‘Marvel’ Bethany Williams wins 2021 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award
Bethany Williams is a star in the making. She’s the winner of the 2021 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, which means Williams wins a cash prize of £200,000 alongside bespoke mentoring to take her fledgling business to the next level.
Awarded annually “to celebrate exceptional talent and empower businesses to play their part in positive growth”, Williams was one of 11 shortlisted for this year’s award.
She joins an illustrious roster of previous winners that includes Wales Bonner, Molly Goddard, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Christopher Kane and Erdem.
In his congratulations to the winner, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said: "Bethany is an extraordinary talent who brings a depth to her process that is nothing short of inspirational. On top of her substantial gifts as a designer, she has rethought the way her collections are made, working with women who are homeless or in prison, among others, using her business to bring training and support. She really is a marvel”.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, added: “Bethany’s brand is a real example of a sustainable and conscious business, and as a designer, she is constantly finding new innovative design solutions to sustainability.
She added: “All shortlisted designers deserved the prize, but the judging panel was particularly impressed by Bethany’s exceptional talent for using recycled deadstock and organic materials made in the UK and her ways of collaborating with communities and charities, aiming to shape the industry towards thinking more ethically. I cannot wait to see her business grow even more”.
She was shortlisted alongside Alighieri, Asai, Chopova Lowena, Completedworks, E.L.V. Denim, Halpern, Kwaidan Editions, Olubiyi Thomas, Richard Malone and Supriya Lele, all of whom will also receive a full mentoring programme through the BFC’s business support team, with access to funders and industry experts.
Chaired by Enninful, the judging committee comprised Rush; model Adut Akech; Julia Sarr-Jamois, fashion director, British Vogue; Lauren Indvik, fashion editor, Financial Times; Lizzy Eisenberg, VP International Expansion, Clearpay; Natalie Kingham, global fashion officer, Matchesfashion; Rod Manley, chief marketing officer, Burberry; Sarah Harris, deputy editor & fashion features director, British Vogue; and Sarah Mower, BFC ambassador for Emerging Talent and chief critic, Vogue Runway.
With the Covid crisis having disrupted last year’s award, Williams again becomes the sole winner after the cash prize last year was split between shortlisted brands for the first time.
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