June 12, 2014
British luxury home and lifestyle brand Wedgwood is the primary sponsor of the British Fashion Council’s millinery project.
BFC “Headonism” will showcase the work of a new crop of hat designers during London Fashion Week. This new alliance will help the brand branch out of its own product categories and prove its place within fashionable homes.
"Wedgwood has a long tradition of supporting and encouraging creative talent, it is part of our heritage," said Sally Warmington, EMEA marketing director at Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton, Staffordshire, England.
"We are excited and proud to be encouraging a new generation of British milliners through the Headonism project and we look forward to working with them to inspire, mentor and grow their brands," she said.
"Wedgwood's sponsorship of Headonism further integrates the brand with the global fashion community. London Fashion Week is recognized as being the showcase for dynamic and exciting talent. By supporting Headonism, we can reach fashion-aware consumers that we may not reach through our existing communication channels."
Wedgwood announced its sponsorship on Facebook and Twitter, with posts that included a number of designs from the milliners participating in the showcase.
Tweet from Wedgwood
Headonism is an annual event from the British Fashion Council, which is curated by Stephen Jones OBE, a milliner who has designed headpieces for runway shows for Vivienne Westwood and John Galiano for Dior.
Those chosen get mentoring from Mr. Jones as well as opportunities to show their collections in installations at British Fashion Week. For spring/summer 2015, the designs will be on display in the East Wing showrooms at Somerset House.
For Headonism, the designs are expected to be innovative.
Applicants must reside in the U.K. and have a business younger than six-years-old. These young designers have to be stocked by at least two retailers and have experience doing production and sales.
This year the display will include both returning designers Emma Yeo and Keely Hunter, as well as new recipients Awon Golding and Lizzie McQuade.
Ms. Golding was born in Hong Kong, and her traditional with a twist hats are carried at Liberty London. One takes typical materials and fashions them into an ice cream cone.
Hat by Awon Golding
More sculptural, Ms. Yeo uses technology to make her headwear.
Hat by Emma Yeo
Ms. Hunter creates modern pieces inspired by architecture, while Ms. McQuade has a more feminine aesthetic.
Hats by Lizzie McQuade
The BFC made an announcement about the sponsorship on its Web site, and also used social media to spread the news. Through this placement of the brand, Wedgwood will be able to build up awareness among fashion-minded consumers.
Millinery is an art form that other brands have highlighted with special events.
British department store Fortnum & Mason highlighted the art of hat making with a two-week series of in-store events at its Piccadilly store.
A main focus of the “Millinery Fortnight,” Fortnum was British hat designer Philip Treacy, who was on hand to talk to consumers and show off his latest collection (see story).
Other brands have found ways to support young talent in an industry parallel to theirs.
Precision cut-crystal maker Swarovski has hand-picked a number of fashion designers to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York as part of its Swarovski Collective.
In addition to providing financial support to the designers, the brand will give them crystals to use in their designs. Swarovski is able to showcase its own creativity through this project, as well as show its good citizenship within the fashion industry (see story).
Wedgwood's sponsorship will help strengthen the brand's place in the artistic community.
"This is a great fit to the brand and offers the perfect contemporary expression of more than 250 years of artistic patronage," Ms. Warmington said.
"Through Headonism we can share our unique heritage of design and craft to inspire a new generation of British fashion talent," she said. "It also reinforces Wedgwood's links with the fashion and lifestyle community on a global scale."
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York