Today, the British Fashion Council (BFC) announces that following a survey conducted with all London Fashion Week designers on the official catwalk and presentation schedule, no animal fur will be 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.
The survey is part of the BFC’S Positive Fashion initiative, a platform designed to celebrate industry best practice and encourage future business decisions to create further positive change. As an organisation whose aim is to champion British talent, the BFC is committed to educating designers but also to advocate the work of those who create positive change within the industry. The BFC applauds the work of businesses such as Common Objective and Provenance whose aim is to educate and support the fashion industry do business better and also Burberry’s decision to cease destruction of unsaleable goods, proving the brand’s commitment to help tackle the causes of waste as part of its five-year Responsibility Agenda.
Positive Fashion is led by three strategic pillars; Sustainability, Equality & Diversity and Craftsmanship & Community. So far in 2018 the BFC has achieved the following milestones within these pillars.
The Sustainability Pillar 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 significantly to the British economy. Through the power of collective influence, the BFC’s Positive Fashion committee of global brands, designer businesses and industry stakeholders gather thought leadership and drive initiatives to support best practice and an approved code of ethics to create positive change.
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.
DIGITAL CHANGES AT LONDON FASHION WEEK AND 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.
2. EQUALITY & DIVERSITY
The second pillar 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 and champions 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.
MODELS FIRST INITIATIVE
Launched in 2017, The Models First Initiative aims to help set best practice for the modelling industry and lobby to remove barriers for models to work in the UK, with a focus on visa regulation and Brexit.
The British Fashion Model Agency Association (BFMAA) was established by leading model agencies in the UK to recognise legitimate model agencies that sign-up to a code of Best Practice and works with the BFC to promote best practice to both working models and the public to help them navigate unacceptable working practices in the industry. The BFC takes a secretariat role in the BFMAA and chairs an independent committee comprising leading individuals from the fashion industry to develop a charter that protects and gives a voice to models.
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.
In February 2018 Adwoa Aboah, BFC Positive Fashion Ambassador announced the BFC’s intention to become the most diverse Fashion Week. London Fashion week is currently second in the world for the most diverse runway shows. In February 2018 for the third season running, London’s runways were the second most racially diverse with 34.6% of castings representing models of color, a 3.6point increase over Spring 2018 and a 6.2point increase over Fall 2017’s 28.4%.
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.
TIER 1 EXCEPTIONAL TALENT VISAS
The BFC 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 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.
3. CRAFTSMANSHIP & COMMUNITY
The third pillar 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.
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.
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.