The global pandemic has put incredible pressures on all sectors of the fashion industry, particularly independent designers at the helm of their very own businesses. Since the UK went into lockdown, the British Fashion Council has launched a hardship fund that has pumped £1m into grants that have been awarded to over 37 UK-based designers, including Bianca Saunders and Charles Jeffrey – with an extra £500k waiting to be donated to a fresh set of applicants in the coming months. Now Matches Fashion is doing its bit to support some of the industry’s finest young talent. The retailer has set up The Innovators Programme, a one-year support scheme that has been offered to 12 designers from across the globe. The full line-up includes: Art School, Ahluwalia, Chopova Lowena, Stefan Cooke, Germanier, Halpern, Harris Reed, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Thebe Magugu, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Bianca Saunders and Wales Bonner.
Matches Fashion has dedicated £1.8m towards the program, which will be used for marketing support for the dozen designers involved. On top of the funding, each designer will be offered mentorship on how to market on a global stage and will have original content based on their brand created by the retailer. “I am delighted that we have formalised our support for emerging talent, developing The Innovators into a programme that actually helps future-proof their businesses in what has been a tough year for the creative industry,” said Natalie Kingham, buying director at Matches Fashion.” The Innovators Programme is a brilliant development through-and-through, we hope more retailers follow in Matches’ footsteps.