With her delightfully creative London Fashion Week presentations, countless red carpet credits and steady sales, shoe designer Sophia Webster has just the right combination of creativity, buzz and business acumen to make it big in the industry. In other words, hers is exactly the type of company that the panel of judges (including Victoria Beckham, Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, Caroline Rush from the BFC, Sarah Manley from Burberry and Lisa Armstrong from The Daily Telegraph) for the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund wants to help foster.
At an event in London Tuesday evening, Webster was announced as the winner of the prize, beating out Osman Yousefzada, Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl, Emilia Wickstead and Anna Laub of Prism. She'll receive 200,000 pounds ($285,000) to invest in her company as well as a full year of mentoring.
Webster found early success in her fashion career: her graduate collection at Royal College of Art was immediately picked up by Brown's. She also worked as a design assistant for 2013 BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Nicholas Kirkwood, who became a mentor and helped her produce her first collection.
Webster's shoes are now sold at Net-a-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols and Nordstrom, in addition to her own e-commerce site, which saw sales triple last year. The designer recently told us that she'd like to open a brick-and-mortar store in the U.S. at some point — we're guessing this win will help her to do that and more.