British Fashion Council launches Covid-19 fund to support designers
The British Fashion Council (BFC) said on Friday that it's launching a new crisis fund to support creative businesses and individuals during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Through its charity the BFC Foundation (which brings all its charitable initiatives under one umbrella), it’s making £1 million of emergency funds available, “the majority supporting designer businesses and with a portion of funds also allocated to students, underpinning the future generation of creative talent”.
But it’s also beginning a fundraising drive as it knows that £1 million will not be enough.
The new fund has been made possible through pooling the BFC talent support grants that would have traditionally been awarded for either early stage showcasing support or business growth and promotion. Clearly, showcasing is off the agenda for now as fashion shows and events are cancelled globally.
As mentioned, the BFC also said that “while £1 million is a great start, the scale of the need is much greater and [it] has called on both government to step in to work with them on significant industry stimulus, and on the industry and individuals to support the Covid Crisis Fund through donations, so that more businesses can be supported at this time”.
It added that the new fundraising campaign sees it seeking “contributions that will be crucial to the survival of designer businesses led by creative talent who inspire the global industry.
The crisis has seen creative businesses fighting on several fronts. BFC calls for support for liquidity in the form of grants or long-term low risk loans that address retail cancellations and sell-through guarantees and in turn will help businesses address disruption to supply chain[s] and a potential domino effect of failure”.
It’s also asking for rent holidays for offices and stores to further protect employment.
CEO Caroline Rush said: “Now more than ever, we are committed to support the businesses and people that make up our industry. With the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund and the donations raised, our hope is to support those British businesses that need additional subsidies, beyond government stimulus available, to address their most urgent challenges.”
Applications for a grant from the fund will open within the next seven days and will run until April 10. Applicants should have an established designer fashion business and collections consisting mainly of womenswear, menswear, accessories, millinery or fine jewellery – not bridal or kidswear. Applicants also need to have a company that's UK-based and be registered with Companies House, or a sole trader. It should be majority-owned by the designer/creative director and not have had outside equity funding "in any material amount". And the grant money requested should relate to a clear purpose to help the business survive over the next year.
The fund is already being supported by the BFC’s partners, including Arch & Hook, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, Depop, GQ, JD.com, Label/Mix, Paul Smith, Rodial and Value Retail.
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