The British Fashion Council have today announced that it will be pooling funds from its talent initiative schemes–BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by JD.COM, INC, BFC Fashion Trust and NEWGEN–to create the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund.
Through its charity the BFC Foundation, BFC will make £1,000,000 of emergency funds available with the majority supporting designer businesses, and through reserves from its Education Foundation, a portion of the funds will be allocated to students.
This fund will no doubt be welcomed by fashion designers both established and emerging, as with international travel halted, workplaces shuttered, delivery services delayed and consumer demand down, the system in which fashion operates has been greatly affected. The BFC has called for greater financial liquidity (a.k.a. availability of money) through grants and long-term low risk loans, as well as asking for rent holidays for commercial premises. In its role as part of the Creative Industries Federation, the council has also campaigned for support for creative freelancers, who make up a large proportion of the fashion industry.
As the BFC note, 'while £1 million is a great start, the scale of the need is much greater,' and as such, the council has called on the government to provide 'significant industry stimulus,' as well as for donations from the fashion industry and individuals.
Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the BFC said: 'Now more than ever, we are committed to support the businesses and people that make up our industry. With the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund and the donations raised, our hope is to support those British businesses that need additional subsidies, beyond Government stimulus available, to address their most urgent challenges.'
Applications and mechanics for funding from the new BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund will open within the next seven days, with applications closing on 10 April 2020. A guideline to criteria for businesses to apply are:
- Applicants should have an established designer fashion business
- The applicant’s collection should consist primarily of womenswear, menswear, accessories, millinery or fine jewellery (not bridalwear or childrenswear)
- The applicant’s company should be based in the UK and be registered with Companies House or a sole trader
- The applicant’s company should be majority-owned by the Designer / Creative Director & not have had outside equity funding in any material amount
- Grant money requested should relate to a clear purpose to support the business survive over the next year