Fresh from their announcement that the newly renamed Fashion Awards (formerly the British Fashion Awards) this year will raise funds for their Education Foundation to foster emerging designers, the British Fashion Council have expanded upon their plans today. Dame Natalie Massenet – the founder of Net A Porter – has pledged that the goal for the BFC over the next decade is to raise £10million to invest in young talent studying in London. This will then be, in part, put towards an an annual Graduate Preview Day: an opportunity for industry professionals to view the talent emerging from the UK’s top fashion colleges.
Last Friday, the winners at this year’s Graduate Preview Day were announced, and included Rhys McKenna from the Edinburgh School of Art (who won the Burberry Design Compeitition) as well as Eppyar Hunt from the Manchester Metropolitan University – whose garments will be be sold by Jigsaw as part of their AW16 collection.
Not only that, the BFC are also supporting a group of fashion employers to develop a fashion studio assistant apprenticeship in collaboration with the University of the Arts London – the body who will create and award the qualification. This will be good news to anyone interested in the non-design side of fashion, as the apprenticeship scheme will offer career paths through other areas in the industry, ultimately contributing to all levels of fashion business. Beginning in October, the scheme will encompass a foundational core and then a full year in a focused area. If that sounds tempting, wait till you hear that partners will include such prestigious names as Jasper Conran, Mario Schwab, and Mary Katrantzou.
It’s a visionary move from the BFC, who are keenly aware that more conventional educational pathways aren’t necessarily desirable for everybody. Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the BFC, explained: “…institutionalised education and specific design courses are not for everyone. We are so pleased to announce a new apprenticeship programme that will help young people to learn about all areas of the fashion industry and also the Saturday Clubs which will provide even younger people the opportunity to learn about the fashion industry.”