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The Queen launches design award at London Fashion Week

Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise appearance at London Fashion Week to present an inaugural design prize.

The Queen visited London Fashion Week on Tuesday to announce the launch of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, which she presented to emerging British designer Richard Quinn.

As part of the unannounced appearance, the Queen toured London Fashion Week’s Designer Showrooms at 180 The Strand, and met with a number of London’s up and coming designers.

She then attended London-born designer Richard Quinn’s catwalk show, sitting on the front row beside London Fashion Week organiser and CEO of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush and Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue.

The Queen then presented Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

The award was launched in recognition of the “role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy” and will be awarded annually by a member of the royal family. Winners will be designers who show “exceptional talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies”.

Each winner will be selected by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with the Royal Household.

Graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins university in 2016, Quinn was this week announced as the latest name to join department store chain Debenhams’ Designers at Debenhams stable of brands, and also won the H&M Design Award in 2016.

The womenswear and textiles designer is known for his bold use of prints, clashing bright colours and unconventionally-elegant dresses.

He is also recognised for his approach to collaboration and community, having set up an open print studio in Peckham, which is open to students and other designers.

The British Fashion Council’s CEO Caroline Rush, said: “It is an incredible honour for our industry to be granted this recognition by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For the honour to be bestowed annually on an emerging designer, in recognition of the UK being the global centre for fashion talent is great recognition for Richard Quinn, as well as the incredible talents that have developed businesses here in the UK, and those that will follow in his footsteps.”

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