by Stephen Garner

Mr Porter has launched a global talent search for three aspiring menswear designers that the online menswear retailer and a team of industry mentors will select to participate in a year-long design and business mentorship program from September 2021 – September 2022.

Dubbed “Mr Porter Futures,” the program is open to anyone across the globe and aims to identify and nurture new design talent from outside the fashion mainstream, breaking down the barriers to luxury fashion by drawing eligible candidates from an international pool, and selected through an initial anonymous application review process. The goal is to discover original voices, lift new talent and introduce them on a global stage.

The three selected designers or design duos will undergo a year-long program of workshops and one-to-one coaching, benefiting from access to leading mentors in the fashion industry alongside Mr Porter’s in-house team of buyers, designers, and creative and marketing experts. Beyond the mentoring and coaching, each designer will gain the essential marketing and retail skills required to build successful, standalone brands in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while also designing, developing, and delivering their very own responsibly sourced and produced collections, through the support of Mr Porter’s own-label Mr P. team and consultancy Create Sustain. The collections will be made globally available on Mr Porter in September 2022.

Eligible candidates will be required to meet the following criteria. Must be 18 or older; open to individuals or design duos only; must not be a current Mr Porter brand, or a brand currently in contract with Mr Porter or Yoox-Net- A-Porter Group; cannot already own a registered or trademarked business with an annual turnover of over €10,000; agree to work with Mr Porter to develop a (minimum) 15-piece menswear ready-to-wear collection (we are unable to accept applications for technical sportswear, accessories or footwear collections); must be able to undertake the majority of the program remotely; must agree to participate in progress reviews; and be able to submit their application in English and participate in English-language courses.

Mr Porter and a selection committee will assess eligible applications through an anonymous review process; each application will receive a rating based on a combined assessment of written answers and submitted design briefs. Applicant ratings will be aggregated in June, and the top selection will be asked to interview with the Mr Porter Futures Mentor Selection Committee in July. Following the final interviews, three designers or design duos will be selected and prepared for the program’s start and announcement in September 2021.

“We are thrilled to embark on our inaugural journey of Mr Porter Futures, an initiative born from a desire to discover and develop new talent from the global world we live in, and for the global community Mr Porter serves,” said Sam Kershaw, buying director at Mr Porter. “We have always been committed to championing a diverse mix of new and emerging designers throughout Mr Porter’s decade in business, but if this year has taught us anything, it is that we have the responsibility to use our global platform to give equal opportunities to all new aspiring menswear voices, no matter their experience or background. Mr Porter Futures’s anonymous application process ensures that the programme is open to everyone, including those outside of the industry mainstream. We are also proud to be shaping the future of menswear to produce high quality, responsibly sourced collections that are designed with inherent value, longevity, and integrity; qualities Mr Porter prizes above all else.”

“As Mr Porter marks its 10th anniversary, we continue to carve a space as a leader and role model in the menswear world, with ultimate thanks to our engaged and global network, alongside the collaborative partners, brands, designers, and contributors who make up our multifaceted community,” added Fiona Firth, managing director at Mr Porter. “It is with these resources and extended support system, both internally and externally, that enables us to launch the Mr Porter Futures programme and create new opportunities within our industry.”

Mr Porter Futures will become an annual, ongoing program where new talent will be nurtured and developed for introduction across Mr Porter’s global platform, which serves more than 180 countries, and delivers more than 550 brands across luxury, ready-to-wear, luxury watches, sport, grooming, and lifestyle.

Mr Porter Futures applications are now open. Deadline for applicants is Sunday, June 6 at 11.59pm BST.