In 2019 the British Fashion Council continues to focus on its Positive Fashion initiative, a platform designed to celebrate industry best practice and encourage future business decisions to create positive change.
Positive Fashion is led by 3 strategic pillars -
Ethics – Focuses on social, environmental and business governance to drive a more sustainable fashion future. Positive Fashion champions the long term sustainability of the fashion sector which contributes £32.3 Billion to the UK economy in GDP and supports 890,000 jobs. Through the power of collective influence, our Positive Fashion committee of global brands, designer businesses and industry stakeholders gather thought leadership and drive change through best practice.
EQUALITY & DIVERSITY
People – Represents the people, from the product makers to the staff, students and models who pioneer our brands. The BFC takes the lead in setting the standards for an industry that strives to represent equality and diversity on the global stage. Championing the importance of every person in the sector as a vital and valuable part of our industry entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.
CRAFTSMANSHIP & COMMUNITY
Community – Supports the community of talent, skills and craftsmanship that make up our unique industry. Our initiatives are designed to develop connections and understanding between designers and manufacturers taking a holistic approach to the long term viability of the sector. We celebrate the wealth of talent and capability that is unique to British designer businesses.
The below timeline outlines the BFC’s Positive Fashion projects to date -
BFC X BBC EARTH X MOTHER OF PEARL POSITIVE FASHION PROJECT #SUSTAINABLEME
The British Fashion Council are delighted to be working with BBC Earth, the team behind the hugely influential Blue Planet series, in a partnership to discuss Positive Fashion. In the first event of its kind, this collaboration brings together the global reach of the BBC and the influence of fashion through a BBC Earth x British Fashion Council x Mother of Pearl talks series with industry visionaries and thought leaders at London Fashion Week.
The focus of the talks will be centered on the impact the fashion industry has on the planet while highlighting the positive tangible opportunity for sustainable fashion choices and mindful consumer behaviour. #SustainableMe
LONDON FASHION WEEK FEBRUARY 2019 FUR FREE
February 2019 will mark the second London Fashion Week that the catwalks and designer showrooms at the event will be fur free. The BFC survey around use of fur continues to reflect what is seen as a cultural change with more designer businesses and international brands choosing not to show fur as part of their collections and increasingly more moving to being completely fur free businesses.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II AWARD FOR BRITISH DESIGN AT LFW
On Tuesday 19th February, the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design will be presented to Bethany Williams by the Duchess of Cornwall. The Award recognises creativity in design while embedding sustainability and community practices within the business.
MODEL ZONE AT LONDON FASHION WEEK & LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN’S
Every season the BFC hosts The Model Zone, which is advertised backstage at every show both at LFW and LFWM. It is space for models to eat, drink and relax and its location is not publicly advertised, so that it remains a safe space away from the main event. Therapists are also available for treatments daily. The BFC also operates a confidential model helpline number each season.
#LONDONISOPEN CAMPAIGN AT LFW
The BFC supports the Mayor of London’s campaign, #LondonIsOpen which highlights the diversity and inclusivity of the city and encourages inclusiveness at a time of uncertainty in the UK. The
#LondonIsOpen campaign aims to spread the message that our greatest strengths as a city lie in diversity and the commitment is that this remains in a post-Brexit world, across industries and nationalities.
Focused on Europeans in London The Mayor has launched an EU Londoners Hub – acting as a resource to help London’s European citizens access the information they need to stay in the UK after Brexit.
EU Londoners Hub - www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/representing-london-brexit-talks/eu-londoners-hub
FASHION SWITCH TO GREEN
In February 2019 20 brands and businesses have committed to the British Fashion Council and Vivienne Westwood Fashion SWITCH To Green Campaign. The project is designed to bring the fashion industry together to lead in ambitious climate action, for a safer and greener future. As part of our Positive Fashion initiative, the campaign asks industry leaders to commit to SWITCH to a green energy supplier by 2020, with the aim of having all London based designers and retailers in the fashion sector SWITCH to Green, by 2020. The year 2020 significant, tying the campaign to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Current SWITCH to Green campaign efforts amount to an estimated 355 million kilowatt hours sourced from green energy and the equivalent of 125K tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided.
For more information: www.britishfashioncouncil.co.uk/About/Positive-Fashion/Fashion-SWITCH-to-Green
COLLEGES COUNCIL SUSTAINABILITY SEMINAR
As part of Positive Fashion, the BFC Colleges Council conducted a Sustainability Seminar bringing together designers, activists and industry professionals to discuss the intricacies of sustainability to help students inform their practice at university and beyond.
Panellists included Orsola de Castro, Creative Director of Fashion Revolution, Dr Carmen Hijosa, Founder and Chief Creative and Innovation Officer of Pinatex, Tamsin Lejeune, CEO of Common Objective, Patrick Grant, Director of E Tautz & Community Clothing and Laura Balmond, Project Manager for the Make Fashion Circular Initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
SWAROVSKI AWARD FOR POSITIVE CHANGE AT THE FASHION AWARDS PRESENTED TO DAME VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
The Positive Change Award, sponsored by Swarovski celebrates an individual who has made a positive impact on society, the environment or both, and forms part of Swarovski’s efforts to promote a more sustainable future for us all. The recipients acknowledge the challenges our world faces and actively seek to address them using their resources to achieve change and positive impact.
Dame Vivienne Westwood was honoured with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change at The Fashion Awards 2018 on Monday 10 December 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall in London for her incredible contribution to the fashion industry and her continued work to promote and engage with the industry positively in making a global change for the benefit of the environment.
LETTER TO ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT COMMITTEE
The British Fashion Council wrote to Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Mary Creagh MP on Sustainability of the Fashion Industry and the work the BFC has done in the sustainability space since its inception.
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT #BEHINDEVERYGREATCITY CAMPAIGN
In September 2018 the BFC partnered with the Mayor of London on his #BehindEveryGreatCity women’s campaign for 2018, which aligns to our Positive Fashion messaging around female empowerment and equality. The campaign supported the centenary of the female vote and the year-long campaign is designed to highlight London’s role in the history of the women’s equality movement, celebrating significant milestones and achievements. The campaign aimed to unite people from across London’s leading industries – including food, fashion, theatre, advertising, politics and public life – to support the ongoing success of women and shift the dial towards gender equality in the capital.
A pivotal moment in the campaign’s calendar was September so to align with London Fashion Week the BFC secured window take overs of the campaign with Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
LONDON FASHION WEEK SEPTEMBER 2018 FUR FREE
Following a survey conducted with all London Fashion Week designers on the official catwalk and presentation schedule, no animal fur was used at London Fashion Week September 2018. As representatives of the British fashion industry, the BFC supports the creativity of designers and keeps an open dialogue with the industry, from designers to media, retailers, business leaders, government and global brands while encouraging designers to make ethical choices when it comes to their selection of materials and supply chain.
The BFC survey results reflect a cultural change based on ideals and choices made by designer businesses, international brands as well as consumer sentiment but also encouraged by the stance of multi-brand stores who are moving away from selling fur.
TIER 1 EXCEPTIONAL TALENT VISAS
The British Fashion Council announced in July that it had been working with Arts Council England (ACE), in partnership with the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to expand and promote the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa to fashion industry applicants, which took effect on 6th July 2018.
The BFC will be an Independent Assessor for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa applications in the fashion industry, to secure a new route for exceptionally talented designers and fashion sector individuals to work in the UK. The number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas that the government is willing to approve was increased in November 2017 from 1000 to 2000 which has created significant opportunity for the fashion industry in the UK to attract and retain key designers, talent and creatives.
BFC JOINS THE DEFRA COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush joined the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs Council for Sustainable Business, Chaired by John Vincent. Information shared at the Council relating to waste and single use plastics will be shared at the 2019 BFC Positive Fashion Forum as part of tackling single use plastics and waste in the industry.
DIGITISATION OF LONDON FASHION WEEK & LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN’S
In June 2018, the BFC moved to a digital registration system at London Fashion Week Men’s and for future London Fashion Week events by introducing digital passes, reducing paper and plastic waste from all future events.
BFC COLLEGES COUNCIL - BEST PRACTICE FOR INDUSTRY
The BFC Colleges Council is a membership programme representing the leading fashion departments in universities and colleges throughout the UK. The BFC Colleges Council hosts a series of events and competitions throughout the academic year to offer students and course leaders the opportunity to interact with the industry, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the process.
The BFC is committed to helping create an industry that drives forward best practice behaviours and supports an inclusive, diverse and sustainable fashion industry. As such, the BFC has developed a ‘Best Practice Guide for Interns’ and a ‘Student Placement Learning Agreement’ with members of the BFC Colleges Council and Sheridans’ legal counsel.
PRINCE CHARLES – SUSTAINABILITY DESIGNER SEMINAR
In May 2018, the BFC invited HRH the Prince of Wales, a long advocate for environmentalism, to meet with British designers and businesses who are committed to sustainability and championing positive change to discuss their work and thoughts on how the industry can improve its impact on the environment. His Royal Highness spent time in the company of businesses such as Bethany Williams, Mother of Pearl and Teatum Jones discussing material innovation, the circular economy, craftsmanship and community.
Earlier in the day, The Prince of Wales was joined by The Duchess of Cornwall at a visit to the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s Tech Hub where they were met by CEO Federico Marchetti and BFC CEO, Caroline Rush. There, the Royal guests saw some of the tech advancements as well YNAP’s commitment to the next generation of technology pioneers; joining a coding class alongside more than 60 local schoolgirls participating in a hackathon as part of a partnership with Imperial College London.
DAVID BECKHAM OBE – REACHING YOUNG TALENT FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS
David Beckham OBE was appointed as the BFC Ambassadorial President. The global role has an initial two-year tenure and will support the organisation in its goal to build networks and partnerships in the United States and Asia.
In addition to promoting ongoing innovation in the sector, a key focus of the role will be supporting the BFC across their Education pillar – helping them to reach young talent from all backgrounds across the UK - through BFC run Saturday Clubs, scholarships and apprenticeships and via increased engagement in arts education.
So far in his new role, David has visited Manchester Metropolitan University to meet students, graduates and lecturers. This included presentations from BFC Education Foundation scholarship alumni, local community projects and Fashion & Business Saturday Club members. During London Fashion Week Men’s June 2018, David and Dylan Jones, BFC Menswear Chair hosted a breakfast to celebrate new creative talent and NEWGEN.
BFC SUSTAINABILITY ROUNDTABLE AT LONDON CRAFT WEEK
The British Fashion Council hosted a panel discussion on sustainability at London Craft Week. As part of Positive Fashion ‘Crafting Fashion through a Sustainable Lens’ was chaired by Frances Corner in discussion with fashion designers Christopher Raeburn, Bethany Williams and founder of The Sustainable Angle, Nina Marenzi.
POSITIVE FASHION ROUNDTABLE AT BRITISH EMBASSY PARIS
Kering and the British Fashion Council hosted a Positive Fashion Roundtable Event at the British Embassy in Paris during Paris Fashion Week. Britain’s ambassador to France Edward Llewellyn opened his residence to the fashion industry to discuss sustainability in a roundtable setting featuring Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, Claire Bergkamp, who heads sustainability and ethical trade for Stella McCartney, Frances Corner of the London College of Fashion and Tamsin Lejeune of the Ethical Fashion Forum, moderated by Godfrey Deeny, editor in chief of Fashionnetwork.com.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II AWARD FOR BRITISH DESIGN
Her Majesty The Queen presented the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to emerging British fashion designer Richard Quinn at London Fashion Week in February 2018. The Award, initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy, will be awarded annually, presented by a senior member of the Royal Family, to an emerging British fashion designer of womenswear, menswear, or accessories that shows exceptional talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies.
Richard Quinn is a leading emerging fashion talent in the UK, recognised for his exceptional prints and has already been marked for success as part of the BFC’s NEWGEN talent identification and support scheme. Already selling to leading stores around the world, his ethos of collaboration goes beyond his design business which has seen collaborations with global stores such as Lane Crawford and MatchesFashion, into creating a print studio, offering high quality, price accessible services to students, his peer group of emerging designers and more recently offering sampling services to more established businesses.
The idea of the Award was raised by Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Ms Angela Kelly, who has orchestrated The Queen’s wardrobe for over 26 years. Following Her Majesty's 90th birthday celebrations, it was agreed that an Award would be created to recognise emerging British Fashion Talent in the name of Queen Elizabeth II, to provide a legacy of support for the industry in recognition the role fashion has played throughout The Queen's Reign and continues to play in diplomacy, culture and communications. Each year a designer will be selected by the BFC, in collaboration with the Royal Household, to be recognised by this Award.
COMMONWEALTH FASHION EXCHANGE EVENT AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange event hosted at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week showcased the wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across the commonwealth’s 53 countries. The project launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age was a major new initiative that promotes new networks, trade links and lasting sustainable supply chains. The project was developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and matchesfashion.com
KERING & LCF LAUNCH THE WORLD’S FIRST OPEN-ACCESS DIGITAL COURSE IN SUSTAINABLE LUXURY FASHION AT LFW
Kering and London College of Fashion, UAL (LCF) launched the world’s first open-access digital course in luxury fashion and sustainability at London Fashion Week. Entitled “Fashion & Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World”, the course aims to strengthen sustainability education in the luxury and fashion realms in order to promote the wider adoption of more sustainable practices.
Co-developed by LCF academics and Kering sustainability experts, the course is built on six key modules including: Why Sustainability Matters in Fashion, Contextualising Sustainability for a Changing World, Sustainable Sourcing for Luxury Fashion, and Informed Decision-Making. Through a mix of films, podcasts, activities and discussions, the course covers both the theoretical aspects of sustainability as well as real-life business cases that luxury fashion brands face when integrating sustainability. Over a six-week period, spanning a total of 18 teaching hours, learners will have the possibility to complete the course at their leisure via the mobile, tablet and desktop-friendly platform.
MODELS FIRST INITIATIVE
In December 2017 we announced a new Models First initiative that sees the British Fashion Council working alongside the newly formed British Fashion Model Agency Association, with the aim of setting best practice for the modelling industry and lobbying to remove barriers for models and talented individuals to work in the UK.
The British Fashion Model Agency Association (BFMAA) aims to unite the UK modelling industry to face and tackle industry challenges and recognise legitimate model agencies that sign-up to a code of Best Practice. The Models First Initiative, is chaired by the BFC and will form an independent committee comprising leading individuals from the fashion industry to develop a charter that will protect and give a voice to models. To reach someone at the BFC to discuss the Models First Initiative please call 020 7759 1996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BFC is also an independent, confidential contact point for models and model agencies, students and industry to flag poor practice and report abuse through the Model Zone. More information can be found here - www.britishfashioncouncil.co.uk/About/Positive-Fashion/Model-Programme
SWAROVSKI AWARD FOR POSITIVE CHANGE AWARDED TO MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI AT THE FASHION AWARDS
The Positive Change Award, sponsored by Swarovski celebrates an individual who has made a positive impact on society, the environment or both, and forms part of Swarovski’s efforts to promote a more sustainable future for us all. The recipients acknowledge the challenges our world faces and actively seek to address them using their resources to achieve change and positive impact. Maria Grazia Chiuri received the Swarovski Award for Positive Change at The Fashion Awards on Monday 4th December 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall in London for her contribution to women’s empowerment in the fashion industry.
As the first female Creative Director in Dior’s history, Maria Grazia Chiuri has, since her appointment in July 2016, created a new chapter for the French luxury house and brought the debate around female empowerment to the fashion runway. Her collections connect fashion to feminism, always responding to the current political climate. Chiuri’s use of Linda Nochlin’s battle-cry essay Why have there been no great women artists? and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists essay and TEDx talk at the Dior shows has truly reverberated around the world, and placed fashion directly within the wider discussions around women’s equality, inspiring many other designers to follow her lead.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD FOR INNOVATION PRESENTED TO STELLA McCARTNEY AT THE FASHION AWARDS
The Fashion Awards 2017 in partnership with Swarovski awarded Stella McCartney OBE with a Special Recognition Award for Innovation, celebrating her outstanding contribution to the fashion industry. McCartney was honoured on Monday 4 December 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall for her commitment to sustainable fashion, material innovation and for utilising her influence to create a positive environmental impact on the industry. Her constant investment as a responsible, authentic and modern business is what makes her one of the industry’s most respected designers.
ADWOA ABOAH APPOINTED BFC POSITIVE FASHION AMBASSADOR
In September 2017 the BFC announced the appointment of Adwoa Aboah as their Positive Fashion Ambassador for Model Health and Diversity, in a role designed to help the BFC lead the charge on change and use fashion as a positive platform to inspire future generations.
FASHION SWITCH TO GREEN CAMPAIGN
In September 2017 The British Fashion Council, Dame Vivienne Westwood and the Mayor joined forces in a campaign to bring the fashion industry together to lead in ambitious climate action, for a safer and greener future. Fashion SWITCH to Green asked fashion businesses to commit to SWITCH offices and stores to a green electricity supplier or to a green energy tariff by 2020. The year 2020 significant, tying the campaign to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; whose goal it is to prevent what scientists regard as dangerous and irreversible levels of climate change. 20 brands are committed to the campaign with further brands continuing to be approached.
HIGH-END & DESIGNER MANUFACTURERS DATABASE
Many British designers manufacture in the UK. There are brilliant, highly skilled units throughout the UK, with a concentration in and around London. It is essential that we continue to work closely with manufacturers and help promote their services as they are a key part of the talent eco-system in the UK.
In March 2017 the BFC launched the High-End and Designer Manufacturers Database, a national database of UK manufacturers, which aims to make it easier for designers to gain ethical supply chain certificates and facilitate successful relationships between designers and production units.
The initiative was a direct recommendation from the Manufacturing Report, published in 2015, undertaken by Oxford Economics (OE) and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to resolve challenges faced by designers in finding the right production partners in the UK and the concerns around the long-term viability of existing units.
The British Fashion Council would like to thank Positive Fashion lead partner (2013-2016) M&S for their commitment to our initiative and their passion for developing and celebrating best practice in our industry.
In May 2016 in line with its aim to focus on best practice the Positive Fashion Committee partnered with the ‘Make it British – Meet the Manufacturer’ trade fair to host an event where a panel discussion between key industry figures, designers and manufacturers focused on helping designers to engage manufacturers in a way which secures the best results for all parties.
Positive Fashion’s first focus was on the challenges around High-End Designer Manufacturing in the UK. In March 2015 the BFC and a smaller working group comprising of M&S, UKFT, Creative Skillset, The Alliance Project and Centre for Fashion Enterprise worked alongside independent specialists in the sector to launch the High-end and Designer Manufacturing Report. The research was undertaken by Oxford Economics (OE) and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to resolve challenges faced by designers in finding the right production partners in the UK and the concerns around the long-term viability of existing units.
Download the full Manufacuturing Report
A High-End Manufacturing Steering Committee continues to drive this work forward, with initial mapping of units and resourcing underway with access to audits to assist in assessing and developing standards.
A Positive Change Committee of BFC patrons, brands and advisors was created to support the development of the Positive Fashion strategy and advise on implementation of its three key pillars: Compliance (awareness of legislation and forthcoming legislation), Corporate Social Responsibility best practice guides) and Consumer (consumer engagement).
Download the full Positive Fashion Report
In 2013, the BFC executive board set the challenge to develop the organisation’s ethical and sustainable agenda. Meeting the board’s remit, a new stream of work called Positive Fashion was launched, supported by lead partner M&S, putting a broader focus on celebrating and encouraging Best Practice in the sector.
2006 - 2013
In 2006 the British Fashion Council launched Estethica, a pioneering scheme to put sustainable fashion at the heart of the mainstream industry by creating a showcase within London Fashion Week. Co-founders of Estethica, Orsola de Castro, Filippo Ricca and Anna Orsini, helped develop the strategy to pave the way for sustainable fashion business to be celebrated, whilst promoting an agenda of addressing waste, organic materials and fairtrade. The mentoring support provided through this scheme assisted new businesses to develop their sustainable agenda whilst developing commercially successful businesses. Christopher Raeburn is the most successful designer to come through Estethica, showing at both London Fashion Week and London Collections Men, part of NEWGEN supported by Topshop in the early years and shortlisted for the BFC/GQ Menswear Fund prize. In 2014, it was agreed that Orsola, Filiippo and Anna would independently continue the great work of Estethica, which would continue to be recognised by the BFC as they develop it into its next phase.
The British Fashion Council would like to thank those who have already contributed to its Positive Fashion Strategy since its inception -
Adam Kelly, Fenwick Limited
Alba Damico, Yoox Net a Porter
Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl
Anna Orsini, Estethica
Annette Cremin, Selfridges
Belinda Earl, Marks & Spencer
Brigitte Stepputtis, Vivienne Westwood
Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council
Catarina Midby, H&M
Christopher Raeburn, Raeburn
Centre for Fashion Enterprise
Christopher Moore and Glasgow Caledonian University
Dana Gers, Jimmy Choo
Daniella Vega, Selfridges
Dax Lovegrove, Swarovski
Diana Verde Nieto, Positive Luxury
Ian Lane, UAL
Emma Byrne, Harvey Nichols
Eoghan Griffin, John Lewis Partnership
Eva Von Alvensleben, Kering
Filippo Ricca, Estethica
Frances Corner, London College of Fashion & The Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Jessi Baker, Provenance
Juliet Warkentin, Amazon Fashion
Krishan Hundal, Marks & Spencer
Laura McCuaig, Vivienne Westwood
M&S, Lead Positive Fashion Partner (2013-2016)
Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution
Paula Nickolds, John Lewis Partnership
Roberto Canevari, Burberry
Shadi Halliwell, Harvey Nichols
Simon Colbeck, Sicol Consulting
Sophie Matthews, British Fashion Council
Stephen Sunnucks, Gap
Tamsin Lejeune, Common Objective
Tania Littlehales, Marks & Spencer
The Alliance Project
Vanessa Podmore, Podmore Consulting