At the heart of the BFC strategy to support excellence in design education sits the BFC Colleges Council. Founded in 1993 to create an interface between education and industry, the BFC Colleges Council is a membership programme representing the leading fashion departments in universities across the UK.
The aim is to connect an extensive network of experienced course leaders with the fashion and wider creative industries together in support of arts and fashion education.
The BFC organises an annual Colleges Council programme of events and competitions to offer students and course leaders the chance to interact with the industry, enriching education and creating opportunities. Learn more about the BFC Colleges Council here.
To ensure the growth and success of the British fashion industry, while supporting future talent, the BFC aims to attract, develop and retain innovation by:
- Informing young people about the breadth of opportunities and careers available in the fashion industry.
- Inspiring young people from diverse backgrounds through the nationwide Fashion&Business Saturday Club programme.
- Organising industry-focused events and competitions for the BFC Colleges Council.
- Enabling talented individuals to pursue higher education through scholarship programmes funded by the BFC Foundation.
BFC COLLEGES COUNCIL STEERING COMMITTEE
The BFC has a number of committees advising on briefings and industry-led work-streams, including the BFC Colleges Council Steering Committee, which provides strategic direction to the Colleges Council programme.
- Andrew Groves, Professor of Fashion Design, University of Westminster
- Benita Odogwu-Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, University of the Creative Arts Rochester
- Geertje Dreijerink, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Sportswear Design, Falmouth University
- Hywel Davies, Programme Director, Fashion, Central Saint Martins
- Jo Jenkinson, Reader & Deputy Head, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Keith Gray, Lecturer and Visiting Lecturer, Gray's School of Art and Glasgow School of Art
- Mal Burkinshaw, Head of the School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art
- Ruth Jacob, Acting Course Leader MA Global Fashion Retailing, London College of Fashion
BFC FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS
Committed to supporting excellence in design, the British Fashion Council Foundation works to underpin the next generation of creative talent through its education initiatives. At this time the support of upcoming talent establishing pathways through education is more critical than ever.
The BFC looks to guide and nurture students during their studies, with the aim to amplify, diversify and support a new wave of fashion creatives.
The BFC Foundation offers financial support to students to complete their studies. Scholarships are open to those undertaking an MA or BA Fashion Design course at a BFC Colleges Council member university. Non-UK students are eligible to apply for this scholarship in the case of exceptional personal circumstances, such as hardship as a result of conflict and/or economic upheaval in their home country, or familial disownment/estrangement or challenges. Interested students should apply to the British Fashion Council directly.
In 2022/23 BFC Scholarships were awarded to 30 students from BFC Colleges Council member universities including Manchester Fashion Institute, Central Saint Martins, Birmingham City University, University for the Creative Arts Rochester, London College of Fashion, Birmingham City University, Royal College of Art.
BFC Scholarship alumni include Benny Andallo, Erdem, Graeme Raeburn, James Buck of Rottingdean Bazaar, Matty Bovan, Nabil Nayal, Rebecca Jeffs (RTW designer at Loewe), Paolo Carzana, Paolina Russo and Patrick McDowell.
With many thanks to Chanel and Dior Men for their named Scholarships.
Applications for 2023/24 are now closed.
Competitions are organised throughout the academic year to offer course leaders and students the opportunity to interact with the industry, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the process, as well as cash prizes for the winner/s and sometimes paid internship opportunities.
Examples from industry partners past and present are: Givenchy, Burberry, Stella McCartney, ICEBERG, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Phoebe English, MTV, Pinatex, NET-A-PORTER, British Library, NETFLIX, Supriya Lele.
In 2022/23, competitions offered to BFC Colleges Council included:
BFC x British Library x Supriya Lele Research Competition
This year saw designer Supriya Lele set up a brief for the students to challenge them to tell a ‘fashion story’ through implementation of personal culture and heritage, looking at ways to recontextualise findings from the British Library’s collections in a contemporary way. Mihai Popescu (Middlesex University) was announced as the winner of the British Library x Supriya Lele Research Competition, receiving a £3,000 cash prize. Rebecca Wong (Kingston University) was awarded the British Library Staff vote for outstanding portfolio.
BFC Student Fabric Initiative Competition
The competition aimed to inspire new talent at BA and MA level to think creatively about deadstock and circularity, by using the donations that BFC Colleges Council received as part of the BFC Student Fabric Initiative powered by The Materialist and donated by British luxury fashion houses. Anna Kalifatidou (Bath Spa University), was announced as the winner of the competition, and received a £2,000 cash prize, 12 months’ access to Bloomsbury Fashion Central + 3 Print Books offered by Bloomsbury Publishing, and a mentoring programme with Francois Souchet, Global Head of Sustainability and Impact Consulting at ModusBPCM.
BFC x NET-A-PORTER Vanguard Education Fund
The Vanguard Education Fund sees NET-A-PORTER engage with UK universities within the BFC Colleges Council, alongside selected international universities. Aimed at helping shape the future of the fashion industry, applications were open to BA final-year students across multidisciplinary courses. Four winners were selected to receive £12,500 each to help them as they begin their careers, and will be paired with mentors who complement their individual ambitions. Christopher De La Cruz, Izzy McKinlay, TJ Finley and Tahar Al-Shekhly (Central Saint Martins) were announced as the winners of this year’s Vanguard Education Fund.
If you’d like to find out more or discuss an idea for a competition, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENTS AND ACTIVATIONS
The BFC Colleges Council programme runs a series of online and physical events for member universities.
In 2022/23 this included ‘Meet the Industry’ webinars, featuring conversations between designer Bianca Saunders and consultant Mimma Viglezio, and between JORDANLUCA’s designers Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto and editor Eric Brain, as well as ‘Fashion Industry Updates’ on employment in the fashion industry and on digital fashion, Web3 and the Metaverse.
Additionally, 100 students from BFC Colleges Council had the opportunity to attend the JW ANDERSON show during London Fashion Week February 2023, and BFC Scholars were invited to a special visit of the Africa Fashion Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London, which included an introductory seminar hosted by Dr Christine Checinska (Senior Curator, Africa and Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion).
Each London Fashion Week, BFC Colleges Council members also have the opportunity to apply for a slot on the LFW schedule (show fees apply) or be part of the LFW digital platform on the Explore page.
In June 2023, 14 BFC Colleges Council member universities were spotlighted alongside 10 graduating BFC MA Scholars, as part of Graduate Preview Day.
STUDENT FABRIC INITIATIVE
For the first time this year, the BFC launched a Student Competition in conjunction with the Student Fabric Initiative powered by The Materialist, the BFC deadstock donation project created to encourage the donation of quality fabrics and components to students studying at BFC Colleges Council member universities.
The competition aimed to inspire new talent at BA and MA level to think creatively about deadstock and circularity. Candidates were asked to submit a design proposal that could be fully realised and potentially showcased at the IPF Forum 2023.
In total, 8 finalists were selected to exhibit their creations, from universities including Bath Spa University, Birmingham City University, Manchester Fashion Institute, Ravensbourne University London and Royal College of Art. Industry guests attending the IPF Forum had the opportunity to vote for their favourite look.
Discover the work of the 8 finalists here.
Graduate Preview Day (GPD) is a showcase of the best emerging talent underpinning the creative future of the fashion industry. A curated selection of universities from the BFC Colleges Council is awarded this opportunity every year, which includes a physical and digital activation.
Hosted at 180 Studios in London, this year’s physical event took place on 9th June in conjunction with the London Fashion Week Opening breakfast. GPD brought together fashion recruiters, buyers, designers, educators and creatives, exposing students' work to the wider fashion industry. Attendees also had the chance to discover graduating BFC Foundation MA Scholars, who exhibited one look each from their final year collections.
Alongside the physical event, Graduate Preview 2023 is also reflected on the digital platform, which will feature graduate portfolios from the same universities, giving industry and recruiters the opportunity to view work online and engage with course leaders and tutors directly.
Visit the Graduate Preview Portal here.
NATIONAL SATURDAY CLUB
The BFC is a long-term partner of the National Saturday Club (NSC). The NSC offers a free, year-long creative education programme of weekly Saturday classes and national events for 13-16 year-olds from diverse backgrounds across the country, with a particular focus on widening participation. Since 2009, the National Saturday Club has enabled 9,500 13-16 year-olds to study many disciplines at their local university, college or cultural institution on Saturday mornings, creating life-changing experiences for those who have taken part. Watch a short film about NSC and visit the website to learn more.
As part of this partnership, the BFC organises an industry Masterclass for each of the Fashion&Business Clubs. Masterclasses provide a chance for young people to take part in a one-off session led by industry experts and offer an insight into the fashion industry, spotlighting the various career opportunities available with a joyful and experimental activity during the session. Learn more on the Fashion&Business Satuardy Club supported by the BFC here.
The 2022/23 programme of masterclasses included sessions with Alexander McQueen, Manolo Blahnik, DAZED, ELV Denim, Richard Malone. Past masterclasses were hosted by GQ, Royal Opera House, Nike, ASOS, WGSN, Butler Archive, i-D Magazine, Rottingdean Bazaar, Apple, and Helen Kirkum.