The British Fashion Council (BFC) is delighted to announce Priya Ahluwalia, Founder of Ahluwalia, as the winner of the 2021 BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund. Ahluwalia will receive a 12-month bespoke high-level business mentoring programme, pro-bono legal services from Sheridans and a £150,000 cash prize.
Dylan Jones OBE, British Fashion Council Chair of Menswear and Editor of British GQ commented, “Massive congratulations to Priya! She demonstrated perceptive design and business acumen, drawing on the contemporary sensibilities of the modern consumer, propelling her to the top of the talent pool. It was a unanimous decision from the judging committee. I look forward to seeing Priya’s business grow and become an established international brand.”
Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council commented, “The judging committee was impressed with the quality of work, thought process and determination of the talented 2021 shortlist. Each designer has a bright future ahead of them. There can only be one winner and Priya proved to be the strongest candidate showing incredible creativity along with a business strategy that embodies the future of British fashion, with environmental and socially positive practices at the core of the brand. The committee is confident she will use the fund to her best advantage to propel and cement Ahluwalia on the global stage.”
This year’s shortlist included Bethany Williams, Bianca Saunders, Feng Chen Wang, Nicholas Daley and Stefan Cooke, who all participated in a mentoring programme where both industry experts and judging committee members provided guidance on topics including, strategic planning, branding, leadership, commercial retail, e-tail and wholesale and digital innovation. The BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund is generously supported by Clearpay.
This year’s judging panel was chaired by Dylan Jones, BFC Chair of Menswear and Editor of British GQ and was made up of representatives from businesses who support the Fund and industry experts Alison Lomax, Managing Director Lifestyle Retail Google UK; Alton Mason, Fashion Model; Andrew Maag, Chief Executive Officer Dunhill; Ben Banks, Director Four Marketing; Bruce Pask, Men’s Fashion Director Bergdorf Goodman; Caroline Rush CBE, British Fashion Council; Hector Bellerin, Professional Footballer; Jonathan Akeroyd, Chief Executive Officer Gianni Versace SpA; Kim Jones OBE, Artistic Director Dior Mens & Fendi Womenswear; Natalie McGrath, Vice President Marketing NA and EMEA Clearpay; Pierre M’pelé, Editor The Perfect Magazine; Simon Longland, Menswear Director Harrods; Stephen Doig, Men’s Style Editor & Assistant Luxury Editor Telegraph; Teo van der Broeke, Style & Grooming Director British GQ.
Previous winners of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund include A-COLD-WALL* (2019), Craig Green (2016), E Tautz (2015) and Christopher Shannon (2014).
The BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund is part of the BFC Foundation (Registered Charity Number: 1185152) which brings all the BFC’s charitable initiatives under one umbrella, supporting the future growth and success of the British fashion industry by focusing on education, grant-giving and business mentoring, and further enhancing the UK’s position as the best place to study, start and develop a fashion business. Last May, the BFC announced it raised £1.7m in 2020/21 for the BFC Foundation and its talent support initiatives, supporting 34 designers and a number of students.