by, Inc., the BFC Fashion Trust and BFC NEWGEN.

The organisation fundraised an additional £500,000, allowing for applications to reopen for a second round in July 2020. The recipients were able to apply for a maximum of £50,000 and will also be given access to BFC business support and mentoring from the BFC’s Fashion Business Network, plus individual expert one-to-one mentors from across the business value chain.

The BFC also credits Alexander McQueen, Amazon Fashion, Browns, Cadogan, Clearpay, The Coach Foundation and John Lewis & Partners for their generous donations.

Profits from the sales of the ‘Great British Designers Face Coverings’ project, in collaboration with Bags of Ethics, also contributed to reaching the final milestone. Participating designers include Halpern, Julien Macdonald, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, RAEBURN and RIXO. Retailers for the project include ASOS, John Lewis, Boots and Sainsbury’s.

The BFC Foundation Fashion Fund for the COVID-19 crisis has seen over 350 applications to date. All applicants that did not receive funding through this round will be informed on new rounds of funding, government support schemes and webinars to collectively help businesses in these challenging times.

The organisation continues to fundraise and will reopen applications every time the £500,000 milestone is reached.

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