British Fashion Council announces launch of BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund

THE British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced the launch of the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund in a bid to keep creative fashion businesses and individuals afloat during the pandemic.

The British Fashion Council, through its charity the BFC Foundation (which brings all BFC charitable initiatives under one umbrella) is making £1,000,000 of emergency funds available, which will largely support designer businesses. A proportion of the funds will also be allocated to students in order to secure the future generation of creative talent.

All of this 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.

While £1 million is a great start, the scale of the need is much greater than this. The BFC has therefore called on both the Government and individuals within the industry to support the Covid Crisis Fund through donations so that more businesses can be supported at this extraordinary time.

As a not-for-profit organisation, the BFC can act as a vital resource in unprecedented times such as these. Since the beginning of the crisis, many creative businesses have been fighting on several fronts. The BFC calls for support for liquidity in the form of grants or long-term risk loans that address retail cancellations and sell-through guarantees, which in turn, will help businesses address disruption to supply chains and a potential domino effect of failure. The BFC also asks for rent holidays for office and retail stores to further protect employment.

As a member of the Creative Industries Federation, the BFC has also campaigned for additional financial measures to protect the income of creative freelancers who play such a significant role in the fashion industry.

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC 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 and mechanics for funding from the new BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund will open within the next week, with applications closing on 10 April 2020.

A guideline to criteria for businesses to apply are:

Applicants should have an established designer fashion business
The applicant’s collection should consist primarily of womenswear, menswear, accessories, millinery or fine jewellery (not bridalwear or childrenswear)
The applicant’s company should be based in the UK and be registered with Companies House or a sole trader
The applicant’s company should be majority-owned by the Designer / Creative Director and not have had any outside equity funding in any material amount
Grant money requested should relate to a clear purpose to support the survival of the business over the next year
The generosity and commitment of the BFC’s partners is more vital now than ever. Please help the BFC by acknowledging their support for the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund: ARCH & HOOK, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, Depop, GQ, JD, INC, Label/Mix, Paul Smith, Rodial and Value Retail.

by Rhiannon Jenkins

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