The former students have been recognised as part of the Council’s talent identification NEWGEN scheme that is sponsored by Topshop.
Ashley Williams will be given runway sponsorship while Claire Barrow will receive presentation sponsorship. Additionally they be given a dedicated pop-up showroom for four hours after their show or presentation, giving buyers the opportunity to make sales appointments with the designers.
Both were stars of the Westminster runway show in 2012 and have since seen their designs being worn by the likes of Rihanna, Harry Styles, Pixie Geldof, Alexa Chung, Alice Dellal and Julia Sarr-Jamois.
Ashley Williams is currently stocked by Selfridges in London, Colette in Paris and Joyce in Hong Kong, while Claire Barrow is stocked by Penelope in Italy, V Files in New York, USA and Concento in Japan.
NEWGEN is the BFC’s landmark scheme to support the very best emerging talents in a bid to build global, high end fashion brands for the future. The scheme offers designers financial support and showcasing opportunities at London Fashion Week to present their SS16 collection to influential press and buyers from around the world.
NEWGEN designers are identified by their creativity, strong design aesthetic and point of difference. The NEWGEN committee, chaired by Sarah Mower MBE, focused on selecting designers who are ready for the profile, platform and support that NEWGEN offers. The BFC, with support from the NEWGEN committee and Topshop, will deliver individualised support and business seminars to assist the designers as they build their own infrastructure and skills.
Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent, Contributing Editor to Vogue US and Chair of the NEWGEN selection, said: “The NEWGEN initiative has an unrivalled reputation as the scheme which has seen countless designers through to London Fashion Week and success in selling globally. The panel and I are always stunned to be able to meet designers and discover what they have to say at an early stage, and, with our teamwork, and Topshop's sponsorship, to help fast-track their business savvy as well as their talent for design. Everyone who wants a window on the future shouldn't be missing what our NEWGEN cohort has to say this season – they are as individualistic as London designers are, but also characterised by their collective pure enjoyment of clothes, innovation, artistry and a playful sense of fun. My only criticism is the dearth of accessory designers applying to New Gen. We want to see more! So please take this is a call-out for next season's talent!"
Previous NEWGEN winners include Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, J.W. Anderson, Marques’Almeida, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Roksanda Ilincic and Simone Rocha.
The University’s Fashion Design BA Honours course is renowned for continually producing individually distinctive, creative designers of the highest calibre, who work across all levels of the international fashion industry. Find out more about the Fashion Design BA Honours course.