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LONDON — London-based men's designer Christopher Shannon was named the winner of the inaugural British Fashion Council/GQ Designer Men's Wear Fund Monday evening. The fund, which is supported by Vertu, will provide Shannon — who's known for collections that riff on British youth culture — with a grant of 150,000 pounds, or $252,000, to create the infrastructure needed to grow his business, and access to business services worth 50,000 pounds, or $84,000, which include high level mentoring support over the next year.
Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men, called Shannon an "incredibly worthy winner," at a cocktail to announce the winner Monday.
"While the competition was tough, Christopher Shannon’s win attests to the very bright future of British menswear, demonstrating original flair, meticulous craftsmanship and an in-depth commercial understanding," said Jones. Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, added that Shannon's label has a: "strong identity, a clear business plan and has been creating a buzz at London Collections: Men since its inception."
Shannon was nominated alongside the labels Christopher Raeburn, E. Tautz, Lou Dalton and Richard Nicoll. All the labels shortlisted took part in a four-month mentoring program, as part of which industry experts guided the designers on subjects such as strategic planning, branding, leadership and digital innovation. Vertu gave the designers access to its teams in technology, global distribution, legal matters and finance. Following the mentoring, the designers then re-presented a three-year business plan to the panel of judges, with the aim to demonstrate a "clear vision for their business," and show how the fund would help them create a "global brand."
The fund, which was launched in September is aimed at men's labels that have been trading for a minimum of three years, have UK and international stockists and who have progressed through the BFC's talent support schemes, or are at a similar stage in their business.