The British Fashion Council (BFC) founded the BFC Foundation in 2019, which in its first two years received total donations of £3,200,000 through fundraising efforts of all its talent support initiatives; funds from the BFC surplus generated from the organisation’s activities including The Fashion Awards; and a call to BFC stakeholders to support fundraising to help businesses survive the COVID crisis. The charity (Registered Number: 1185152) supports the future growth and success of the British fashion industry by focusing on education, grant-giving, and business mentoring and aims to raise £2,000,000 per annum to maintain and grow its grant-giving programmes.
Creating pathways to support British fashion talent is at the core of the BFC. Now, more than ever, there is a need to continue and grow this support, increase the diversity of the talent pool and support businesses that are leading the way in terms of environmental and community impact. To achieve this, the BFC invited philanthropists and investors Tania Fares and Narmina Marandi to become co-chairs of the BFC Foundation, and work with the BFC to develop a BFC Foundation Advisory Committee and kick-start an influential patronage programme. Tania, Narmina and Advisory Committee members Aizel Trudel, Dylan Jones, Edward Enninful, Elizabeth Saltzman, Imran Amed, Ingie Chalhoub, Lauren Santo Domingo, Jefferson Hack, Ruth Chapman, and Yana Peel aim to secure 40 Founder Patrons. With already 31 confirmed in just 4 months, they are now focused on further extending the patron programme as well as opportunities for corporate partners to lend their support.
The BFC Foundation Trustees, Co-Chairs and Advisory Committee are delighted to welcome and thank the first Founder Patrons of the charity who pledged support and play an integral role in the new Charitable Patronage Programme for British fashion talent: Aizel Trudel, Anna Sweeting, Belma Gaudio, Cara Delevingne Foundation, Daphne Guinness, Emma Weymouth, Eve Henderson, Felicia Brocklebank, Ingie Chalhoub, Jordana Reuben, José and Daniela Neves, Karen Ruimy, Kate Haslett, Kristin Olafs, Lady Bamford, Lauren Santo Domingo, Mala Gaonkar, Maya Jama, Maysam Bisharat, Megha Mittal, Nasiba Adilova, Ruth Chapman, Sabrina Elba, Sara Bahamdan, Sian Westerman, Sofia Barattieri-Weinstein, Sumru Ramsey, Yana Peel, Zoë Law.
Tania Fares & Narmina Marandi commented: “Now more than ever it is extremely important to be able to support young talent. The past year has been really challenging and as we look ahead to the future, we are delighted to work with the British Fashion Council to bring together a group of benefactors from all around the world who will contribute to the success of British fashion. Our aim is for the Advisory Committee to grow and with it, the support designers and students receive.”
Caroline Rush, BFC Chief Executive said: “I would like to thank Tania, Narmina and the Advisory Committee for accepting our invitation and coming together so quickly to support our fundraising efforts. Creative talent is the lifeblood of our industry and if the past year taught us something is the importance of building sustainable and purpose-led businesses. I look forward to working with the Co-Chairs, Advisory Committee and Founder Patrons to support all the creatives who are not only incredibly innovative but also lead by example with their environmental and social choices.”
The BFC Foundation is solely reliant on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and companies and is funded through charitable donations including those received from BFC Patrons and Partners. This year, the BFC Foundation will activate all four Talent Support Initiatives: BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, BFC NEWGEN in partnership with TikTok and BFC Fashion Trust.
Clearpay, London Fashion Week’s Principal Partner, will underwrite funding gaps in the schemes, making the ‘Buy-Now Pay-Later’ company the first ever partner to support all initiatives in addition to London Fashion Week. TikTok joins NEWGEN as Principal Partner, supporting the BFC in creating a bespoke programme of activity for NEWGEN recipients. The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund is made possible thanks to the generous support of British Vogue, Burberry, Clearpay and Paul Smith.
The winner of the 2021 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund will be announced on Friday 7th May. The 2021/22 NEWGEN in partnership with TikTok and BFC Fashion Trust recipients, as well as the shortlist of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund will be announced on Thursday 27th May.
The Trustees of the Foundation are Stephanie Phair, Chairman, Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive Officer, and Laura Strain, Chief Operating Officer of the British Fashion Council.
Impact of the BFC Foundation
Last year, the challenges of COVID-19 acted as a catalyst to bring together all fundraising efforts under the BFC Foundation, prompting the BFC to create an exceptional BFC Foundation Fashion Fund to support creative fashion businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic.
In 2020 alone, the BFC Foundation allocated £1,500,000 over two rounds of funding to 67 British designer businesses and scholars, allowing them to stay afloat under extremely challenging circumstances.
The first round of funding was made possible thanks to ARCH & HOOK, British GQ, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, depop, HSBC, JD.COM,INC, Label/Mix, Paul Smith, Revlon Professional, Rodial and Value Retail. The second round of funding was made possible thanks to the generous donations from Alexander McQueen, Amazon Fashion, Browns, Cadogan, Clearpay, The Coach Foundation and John Lewis & Partners.
The BFC also collaborated with Bags of Ethics to produce Designer Face-Coverings sold at retailers such as ASOS, Boots, John Lewis & Partners, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose & Partners. Profit from the sales of this project went towards to the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund.
The BFC would like to thank the Fundraising Committee for the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund: Stephanie Phair, Caroline Rush, Dylan Jones, Jefferson Hack, Edward Enninful, Imran Amed, Elizabeth Saltzman, Yana Peel, Sian Westerman and Tania Fares.
The BFC Foundation also works to underpin the next generation of creative talent through education and provides financial support to students with BA or MA scholarships. In 2020/21, the charity paid over £186,000 to 26 scholars.