The British Fashion Council (BFC) has today announced the launch of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, supported by Vertu.
Following the success of London Collections: Men, the BFC and GQ are delighted to extend support for British menswear businesses with the launch of this new fund offering a prize valued at £150,000 comprising cash, high level business mentoring and professional business services. The Fund is aimed at businesses that have been trading for a minimum of three years, with UK and international stockists and who have graduated through the existing BFC talent support schemes or are at a similar stage in their business.
The BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund will provide a platform similar to the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund that was launched in September 2009 and to date has supported Erdem, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and this year, Nicholas Kirkwood.
Vertu, lead partner on this Fund will assist in developing the mentoring programme and give access to their team of business leaders in technology, global distribution, legal and finance.
Massimiliano Pogliani CEO of Vertu commented: “Vertu is delighted to be supporting this powerful initiative and I believe that we are uniquely placed to support the BFC and GQ in this project. As a British brand we understand the importance of nurturing our home grown design talent and applaud the efforts of the BFC to promote British manufacturing, industry and of course creativity on a global platform.”
"We thought it was about time that the menswear industry had its own fund, in order to try and help some of our emerging brands grow and move forward financially. London is not only the home of menswear, but there are now more exciting menswear designers in Britain than ever before. We are also thrilled that Vertu have come on board as sponsors - they were the first people we asked, as they are the perfect mix of technological dynamism and luxury" - Dylan Jones, Editor-in-Chief of GQ Magazine and Chair of London Collections: Men
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council commented: “There could not be a better time to celebrate and support the flourishing British menswear industry. The Fund highlights the progress the menswear industry has made in the last couple of years and is a monumental development for young designers – it absolutely shows that creativity and business in the UK are not mutually exclusive.”
A judging panel of industry experts will select a long list of applicants to attend an interview after which up to eight businesses will be shortlisted based on their contribution to the reputation of the British fashion industry, commercial achievements to date and their three year plan which should include infrastructure and employment opportunities to support growth.
Those shortlisted will take part in an 8 month mentoring programme that will see them spend time with global fashion brands, meet with media, look at range planning and dissect their three year plan to address global growth.
At the end of the mentoring period, designers will be asked to re-present their 3 year plan and present their most recent collection to a panel of judges. The winner must demonstrate a clear vision for their business and how the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund will contribute to their growth with a focus on creating a global brand.
The British Fashion Council has an international reputation for supporting emerging talent through its existing schemes; NEWGEN supported by TOPSHOP, NEWGEN MEN sponsored by Topman and Fashion Forward sponsored by Ebay Fashion and supported by the Mayor of London. The BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund specifically aims to aid business growth, global reputation and create employment opportunities.