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MR PORTER launches designer mentorship programme

Tom Bottomley
26 April 2021

Luxury online menswear retailer MR PORTER has today announced the launch of a new global designer mentorship programme called MR PORTER FUTURES.

Focused around MR PORTER’s 10th anniversary themes of craftsmanship, discovery, inclusivity and community, three selected designers, or design duos, will undergo a year-long programme of workshops and one-to-one coaching, benefiting from access to leading mentors in the fashion industry alongside MR PORTER’s in-house team of buyers, designers and creative and marketing experts.

Applications for this first of its kind global design talent search open today, 26 April, and the deadline for applications is 6 June at 11.59pm BST. The year-long design and business mentorship programme will run from September 2021 – September 2022.

The programme aims to identify and nurture new design talent from outside the fashion mainstream, breaking down the barriers to luxury fashion by drawing eligible candidates from an international pool, and selected through an initial anonymous application review process.

Beyond the mentoring and coaching, each designer will gain the essential marketing and retail skills required to build successful, standalone brands in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while also designing, developing and delivering their very own responsibly sourced and produced collections, through the support of MR PORTER's own-label Mr P. team and consultancy Create Sustain.

Successful applications must agree to develop a minimum 15-piece ready-to-wear menswear collection, though MR PORTER is unable to accept applications for technical sportswear, accessories or footwear collections.

MR PORTER FUTURES selection committee mentors include the retailer’s Style Director, Olie Arnold, its Buying Director, Sam Kershaw, menswear designer Nicholas Daley, Director of BEAMS & CO, Tatsuo Hino, and Head of Business Incubation at London College of Fashion UAL, Judith Tolley.

MR PORTER Managing Director, Fiona Firth, said: “As MR PORTER marks its 10th anniversary, we continue to carve a space as a leader and role model in the menswear world, with ultimate thanks to our engaged and global network, alongside the collaborative partners, brands, designers and contributors who make up our multifaceted community.

“It is with these resources and extended support system, both internally and externally, that enables us to launch the MR PORTER FUTURES programme and create new opportunities within our industry.”

MR PORTER Buying Director, Sam Kershaw, added: “We have always been committed to championing a diverse mix of new and emerging designers throughout MR PORTER's decade in business, but if this year has taught us anything, it is that we have the responsibility to use our global platform to give equal opportunities to all new aspiring menswear voices, no matter their experience or background.

“MR PORTER FUTURES's anonymous application process ensures that the programme is open to everyone, including those outside of the industry mainstream. We are also proud to be shaping the future of menswear to produce high quality, responsibly sourced collections that are designed with inherent value, longevity and integrity - qualities MR PORTER prizes above all else."

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