Halpern RTW Spring 2021

LONDON — The British Fashion Council has announced the shortlist of up-and-coming designers for its annual BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund, and they include Olubiyi Thomas, a men’s wear label making its London Fashion Week debut this season.

This year’s nominees also include Halpern; Asai; Bethany Williams; Chopova Lowena; sustainable brand E.L.V Denim; jewelry labels Completedworks and Alighieri; Richard Malone; Supriya Lele, and Kwaidan Editions.

The winner will receive mentorship and a cash prize of 200,000 pounds.

“Now more than ever, we must continue to champion young designers who bring so much inspiration and diversity to British fashion,” said British Vogue’s editor in chief Edward Enninful.

Enninful is on the judging committee alongside Matchesfashion’s global fashion officer Natalie Kingham; Burberry’s chief marketing officer Rod Manley, and model Adut Akech. British Vogue’s Sarah Harris and Julia Sarr Jamois are also among the judges.

Caroline Rush, the BFC’s chief executive officer, said “this year’s shortlist demonstrates the incredible breadth of talent we have here in the U.K.”

The announcement comes at a time when young brands in the U.K. are increasingly struggling with higher import and export costs as a result of post-Brexit red tape, while the BFC and lobby group Fashion Roundtable are calling on the government to show more support to the industry.

London Fashion Week will take place digitally Feb. 19 to 23, but the prolonged national lockdown and post-Brexit uncertainty have resulted in a lighter schedule with names including JW Anderson, Christopher Kane and contemporary favorite Rejina Pyo opting out of the lineup.