The British Fashion Council continuously supports British design talent and today, in association with eBay, the BFC announced the launch of yet another exciting new initiative: BFC Contemporary, sponsored by eBay.
BFC Contemporary is basically a mentorship programme for fashion designers who need guidance and advice on the business aspect of their labels. It’s welcome news, considering many designers struggle to balance the creative side of designing with the business side. Unless they establish their label with a strategically-minded partner who can deal with the “paperwork” aspect of running a business (think PR, marketing, branding, budgets, online and offline growth and consumer experience), new fashion labels, sadly, can fail simply due to lack of planning. When working creatively it’s difficult for young designers to find the time to plan ahead, and yet it’s a pivotal part of setting up shop: with strategies and vision comes revenue – without it, a creative business relies purely on luck. It seems like an easy answer – simply hire a business manager – however, not many young designers have someone they can depend on, who understands their concept and their customer so well that they can trust with them with the future of their “baby”.
That’s where the British Fashion Council comes in. BFC Contemporary will fill that “business manager” gap by providing fashion designers with a programme that delivers mentorship and offers strategic commercial opportunities. In association with eBay, the BFC will work closely with selected designers to support and build their strategies, and these mentoring sessions will be tailored to the needs of each designer, including access to pro-bono expertise from industry specialists – fashion gold dust.
Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council (and a really, really nice person) commented: “We are delighted to support and help accelerate the growth of these very viable fashion businesses. Each of the inaugural BFC Contemporary designers possess incredible creativity and strong brand concepts. With invaluable support from eBay, these designers mark a new wave in British contemporary design, the rise of which we aim to fuel with this new initiative.”
BFC Contemporary has been created in response to increasing demand for worldwide contemporary fashion and the initiative aims to support designers in their ready-to-wear and accessories collections in an attempt to deliver more contemporary British fashion. To promote the initiative, each designer will create a limited edition item to celebrate London Fashion Week this September, which will be sold on the first ever BFC Contemporary shop on eBay.co.uk.
This year’s BFC Contemporary participants were selected for their creative excellence, commercial potential and originality. They are:
Because 2014 is the inaugural year, the recipients of the BFC Contemporary were invited to apply by the British Fashion Council, so no one else was given the opportunity to apply. However, if you’re a designer who is interested in receiving support from BFC Contemporary, the official applications will be open to all designers next year (2015).
Image, left to right: Anna Laub (PRISM), Alexis Barrell (Alexis Barrell), Caroline Rush (BFC), Melanie Smallwood (eBay), Philippa Thackeray (PAPER London), Lea Carreno (PAPER London), Georgia Hardinge (Georgia Hardinge)