On May 4, the British Fashion Council (BFC) announced this year’s recipients for its annual program to support emerging fashion talent.
The BFC’s platforms — BFC NEWGEN, BFC/GQ Designer Fashion Fund, BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, and BFC Fashion Trust — provide 35 emerging designers, and a number of students, with financial support and business mentoring to help them scale up their new companies.
22 brands were shortlisted for the 2022/23 annual BFC NEWGEN award, which supports the very best ready-to-wear and accessories designers. Among them, three designers of Chinese origin — Yuhan Wang, Chet Lo, and ASAI — were awarded sponsorship.
Yuhan Wang, whose designs are inspired by a romantic portrayal of femininity that blends Eastern and Western representations, was also a finalist of the 2021/22 BFC NEWGEN. Chet Lo, the queer POC independent designer, is another name to keep an eye on. His colorful and avant-garde knitwear garments have quickly secured a loyal following for his label. And ASAI, founded by the British-Chinese-Vietnamese designer A Sai Ta, is renowned for its tie-dyed and curve-hugging dresses.
“This year’s list of talents truly showcases London’s reputation as a global capital for creative industries, and we are delighted to be able to help so many of them through the BFC Foundation,” said Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the BFC.
The BFC revealed that last year it had remitted £1.3 million in funds to designers and scholars, with £932,500 provided by BFC Foundation. £400,000 was paid through brand partnership collaborations with Chanel, Dior Men, Paul Smith, and London Fashion Week’s principal partner, Clearpay.
Meanwhile, the consistent presence of Chinese labels winning BFC awards (last year Feng Chenwang was one of the finalists of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund) affirms China’s growing presence on London’s fashion scene.
That said, unlike other fashion capitals dominated by global luxury and fashion brands (that often overshadow emerging designers), London’s diverse and inclusive fashion landscape continues to be a solid breeding ground for Chinese designers to blossom. However, the UK capital does have one ongoing challenge — can it retain these talents as they soar?