The British Fashion Council has announced London-based fashion designer Bethany Williams as the 2021 winner of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.
Williams wins a cash prize of 200,000 pounds, alongside bespoke mentoring to help take her business to the “next level”.
Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, European editorial director of Vogue, and chair of the Fund Committee, said in a statement: “Congratulations to Bethany Williams for receiving the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund for 2021. Bethany is an extraordinary talent who brings a depth to her process that is nothing short of inspirational.
“On top of her substantial gifts as a designer, she has rethought the way her collections are made, working with women who are homeless or in prison, among others, using her business to bring training and support. She really is a marvel.”
Williams was shortlisted for the 2021 prize alongside Alighieri, Asai, Chopova Lowena, Completedworks, E.L.V. Denim, Halpern, Kwaidan Editions, Olubiyi Thomas, Richard Malone and Supriya Lele, all of which will also receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s business support team.
BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announces 2021 winner as Bethany Williams
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, added: “Bethany’s brand is a real example of a sustainable and conscious business, and as a designer, she is constantly finding new innovative design solutions to sustainability.
“All shortlisted designers deserved the prize, but the judging panel was particularly impressed by Bethany’s exceptional talent for using recycled deadstock and organic materials made in the UK and her ways of collaborating with communities and charities, aiming to shape the industry towards thinking more ethically. I cannot wait to see her business grow even more.”
The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund was established in 2008 to celebrate “exceptional talent and to empower the designers to play their part in positive growth”.
Previous winners include Wales Bonner, Molly Goddard, Mother of Pearl and Palmer//Harding, Sophia Webster, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Nicholas Kirkwood, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane and Erdem.
The Fund is part of the British Foundation, which brings all the BFC’s charitable infinitives under one umbrella, and receives the support of British Vogue, Burberry, Clearpay and Paul Smith.
The 2020 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund cash prize was split across the six shortlisted brands for the very first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These were Alighieri, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, David Koma, Halpern, Métier and Rejina Pyo.