by Stephen Garner

British Fashion Council (BFC) has launched the BFC Foundation COVID Crisis Fund, supporting creative fashion businesses and individuals to survive the Coronavirus crisis.

The BFC, through its charity the BFC Foundation which brings all BFC charitable initiatives under one umbrella, is making £1,000,000 of emergency funds available with the majority supporting designer businesses and with a portion of funds also allocated to students, underpinning the future generation of creative talent.

This has been made possible through pooling the BFC talent support grants that would have traditionally been awarded for either early-stage showcasing support or business growth and promotion.

While £1 million is a great start, the scale of the need is much greater and BFC has called on both Government to step in to work with them on significant industry stimulus, and on the industry and individuals to support the COVID Crisis Fund through donations, so that more businesses can be supported at this time.

Since the beginning of the crisis, BFC has worked tirelessly to brief the Government on the challenges facing the industry but also to keep all stakeholders up to date through letters, social media updates, digital Town Hall meetings, and newsletters. With this new fundraising campaign, the organization seeks contributions that will be crucial to the survival of designer businesses led by creative talent who inspire the global industry.

The BFC calls for support for liquidity in the form of grants or long-term low-risk loans that address retail cancellations and sell through guarantees and in turn will help businesses address the disruption to supply chain and a potential domino effect of failure. BFC also asks for rent holidays for office and retail stores to further protect employment. As a member of the Creative Industries Federation, BFC has also campaigned for additional financial measures to protect the income of creative freelancers who play such a significant role in the fashion industry.

“Now more than ever, we are committed to support the businesses and people that make up our industry,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of BFC. “With the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund and the donations raised, our hope is to support those British businesses that need additional subsidies, beyond Government stimulus available, to address their most urgent challenges.”

Applications and mechanics for funding from the new BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund will open within the next 7 days, with applications closing on April 10th.