Footwear designer Sophia Webster has won this year’s British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.
The fund was established in 2008 and provides one designer with a year-long mentoring support programme and a £200,000 grant.
Webster beat competition from Emilia Wickstead, Mother of Pearl and Osman for the 2016 prize.
The designers were invited to The Shard in London to present their collections and five-year business plans to the fund’s judging committee, which included British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, British Fashion Council chief executive Caroline Rush, Joan Burstein – affectionately known as Mrs B – founder of Browns, Topshop managing director Mary Homer and guest judge Victoria Beckham.
Shulman, who is chair of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, said: “Sophia Webster is a great winner for this year’s award. The brand encapsulates all the originality and creativity that British fashion is known for while Sophia and her team have pursued a clear vision with drive and professionalism.”
Rush added: “The judging committee was impressed by her brilliant talent and thorough business acumen, seeing great potential for developing her label into an internationally acclaimed British brand. Sophia has an amazing ability to turn accessories into masterpieces and we are thrilled to support her at an exciting time of growth.”
Now in its seventh year, the fund is a legacy project from the BFC’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
Previous winners are: Mary Katrantzou (2015), Peter Pilotto (2014) Nicholas Kirkwood (2013), Jonathan Saunders (2012), Christopher Kane (2011) and Erdem (2010).