FUNDING FASHION: The British Fashion Council and British Vogue have unveiled the 2017 contenders for the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund. They are Huishan Zhang, Mother of Pearl, Osman, Palmer Harding, Shrimps, Sophie Hulme and Toogood.

The designers will be evaluated by the fund committee on Feb. 2, at Breather.com in Covent Garden, and the winner will be announced on April 4. As reported, the fund has amended its format this year with the 200,000 pound, or $248,785 at current exchange, prize to be split among three winners. The recipients will receive assistance with business development and mentoring through BFC’s Business Support team.

The short-listed designers were selected by a panel of judges including Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue and chair of the fund committee; Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the British Fashion Council, and a mix of retailers, designers, press and creatives.

“All the designers have demonstrated incredible talent and strong business skills,” Rush said. “I believe they all have the potential to become the U.K.’s next global brands, and the new format of the fund will help them achieve that goal.”

Shulman said the funding is specifically designed to help the designers’ businesses in a very targeted way “so that it can grow into a greater role on the global fashion stage. I congratulate all of the short-listed designers for the tenacious creativity that has got them to this point.”

Launched in 2009, the fund is sponsored by British Vogue, Burberry, Harrods, Label, Paul Smith and Topshop. Previous winners include Christopher Kane, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto and Sophia Webster.

The judging panel includes Gemma Metheringham of Next’s Label; Helen David of Harrods; Ian Lewis of Harrys of London Ltd.; Samantha Cameron; Joan Burstein; Lisa Armstrong; Sarah Manley; Mary Homer of Topshop, and Susanne Tide-Frater of Farfetch.

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