The British Fashion Council has announced the three winners of the "Fashion Forward" 2013 award for womenswear. David Koma, Holly Fulton and Michael van der Ham are the lucky three designers--and if you don't know their names yet, now's the time to get familiar.
First established in 2009 and sponsored by eBay Fashion, the Fashion Forward award is given to designers that have been in business for three years or more (and who typically have gone through the BFC's NEWGEN program) and have a UK-based business. The winners receive funding for two seasons--in this case, AW 2013 and SS 2014--and are showcased during London Fashion Week by the BFC.
Past winners have included British fashion darlings like Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, and Erdem, so this year's winners are definitely in good company. They were chosen not just for their design prowess, but also for their commercial appeal; as Fashion Forward panel member and head of eBay Fashion Brands Melanie Smallwood says, "You can have a beautiful product, but if you can't sell it, you have no business."
Koma has been on the industry's radar since his time at Central Saint Martins, designing a dress that British superstar Cheryl Cole wore on the X-Factor while still a student. He's joined by Fulton, who received the NEWGEN scholarship alongside him in 2010. And van der Ham was among the 2012 nominees for "Emerging Talent" at the British Fashion Awards (the award went to J.W. Anderson but we'd say this isn't a bad consolation prize!).
Check out the video highlighting the winners below, and learn more about the winners and the Fashion Forward Initiative at the BFC's website: