Established in 2013, the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund provides a British-based menswear designer with financial support of £150,000 and access to high-level business mentoring and professional services. This year for the first time, the Fund is supported by leading Chinese company JD.com, Inc. as part of a two-year sponsorship deal.
Each year, a judging panel of industry experts selects and shortlists up to eight businesses for interview based on their contribution to the creative reputation of the British fashion industry; commercial achievements to date; and their five-year plan which should include infrastructure and employment opportunities to support growth.
The shortlisted designers for the 2019 fund include A-COLD-WALL*, COTTWEILER, Edward Crutchley, Liam Hodges and WALES BONNER.
The shortlisted designers take part in a mentoring programme that provides them with access to mentors from global fashion brands; opportunities to meet with media; advice on range planning; and help with dissecting their respective business plans to maximise the opportunity for global growth.
After the mentoring period, the shortlisted designers re-present their business plans and showcase their most recent collection to a panel of judges. The winning designer must demonstrate a clear vision for their business and how The Fund will contribute to their growth with a focus on creating a global brand.
Since its inception, winners of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund include Craig Green (2016), E Tautz (2015) and Christopher Shannon (2014).