The British Fashion Council has announced that Chinese retail giant JD.com has become a partner for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, which has helped support the careers of some of the UK’s most promising designers.
JD.com is China’s largest retailer, with 258.3m customers, and its support of the initiative will help the winning designers to engage with the Chinese market, which is the world’s second largest luxury and consumer market.
The partnership will be effective from January 2018 and will benefit the winners of the 2018 fund. To mark the launch of the partnership JD Fashion, which it launched earlier this year with the goal of expanding its global fashion presence and bring more brands to China, supported the London Fashion Week shows of Mary Katrantzou and Chinese-born designer Huishan Zhang (who yesterday announced the opening of his first store in Mayfair).
British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush said the Chinese market was “extremely important” to the designers it supports. “This partnership with JD Fashion is very exciting as it will enable us to offer to the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund expertise on how to best penetrate the Chinese market. JD.com is a company that is known for protecting its brands against counterfeits, something very important as we need to make sure that the creativity and excellence of our designers is protected.”
Xia Ding, President JD Fashion commented: “We are delighted to partner with the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund to help support the world’s best up-and-coming designers. We believe strongly in partnering with designers throughout their careers, from helping them get their start in the industry, to entering the Chinese market and building their brands, to protecting their IP. This marks a starting point for what we expect to be a deep, long-term relationship with the British fashion community.”
The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund was launched in 2008 and this year the format was adjusted to enable up to three designers to share the £200,000 fund. 2017 winners Mother of Pearl and palmer//harding also received a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s Business Support team, including access to funders and industry experts. The fund is also supported by Burberry, Vogue, Harrods, LABEL, Paul Smith and Topshop.
Previous winners of the Fund include Christopher Kane, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto and Sophia Webster.