The BFC Honours Joe Casley-Hayford With New Scholarship

by SHOWstudio on 19 October 2023

The latest in the British Fashion Council’s charitable initiatives supporting the next generation, the scholarship was founded to support Black and mixed heritage design students.

The latest in the British Fashion Council’s charitable initiatives supporting the next generation, the scholarship was founded to support Black and mixed heritage design students.

Looking to future-proof British fashion, since 1993 the British Fashion Council has bridged the industry with education in support of the next generation of designers. The charitable initiatives include the BFC Scholars program, which includes the BFC Foundation MA and BA Scholarships, and now the Joe Casley-Hayford MA Scholarship. In honour of the pioneering British designer, the new scholarship is tackling the industry's diversity problem by providing support for Black and mixed heritage design students.

The first-ever recipient of the new scholarship is Taya Francis from Nottingham Trent University. Altogether, this year the BFC has provided £250,000 to its twenty-size MA and BA scholars. More than just about the money, Francis will have access to the BFC Scholars program and will also receive mentoring from the Casley-Hayford family and team.

Joe Casely-Hayford, photograph courtesy of the BFC

‘Congratulations to Taya Francis, our very first BFC Foundation Joe Casley-Hayford MA Scholarship recipient’, says BFC CEO Caroline Rush. ‘We are thrilled to launch this scholarship and play our part in strengthening and future-proofing the pipeline of fashion talent from all backgrounds all while paying tribute to the genius of Joe Casley-Hayford’.

Further paying tribute to Casley-Hayford, the designer who revolutionised menswear in the 80s with his innovative approach and Saville Row training, will be honoured with a posthumous award at the 2023 Fashion Awards. Having died in 2019, the designer’s illustrious 40-year history, including patronising emerging designers, left a lasting impact on British fashion. ‘He catapulted London’s reputation as a fashion and cultural hub on a global stage. He paved the way for generations of designers and the UK fashion industry is indebted to his unique vision, designs and unwavering support of young fashion talent,’ explains Rush.

British Vogue, December 1992. U2 lead singer Bono wears custom Joe Casely-Hayford

Pieces from his archive are currently on display at Somerset House’s latest fashion exhibition, The Missing Thread, which puts the spotlight on the Black designers who have shaped British fashion. Artist and co-curator of the exhibition Andrew Ibi, who previously led a panel discussion for SHOWstudio on the designer's influence explains, ‘Joe Casley-Hayford’s legacy is huge for any design community and the scholarship award continues his work in cultivating and supporting young talent. Joe was a believer in opportunity and societal progress — celebrating future generations in an appropriate way to mark his unique contribution to fashion’.

This year’s Fashion Awards takes place on 4 December at The Royal Albert Hall.



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