London-based designer Grace Wales Bonner has won this year’s British Fashion Council/GQ Designer Fashion Fund, the BFC said Wednesday.
The founder of luxury menswear label Wales Bonner will receive a cash prize of £100,000 ($ 124, 600), as well as access to a 12-month business mentoring programme and pro-bono legal services.
Central Saint Martins graduate Wales Bonner’s designs have won accolades for their blend of sportswear and sharp tailoring, fused with the designer’s British and Jamaican heritage.
“[Wales Bonner] is rearchitecting the very notion of what a luxury fashion house is – and who luxury is for,” said Adam Baidawi, deputy global editorial director at GQ, in a statement. “She is the total embodiment of modern creativity: ambitious, collaborative and global.”
The designer’s work has been recognised by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who tapped Wales Bonner to re-envision Dior’s New Look in 2020, and Adidas, which has collaborated with the designer on numerous occasions. Previously, Wales Bonner was awarded the LVMH Young Designer Prize in 2016 and the CFDA International Men’s Designer of the Year in 2021.
Luxury knitwear brand AGR, London-based ready-to-wear label Bianca Saunders, fine jewellery brand Bleue Burnham and athleisure-leaning streetwear label Paria Farzaneh were shortlisted for the award and will also have the opportunity to participate in the BFC’s mentoring programme.
The judging panel for the BFC/GQ Fashion Fund included BFC CEO Caroline Rush, Matches Fashion menswear buying head Damien Paul, TV personality and designer Tan France and GQ senior style editor Murray Clark.
The BFC/GQ Fashion Fund was founded in 2013 to celebrate and mentor designers and their businesses. The competition has evolved into a pipeline into the fashion industry for young creatives. Previous winners include Craig Green, Ahluwalia and Nicholas Daley.
Nicholas Daley Wins the BFC/GQ Designer Fashion Fund 2022
The London-based menswear designer was awarded £150,000 ($188,000) to invest in business development for his namesake brand.
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