The pressure facing both emerging designers and established brands throughout the coronavirus epidemic will long leave an unforgettable, if not unmanageable impact.
As news of struggling high streets and small companies succumbing to economic pressures unfolds, there is no doubt the fashion industry is one of the hardest to be hit, with supply chain disruption, weakened retail demand and consumer sentiment focused on health and wellbeing over leisure and unnecessary spending.
The British Fashion Council (BFC) on Friday announced the launch of the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund, with the initiative to support creative fashion businesses and individuals to survive the crisis.
An initial 1,000,000 pounds of emergency funds will immediately be available with the majority supporting designer businesses and with a portion of funds also allocated to students, underpinning the future generation of creative talent. But this amount will not last long, as the scale of the need is much greater.
The BFC has called on both Government and industry to step in to work with them on a significant stimulus package, and for the industry and individuals to support the Covid Crisis Fund through donations, so that more businesses can be supported at this time.
The grant for talent support is now a relief fund
The current fund 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.
The BFC in a statement said the crisis has seen creative businesses fighting on several front, calling 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 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.
Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC said: “Now more than ever, we are committed to support the businesses and people that make up our industry. 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.
The BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund has thus far been made possible by Arch and Hook, British Vogue, Browns, Burberry, depop, GQ, JD.COM,INC, Label/Mix, Paul Smith, Rodial and Value Retail.