Categories
business Editor's pick sustainability

Purposeful innovation leads British Fashion Council award winners


“Purpose is the new luxury,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, at the British Fashion Council’s annual awards last night, which celebrated creativity and innovation from across the industry. 

He picked up the Special Recognition Award for Innovation, for his work recycling plastics recovered from the ocean into new products for brands including adidas, G-Star and Stella McCartney.

He echoed a theme that resonated throughout the evening focused on pushing for a positive revolution in light of climate change. “The planet is broken, the oceans are nearly dead and we need a dream of a magic blue universe that is well protected – something that we actually fight for together,” he said.

Also focused on this message was Dame Vivienne Westwood, who picked up the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. She used the occasion to give an impassioned speech about capitalism and the industry’s enormous responsibility to protect the planet.

Activism continued as a theme throughout the evening, with references made to Brexit, the Paris riots and even the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal revealed earlier this year.

Miuccia Prada, on reception of the Outstanding Achievement Award, added: “Just a little note for fashion, I think more and more we should feel a responsibility for defending human rights and freedom.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood

A surprise for guests meanwhile came when HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, arrived on stage to present the British womenswear designer of the year award to Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, who was of course the designer behind the dress for her wedding to Prince Harry.

Meghan took the opportunity to reference female empowerment: “As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear. Sometimes it’s very personal, sometimes it’s emotional. But for me, this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it’s about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we’re not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, but we’re also an extension of their values, of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I recently read an article that said, ‘The culture of fashion has shifted from one where it was cool to be cruel to now, where it’s cool to be kind’.”

Other awards during the evening went to Craig Green as menswear designer of the year, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga as accessories designer of the year, Marco Bizzarri for Gucci as business leader, and Virgil Abloh for Off-White, in the Urban Luxe category. Gucci won the brand of the year, while Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino picked up the overarching designer of the year award.

Emerging talent accolades went to Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* and Richard Quinn, while Kaia Gerber picked up model of the year. There were also special recognition awards to Kim Jones as the 2018 trailblazer and to Mert & Marcus, who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator.

This year also marks the first time the awards have celebrated a young global creative community with the launch of the“NEW WAVE: Creatives”, which recognized 100 of the most innovative and inspiring young creative talent from around the world.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
Editor's pick film

Mulberry film hints at first season with new creative director Johnny Coca

johnny_coca

Mulberry has released a short film sharing the thoughts of its new creative director Johnny Coca ahead of the brand’s relaunch during London Fashion Week this season.

“That was then, this is now”, as the company refers to it, sees Coca speaking about his inspirations and his focus for the new collection. He refers to “Britishness” as an attitude and something individual, saying that it’s about “tradition and how it’s mixed with modernity”.

He’ll be bringing that to his first collection, mixing rebellion with “a balance of femininity; poetic but strong”.

Structure of the garments and bags will be a big focus, drawn from his love of architecture, while colour will also play a part, heavily influenced by his obsession with red; something he says is probably because it’s very Spanish, but appropriately also very British. He also talks about his decision to restore an original 1970s logo he found in the brand archives.

There are multiple additional hints as to his thought process from the film – the bank of the Thames, food slopping on a plate, models walking up concrete steps of the Barbican, a gargoyle, heavy florals, a china teacup, piano keys, an orange (perhaps a Seville orange nodding to where he was born), cycling, a washing machine. “I’m inspired by things I see everyday,” he explains.

In a press statement, he adds: “I wanted to reinforce the British character and sensibility of Mulberry. It’s quite humbling – to be trusted with this brand that people love and feel is very much part of them and their lives. In my role as creative director I want to push the boundaries, but also respect the values and DNA at the core of Mulberry.”

new logo_old logo

Coca is part of a turnaround plan at Mulberry that has also seen a new CEO put in place, and a shift away from the brand’s original intention to move upscale. More bags have been introduced around the £500-£1,000 mark, while a big focus has been put on enabling digital sales. It returned to positive during H1 2015 (six months to September 2015), with pre-tax profit of £60,000, compared with a loss of £1.1m a year earlier.

Coca follows Emma Hill, who left the company in 2013. He was most recently head designer director for leather goods, accessories, shoes and jewelry at Céline. His vision for Mulberry has been entirely shrouded in secrecy until now.

The full reveal will take place during the show at 4pm GMT on Sunday February 21. Until then, Mulberry will also be revealing more via both Instagram and its new Snapchat channel. Follow along via @MulberryEngland and #MulberryEngland.