Some awards were given to groups instead of individuals—another way the Council is trying to reform the industry’s problematic issues around exclusion. A filmed introduction by Jane Goodall spotlit the women designers taking on environmental responsibility in fashion: Priya Ahluwalia, Gabriela Hearst, Bethany Williams, Phoebe English, and Stella McCartney. There was recognition for 50 international New Wave Young Creatives, and a joint accolade to Edward Enninful, Kenya Hunt, Telfar Clemens, Samuel Ross, and Harris Reed for “those who have led change by encouraging equal, diverse, and empowered workforces.”
All this came under the evening’s banner of presenting the industry as a positive cultural and societal force, less about awarding a competition of fashion styles than of an openness to all. Signs of the international youth-centered times were flagged by TikTok’s omnipresent event sponsorship and a new Metaverse Design award.
In the end, the ceremony is a fundraiser; sponsorships and table sales go to scholarships for students and support for emerging talent. Chanel and Christian Dior have also stepped up to fund BFC scholars.
British fashion education feeds the future of the global fashion industry, and to continue to be inclusive that means supporting talented people who cannot afford the fees. That fact ended up proven tonight by the celebration of the 20-year contribution of Lulu Kennedy’s non-profit Fashion East runway incubator, London’s first stop for aspiring fashion graduates.
Kim Jones came from there. So did Simone Rocha, who was honored with the British Independent Designer award, in her 10th year in business. And so did Nensi Dojaka, the youngest rising star of the night, who picked up her second major fashion award of the year. Her first came in the summer, when she won the LVMH Prize. One of the creative directors on the LVMH jury who presented her with that prize was Virgil Abloh. His influence is everywhere.
See the full list of award winners here.