LONDON EBay is a new sponsor of British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward initiative, which helps designers to show their collections and develop their businesses in London. The BFC said eBay’s fashion arm would sponsor the initiative in a “multi-season” agreement from spring 2013. The program, now in its sixth year, currently supports designers including Mary Katrantzou, Henry Holland and James Long.

The partnership involves a number of activities. Melanie Smallwood, the head of eBay fashion brands, will sit on the panel to decide the next round of designers that Fashion Forward will support, to be announced in January, while eBay will also host a fashion auction with the BFC to benefit Save the Children. The auction is to run from Sept. 13 to 23, coinciding with London Fashion Week’s spring 2013 season, and will carry pieces such as the Burberry dress Samantha Cameron wore to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 wedding, along with pieces by Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen and Temperley London.

Smallwood noted that working with the BFC would give eBay additional “fashion credibility,” to add to the designer collaborations that eBay has launched in the U.S., most recently with designers including Chris Benz and Tibi for the holiday season. “That’s the evolution of where we’re going from a fashion perspective,” she said.