LONDON — The British Fashion Council has spent the summer months raising fresh funds for designers and brands that are struggling with the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines on their businesses.
Following an initial fund-raising of 1 million pounds shortly after COVID-19 struck, the organization has pooled a further 500,000 pounds, and is asking designers to submit applications for grants by Aug. 7.
The BFC Foundation Fashion Fund was established in March to support creative fashion businesses and individuals through the pandemic, which forced stores to shut overnight and businesses to send their workers home, sometimes for good. Indeed, even as businesses and stores reopen, layoffs at the fashion houses have been widespread as designers look to reduce overheads, and do more with less.
In May, the BFC gave financial support and mentoring to 37 British designer businesses, with grants handed to viable businesses depending on how urgently they needed the money, and how likely they were to survive, and thrive, post-crisis. A portion of the initial 1 million pounds was also allocated to students.
The BFC said it is continuing to raise money and will reopen applications every time an additional 500,000 pounds milestone is reached. The organization said Alexander McQueen, Amazon Fashion, Browns, the property company Cadogan, Clearpay, The Coach Foundation and John Lewis & Partners had all made “generous” donations to the second round of funding.
Donors to the earlier 1 million pound fund in May included Browns, Burberry, Depop, the European Regional Development Fund, HSBC, JD.com, the Mayor of London, Paul Smith, Revlon Professional, Rodial and The Bicester Village Shopping Collection.
Profits from the sales of the Great British Designers Face Coverings project in collaboration with Bags of Ethics also contributed to reaching the first milestone, the organization said. Retailers selling those masks include Asos, Boots, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
As reported in May, the BFC selected 37 designers and brands from more than 200 applications for grants. Roksanda Ilincic, Hussein Chalayan, David Koma and Christopher Raeburn, as well as some of London Fashion Week’s most promising young talents — including Richard Quinn, Matty Bovan, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Alighieri, 16Arlington, Halpern, Rejina Pyo, Eftychia and Stefan Cooke — were among the designers to benefit from the first round of funding.
Among the other young talents receiving support from the debut fund were Ahluwalia, Aries, Bianca Saunders, LVMH Prize nominee Chopova Lowena, Craig Green, E. Tautz, E.L.V. Denim, Edeline Lee, Kwaidan Editions, Metier, footwear label Neous, Liam Hodges, Nabil Nayal, Nicholas Daley, Palmer Harding, Paper London, Paria/Farzaneh, Per Götesson, Phoebe English, Richard Malone and Toogood.
Each brand received up to 50,000 pounds, as well as access to business support and mentoring from BFC partners including Farfetch, Eco-Age, YouTube, Instagram, Google and Value Retail.