The British Fashion Council (BFC) has just announced their nominees for their very first Changemakers Prize, which is to be awarded in partnership with Swarovski later this year. And all of those selected had one clear trait in common — their pioneering work and actions are nothing short of phenomenal.
Those chosen were selected by a judging committee made up entirely of iconic figures in the British fashion industry — from Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief and European Editorial Director Edward Enninful to Lily Cole and Tan France.
The committee had to pick the nominees from over 500 candidates (all entered by relevant friends, colleagues, or other admirers), with the prize being “open to anyone working in the fashion industry, focusing on celebrating individuals and championing inclusivity and innovative thinking,” according to the council.
“To be a change-maker, it’s about making changes in your life. Small steps that we can all take,” said one of the nominees, Designer Patrick McDowell in a video about the awards. “As a working-class queer person, sometimes the doors that are open to others aren’t open to us, so it’s been really fascinating navigating this fashion space.”
From the hundreds of entrants, the committee whittled down the competition to 9 outstanding nominees in three categories: People, Environment, and Community & Craftsmanship. The winner in each category will win £7500, along with mentoring and support from the BFC and Swarovski, to further empower their efforts.
Here are all of the incredible nominees, along with their Instagram handles:
Cyndia Harvey (@cyndiaharvey)
Cyndia has already made a huge impact with her 2017 film This Hair of Mine, which highlighted the experience of black women and having black hair. Now with this nomination, her work is being further celebrated by the BFC and Swarovski, as they praised her as “As one of the most exciting hairstylists of her generation,” with “a unique vision for inclusive beauty, aiming to represent the entire spectrum of beauty and utilise her skills to fight for the visibility of underrepresented groups of society.”
Laura Johnson & Zoe Proctor (@zebedeetalent)
In order to pioneer new paths in the “inclusion revolution,” Laura and Zoe founded Zebedee Talent Agency — the first and only agency that represents models who are disabled or experience other visible differences, all to support inclusivity in the industry. The agency has also grown to have other groups in their representation, including non-binary and transgender models.
Rahemur Rahman (@rahemurrahma)
“Designer, filmmaker and campaigner, Rahemur focuses on representing the British Bangladeshi communities in London and transgender rights in Bangladesh through teaching and community outreach,” says the BFC and Swarovski, adding that “Rahemur Rahman Ltd launched in 2019 to highlight artisanal textile and cultural references from South Asia and the UK, aiming to decolonise craftmanship through fashion design and creating spaces for underrepresented voices in luxury fashion.”
John Hickling (@glassonionvintage)
BFC/Swarovski commemorates John for his work as the founder of Glass Onion, which works with high street retailers to provide them with vintage and reworked pieces, and who has recently launched his own DTC site selling his wares.
With this nomination, BFC and Swarovski also observe Johns efforts in “Sorting and grading fifteen tonnes of used clothing each week, they are growing a factory that only ‘remakes’ vintage clothing – cutting, sewing and remaking 12,000 remade pieces per month.”
Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk (@staywildswim)
Natalie and Zanna have been recognised by the BFC and Swarovski as “Co-founders of Stay Wild Swim – A sustainable essentials and swimwear brand creating products from ocean plastics,” Adding that “the pair have developed the world’s first fully circular swimsuit and created ‘The Circularity Project’” and that “The project accepts broken and unwearable swimwear and then sends it on to be recycled and repurposed into eco-industrial products.”
Patrick McDowell (@patrick_mcdowell)
BFC and Swarovski see Patrick as “an innovative young designer making great strides with his eponymous label and as Sustainability Design Director for Pinko fashion house,” nothing that his additional admirable efforts “as Global Ambassador for the Graduate Fashion Foundation, he works with mentees at the foundation and institutions across the UK to explore more sustainable methods of working with a holistic approach.”
Community & Craftsmanship Category
Andrew Kenny (@londonembroiderystudio)
The BFC/Swarovski noted that “Andrew uses traditional skills to generate new exciting techniques with cutting edge embroidery machines. Marrying new technology with the exportation of new techniques is at the heart of his creative strategy, developing embroidery for large and small fashion, interior, film and TV clients worldwide. This is alongside offering courses to the local community, often with discounts for disadvantaged members/those on a low income.”
Cozette McCreery (@cozettemc)
BFC/Swarovski described Cozette as “An integral member of the Emergency Designer Network, researching, funding and bringing together designers and technicians across the industry to make PPE for the NHS for COVID, Cozette worked with the likes of YNAP and Matches Fashion to support the logistics for this project.”
Daisy Knatchbull (@thedecklondon_)
Daisy founded The Deck London, Saville Row’s first shop ever owned only by women.
The brand describes itself on their website as being “dedicated to offering unrivalled service and attention to detail, ensuring women are never underserved in the tailoring world again,” with the nominators adding that “Daisy is paving the way for more female tailors and those who want to break barriers.”
The winners of the very first British Fashion Council Changemakers Prize will be announced on Thursday, 2nd September.
Words By Victoria Arrington