The British Fashion Council (BFC) announced Christopher Shannon as the winner of the inaugural BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by Vertu. The Fund was established in September 2013 following the success of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.
Mr Shannon was up against the other four nominees – Richard Nicoll, Lou Dalton, Patrick Grant and Christopher Raeburn – in the first year of the competition which awarded him a grant of £150,000 and a 12 month mentorship support programme at a value of £50,000.
The designers participated in a mentoring programme where industry experts, including Fund committee members Ben Banks and Jonathan Akeroyd provided guidance on topics including strategic planning, branding, leadership, commercial retail, internet retail and wholesale and digital innovation. Vertu, the world’s leading luxury mobile manufacturer and lead partner on this Fund, played a key role in the mentoring programme giving access to its team of business leaders in technology, global distribution, legal and finance.
Liverpool-born Shannon dedicated his prize to Louise Wilson, who passed away in May. Prior to her death, Wilson gave Shannon a scholarship to study her Fashion MA course at London’s Central Saint Martins.
“I did just win that, right? That was mad! There were so many people pushing for that prize – and who pushed me to go for it – and I have always considered myself as somewhat anti-establishment, but now people have started recognizing my work for what it is. That’s really rewarding…”I’ve lost her, but she’s left me with so much. It’s f***ing unbelievable – that’s exactly what she’d have said!”".
Caroline Rush who is the British Fashion Council’s Chief Executive and one of the founders of the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund for womenswear established in 2010, also played a big part in launching the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund.
Speaking to British GQ Ms Rush said: “It was super tough, but in the end we looked at the impact winning the award would make on the brands. Christopher responded so well to the mentoring that we think that, combined with the talent he so obviously has, this will mark a real shift in his brand over the next 12 months,”.
GQ editor and chair of London Collections: Men Dylan Jones said: “Christopher’s win attests to the very bright future of British menswear, demonstrating original flair, meticulous craftsmanship and an in-depth commercial understanding. These ingredients, combined with this fantastic prize, will see this business sit confidently on the global stage,”.
Max Pogliani, CEO of Vertu and one of the judging panel, said of Mr Shannon’s work “Shannon’s brand is still very young, and what really impressed me – especially in the first mentoring session – was his ability and willingness to learn.”