Are the British Fashion Awards really just a big pat on the back?

First a little bit of background…

The British Fashion Awards has been going since 1989, to showcase British designers and present awards to those who have made the most outstanding contributions to the fashion industry during the year. The main awards include that of British Designer of the Year, and Outstanding Contribution as well as awards to the ‘most fashionable’ celebrities in various fields. The ceremony is organised by the British Fashion Council and runs as part of London Fashion Week each February.

It has been an event that has helped designer reach new levels of stardom in the Fashion Industry, it’s adorned with A-List celebrities and is covered by every major fashion magazine. All in all, it is ‘the’ event to be at if you’re anybody in this industry. Setting all this aside, has it just become another awards show? Where it’s all about celebrities and continue on the circle of big designers with enormously big budgets, the event seems to get more extravagant every year.

Now down to it…

Even when looking at their Emerging winners of their awards it seems like they were already quite established or won an award the year before, hardly seems like they’re picking genuine new/emerging talent from the industry. Take a look at last years winners, one designer won awards in two separate arenas, it just seems a joke. We all know the fashion industry likes to exclusive and almost impossible to break through into, but when you’re selling it as a leading name to helping designers, it seems a bit of a downfall.
This year’s winner is a St Martin’s College alumni, whos been featured in Vogue and showcased during London’s Fashion Week – it’s all very insulated.

When you’ve got big names winning awards, especially when they work in brands like Gucci. You can’t help but feel it’s all a little ‘well done’, keeping those clients happy who finically support them. I can’t think of anything more intoxicating, it’s not helping anyone. I get the idea of selling tickets to the general public to put money towards investing in future generations of designers, but when then the BFC Fashion Fund only selects certain brands and a select group of judges picks who will make it to the final, some of the designers picked get not only one but a few chances to win – what’s that all about?

“Hadid, in her speech, emphasised how much she valued fashion’s embrace, but if the BFC wants Hadid’s generation to tune into its awards show, it will need to think more deeply about what her millions of followers are interested in seeing.” – Bussiness of Fashion.

If the BFC wishes more Millenials would support and get behind the Awards show is if it worked like a reality show, make it a real competition where the general public get to pick – I think that would rally a new generation behind Fashion Designers. The BFC has said it’s not going to stream its awards show like the other major award ceremonies as it’s programme isn’t perfect yet, I fear that is a big mistake, it’s still showing the rest in the industry they’re not invited or included in the process. If what you’re encouraging is to be successful you must be famous and always in the spotlight, I fear it misses the point of fashion. Fashion is about innovation, who will be the next superstar brand.

If I look at another award’s show that’s less finically supported and celebrity-infused, Fashions Finest. They celebrate British Designer of the Year, where they hand-pick emerging designers to compete for the chance to win the title – which is more like it. They used to have fully fledged Awards Show celebrating the best in the emerging fields of Fashion, which I kind of miss. Another awards show I’m starting to get behind is the Fashion Worked Awards, an aspiring anonymous writer. They’ve created this amazing ceremony that celebrates the best in emerging talent, without the necessary back patting that has been going on for a few years.

I think it’s time we have to think about the Awards show we support.


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