Shoe designer Sophia Webster has been named the winner of 2016 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.
The luxury footwear creative beat off competition from fellow shortlisted nominees Emilia Wickstead, Mother of Pearl, Osman and Prism to win the prize, which will see her receive a £200,000 grant to provide the necessary infrastructure to take her business to the next level. She will also benefit from a bespoke, high level mentoring support program over a 12-month period.
“Sophia Webster is a great winner for this year’s award,” said Alexandra Shulman OBE, Editor of British Vogue and Chair of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. “The brand encapsulates all the originality and creativity that British fashion is known for while Sophia and her team have pursued a clear vision with drive and professionalism.”
Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, added: “Sophia has an amazing ability to turn accessories into masterpieces and we are thrilled to support her at an exciting time of growth.”
A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, Webster worked as an assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood before debuting her own collection in 2013. She has become known for her punky, feminine aesthetic, featuring her cherubic ‘Angel Wing’ or fun ‘Flamingo’ motifs and her collections cover sandals, stilettos and sneakers. She has won several awards since launching her design label, including the ‘Next Gen’ award and the ‘Mayor of London and British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward’ prize.
Her designs have been seen on celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Hudson, Elizabeth Banks and Naomie Harris.
Founded by the British Fashion Council and the style bible in 2008, the fund is chaired by a panel of experts, which this year included British Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman OBE, the BFC’s Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Marketing Officer at Burberry Sarah Manley, BFC Ambassador and First Lady Samantha Cameron and designer Victoria Beckham.
Previous winners include Mary Katrantzou (2015), Peter Pilotto (2014) Nicholas Kirkwood (2013), Jonathan Saunders (2012), Christopher Kane (2011) and Erdem (2010).