The annual fashion fundraiser that defines the protagonists steering the industry took place last night at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Running since 1989, the star-studded British Fashion Awards garners global attention as one of the most-talked-about ceremonies of the year. Over on TikTok, posts about the event have accumulated 117.5 million views and counting.
British Womenswear Designer of the Year went to Ferragamo creative director Maximilian Davis, while collab-queen Martine Rose scooped the Menswear Designer of the Year gong. The most coveted award, the Designer of the Year prize went to JW Anderson and Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson.
China’s independent designers did not make the cut for this year's nominations. However, New Zealand-born, London-based Chinese fashion photographer Annie Lai deserves an honorable mention for being recognized as one of the British Fashion Council's New Wave Creatives of 2023.
Chinese supermodel Liu Wen was nominated alongside Alton Mason, Kai-Isaiah Jamal, Anok Yai, and Mona Tougaard for the Model of the Year award. However, Paloma Esser, a celebrated fixture on countless catwalks, won out, the first curve model to do so, foreshadowing an optimistic future for the industry.
From Nicole Scherzinger wearing Patrick McDowell to presenter Amelia Dimoldenberg donning Chopova Lowena, it was an evening of celebrating new talent as much as established names. As part of the British Fashion Council’s Newgen initiative, Yuhan Wang and Chet Lo were stars of the night.
Wang dressed English model and TV personality Abbey Clancey in a frilled black lace look. Meanwhile, thriving Chinese-American new talent Lo broke through the news feed-noise for dressing two major attendees, popstar Leigh-Anne Pinnock and American actress Lisa Rinna, in his instantly recognizable 3D spikes. The emerging designer also dressed the event’s co-presenter, Maya Jama, in a red bespoke three-piece ensemble.
This year has been an empowering one for China’s fashion industry, with talents such as Feng Chen Wang, Susan Fang, Didu, and Angel Chen all thriving and establishing their positions through solid global collaborations.
Although Wang and Lo did provide some of the evening’s most memorable designs, this year’s British Fashion Awards shows that China still has quite a way to go to compete with the reputation and overall scope of global industry leaders.