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British Fashion Council bets on emerging talent in educational outreach

May 17, 2016

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The British Fashion Council has announced the launch of an education program meant to attract and support future talent.

Over the next decade, the British Fashion Council will raise funds for its Education Foundation, pledging £10 million, or $14 million at current exchange rates, to attract creative talents studying in London. The program is framed by a fashion apprenticeship, a fashion and business club and an exceptional talent scholarship, all of which aim to provide support for young creative minds.

For fashion's future
The BFC’s Fashion Apprenticeship Standard will support a group of fashion talents alongside the University of the Arts London, who will determine candidates’ qualifications.

The apprenticeship looks to highlight the other career paths within the fashion industry, not just design talent. Through the apprenticeship, students will learn skills that will contribute to all levels of the fashion business. Apprentices will work in teams alongside members of the BFC such as Mary Katrantzou and Talk PR.

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British Fashion Council patron, Mulberry

Launching in October 2016, the apprenticeship begins with a six-month “foundation core” followed by a year-long focus on a particular area of concentration such as production development and fashion marketing and communications. The apprenticeship will also show how Britain is the ideal location to start, develop and grow creative and innovative business, according to the BFC.

For younger talent, the BFC has developed the National Fashion & Business Saturday Club with the Sorrell Foundation. The club gives youth ages 14 to 16 a chance to study fashion for free at their local college or university.

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Promotional image for British Fashion Council education programs

The club’s hope is to inspire and nurture its members so that they advance their future studies by emphasizing enterprise skill. The weekly class includes visiting exhibitions, meeting with professionals in the industry, attending masterclasses and having works exhibited at Somerset House in London.

Lastly, the BFC is introducing the Exceptional Talent Scholarship to extend support for promising students on BA Fashion design courses in the United Kingdom. The Exceptional Talent Scholarship will serve as an emergency fund for students needing unexpected financial support.

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Promotional image for British Fashion Council education programs

Educational programs are common in the luxury arena, as brands seek out talent to preserve legacy and craftsmanship in a job market that has trouble viewing artisan labor as fruitful employment.

Stateside, conglomerate Kering is spotlighting budding design talent through a partnership with The New School’s Parsons School of Design.

The fifth annual “Empowering Imagination” contest will give the 12 student finalists from Parsons placement on, and the winning two designers’ looks will be featured in Saks’ flagship store windows. Additionally, the pair chosen at the end of the competition will fly to Italy to tour Kering’s production facilities, giving them a firsthand look at the inner workings of its fashion companies (see story).