Fashion’s Future

By Eunice Olumide

This season the British Fashion Council (BFC) continued its bold steps as a catalyst for positive change with the return of the Positive Fashion Exhibition, to encourage and support a new wave of designers focusing on sustainability. Over London Fashion Week (LFW) there were catwalk shows open to the general public, a formidable talk series at official hub The Store X, and an all-encompassing city-wide celebration uniting 78 brands, 103 stores and 346 events in just five days, in partnership with cultural institutions, businesses and retailers.

The sincerity and integrity of the Positive Fashion movement at the BFC is based on three main pillars – Environment, People, and Craftsmanship & Community. The unique show space at 180 Strand was made up of a specific selection of emerging talent, the prestigious NEWGEN installation which featured 20 talented designers and DiscoveryLAB, an experiential zone spanning fashion, art and technology. Our Scottish Woman designer-to-watch award goes to the talented and ethically minded Patrick McDowell for his perfectly constructed Swap Shop, where you could exchange items from your wardrobe for something used but new.


Richard Malone’s Woolmark Prize-winning collection on the catwalk. Images: Des Richards Photography

Championing UK design talent does not end at home. The BFC continues to assist designers as they develop their brand and identity on a global scale. The BFC’s Colleges Council – a membership programme representing leading university and college fashion departments – offers scholarships and vital links to industry at BA and MA level, combined with business mentoring and grant-giving through The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, NEWGEN and The Fashion Trust. Key talent spotlighting events include The Fashion Awards – an annual celebration of creativity and innovation – London Fashion Week Men’s (launched in 2012), the famous LFW and the pop-up LONDON show ROOMS.

The winners of the 2020 International Woolmark Prize and inaugural Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation were remarkable creators Richard Malone and Bode.  These designers focused on ensuring that their supply chains were sustainable and transparent; a vital lesson for the future of the industry. Malone also collaborated with Bags of Ethics – a label recognising manufacturers and brands that have made a conscious effort to respect people and the planet – to make this season’s LFW reusable canvas bag.

Manchester Fashion Institute student Harry Parker won this year’s British Library x Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY Research Competition, part of the mentoring scheme launched by British model Adwoa Aboah and the BFC. The competition hones in on the importance of research in fashion education.

For those of you with your own budding designers of the future, the BFC’s Fashion & Business Saturday Club Programme, in partnership with the Saturday Club Trust, gives 13-18 year olds an opportunity to study fashion at their local college or university free of charge.

Follow Eunice on Instagram at @euniceolumide