Congratulations are in order for Nicholas Kirkwood.
The accessory designer beat out fellow British talents like Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Emilia Wickstead and Roksanda Ilincic to win the prestigious BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, the UK's equivalent to the CFDA Fashion Fund Award. Kirkwood will receive £200,000 as well as access to key senior level mentors across the UK fashion industry.
According to the press release we received, Kirkwood and his business partner Christopher Suarez nabbed the top prize because of their "extremely professional" three year business plan, which outlined a clear growth strategy and identified the challenges that could be addressed with the support of the Fund and its advisers.
Since launching his eponymous shoe label in 2005, Kirkwood has quickly become a favorite among the fashion and celeb set: Jennifer Lawrence, Alexa Chung, and Naomi Watts have all recently worn his designs to high profile events, and in 2012 he designed all the shoes featured on the Victoria's Secret runway.
Unfortunately, because his shoes tend to cost anywhere from $650 to upwards of $1000, most people (like us) can only dream of one day owning his designs. But maybe, with a little help from the BFC, a lower-priced or high street collaboration could be in the works for the brand. It'd be a smart way for the label to grow, and it'd make a whole lot of Fashionista editors happy. So let's make this happen, okay?
On another note: It's interesting that Kirkwood, an accessories-only designer, beat out pretty high-profile designers with full ready-to-wear labels. In fact, he's the first accessories-only designer to win the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund in the four year history of the award (past winners include, in chronological order: Erdem, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders). Could this be another sign that fashion industry insiders are focusing their attention (and money) on developing accessories, rather than ready-to-wear, because accessories seem to be the only fashion market making money right now?
Or maybe the judging panel, which included Vogue UK's Alexandra Shulman, BFC chief executive Caroline Rush, Browns’ Joan Burstein, the Daily Telegraph’s Lisa Armstrong, Harrods’ Marigay McKee, Topshop’s Mary Homer, Samantha Cameron and Burberry’s Sarah Manley, just loved Kirkwood's fantastical designs as much as the rest of the fashion industry.