The British Fashion Council’s new campaign – entitled ‘This is London’ – features Bianca Saunders, Cosima, Akinola Davies, Art School, and more
After the launch of its NEWGEN initiative in 1993, the British Fashion Council has continued to use its platform to support young talent in London. Since, it has aided young designers to navigate their way through the industry via projects like LONDON Show ROOMS and the BFC Fashion Trust.
For its latest project, the BFC has enlisted photographer Markn, to celebrate the culture and diversity surrounding the upcoming London Fashion Week Men’s shows. Spotlighting an eclectic group of 24 London-based creatives, the campaign aims to “shine a light on the incredible pool of talent that makes London the creative capital of the world,” says BFC menswear chair Dyan Jones. The cast features musicians such as Dazed 100er Cosima and DJ Sherelle, as well as designers Paria Farzaneh and Per Götesson.
“London is a city that is globally recognised for its creative talent and businesses,” says Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC. “We’re extremely to celebrate not only the designers but also the broader creative community who all play a vital role in our industry’s culture and reputation.”
To celebrate the campaign we asked designers Priya Ahluwalia, Bianca Saunders, and Tom Barratt of Art School how living in London inspires their creativity.
“I'm from southwest London, and my heritage is Indian/Nigerian; my mum is Indian, born in Newcastle and my dad is Nigerian. My stepdad is Jamaican and was born in London so my household is a pretty good place to be fed a lot of different types of food, hear different music and see different films. I’ve always lived in greater London, I’ve never lived in a different city which I sort of regret, so I have no memory of the first time of coming to London. One of my strongest memories from being in central London was going to Buckingham Palace to put flowers down when Princess Diana died, I would have been 4 or 5!
I remember always finding the city so adventurous as a kid and I still think that now. London has so many amazing galleries – I love the National Portrait Gallery, V&A, and the Tate. There are just so many places to visit that are full of meaningful and innovative work. In terms of designing my collections, London affects me in so many ways. From thinking about the distinctive style of my school days, to how people are dressed on the Tube.”
“I feel like it’s a lot easier to get by in London, compared to any other city; there are more opportunities here to be creative and express yourself. My friends and my community inspire me the most. Because I’ve been here my whole life, there are so many people I’ve met through living here and people come in the city and leave the city, so it’s a lot easier for me to find my creative grounding.”
TOM BARRATT, ART SCHOOL
“Eden (Loweth) is from Norfolk and I’m from Stockport. Eden’s home is a lovely little house surrounded by countryside fields and farmland where he grew up with his Mum. I’m from Stockport and grew up with three siblings in a home I say is like the Weasley’s house in Harry Potter! All singing and dancing and a lot of fun and drama. I remember coming to London with my mum when I was probably 14 and going to see the old Saint Martins’ building. How strange it was to see this unassuming grey entrance to the building you’d heard all these legends about! Then I remember going on a college trip and exploring Brick Lane and thinking how cool and amazing it was, I knew then I wanted to come be a part of the action.
We have noticed how the queer nightlife venues have changed since we have been here. The George and the Dragon used to be out stomping ground and that closed down. I used to be at East Bloc every Friday night in 2014 but that is closed now! That truly was an end of an era. Vogue Fabrics is still going strong however and The Glory always has amazing performances and events on. I do all the errands and running around London on the daily so just seeing people and how they dress is inspiring, it can be easy in fashion to be sheltered away from reality as you're cooped up in the studio but having that injection of realness in our clothes is something that's important to us. It comes directly from the streets of London, from all sides north, east, south and west.”