Athens-born, London-based architect turned fashion designer Mary Katrantzou has won this year’s BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, announced by the British Fashion Council. It is not the first time the creative has tapped a major accolade like this. Katrantzou also earned the Swiss Textiles Award hand-in-hand with a 100,000 euro cash prize.
This year’s distinction, will add to her label’s bank account the sizzling amount of a 200,000 pound grant as part of a 12-month mentoring support program. The BFC fund, which was established in 2008, aims to help young and promising designers take their business to the next level.
Mary Katrantzou now holds a place amongst the most ground-breaking fashion designers of her time – Peter Pilotto, Nicholas Kirkwood, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, not to mention Erdem.
“Katrantzou was incredibly deserving of this year’s award,” Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue editor and chair of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund said.
“It was an extremely diverse shortlist, but ultimately we all agreed that Mary has not only created a strong and hugely appealing identity for her work but that she has put in place measures that, along with the support of this prize, should ensure an exciting and successful next stage of her career.”
Katrantzou managed to rise above equally promising ‘fashioneers’ Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton, Michael van der Ham, Mother of Pearl, Osman and Sophia Webster, who presented their collections with their five-year business plans.
With a much diversified and innovative digital-print technique that at the same time stays true to the brand’s philosophy, she has managed to impress the fund judging committee, comprising industry professionals.
Katrantzou has collaborated with a vast array of brands and retailers the likes of Longchamp, Topshop, Adidas and French Accessories not long after finishing her fashion and textile design degree at London’s Central Saint Martins.
“You know, I’ve applied before, but this time really is the most important year for us,” Katrantzou said.
“You go through different stages of growth in your business and this past year specifically has been huge for us, so it’s incredible to win now. Before the announcement I didn’t really think ‘What if we win?’ Everyone is just so strong in different ways, and everyone needs the award for different reasons, that you never really consider that.
“You are constantly called to raise your game by all the amazing talent that’s around you here in London and that can inspire you to do great things. Having mentors like Alex Shulman, Sarah Mower, Caroline Rush and Natalie Massenet means that you get that boost and the advice you need as you go along, which is really important to nurture your business commercially as well as creatively. I’m so grateful.”