Chinese Designers in UK to Face COVID-19 Unsupported

What Happened:

The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the first round recipients of its newly created BFC Foundation Fashion Fund. The financial support will be given to 37 businesses from a one million pound emergency grant that will re-open for further rounds of applications when a £500,000 milestone is reached. The endowment aims to support creative fashion businesses and individuals “based in the UK” depending on their urgency and capability to come through and thrive post COVID-19 crisis.

The Jing Take: 

Interestingly, despite the considerable contribution China’s emerging designers make to the UK’s economy through education, costly visa applications, and business operations — not to mention holding their shows and presentations at London Fashion Week — there are no Chinese names listed in this timely first round. Moreover, China’s independent designers, who reside and work in the UK, are not receiving any Chinese state support during this period. And now, at least for the first round of funding, they will also miss out on much needed financial support to get through this crisis from the country where their businesses are located and pay taxes. 

In addition, in order to make this lifeline possible, the BFC has combined pre-existing sponsorship pools including some from China’s e-commerce giant took on the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund in 2019, signing a two-year deal. The tie-up helps British talent in the Chinese market (which is already in recovery mode) and encourages Chinese consumer interest in London brand names. When’s deal with the BFC is up for renewal, it will be interesting to see if they instead divert funds back to mainland designers, who are being left to tackle this crisis unsupported.