In a first for an accessories designer, shoe maestro Nicholas Kirkwood has clinched the 2013 British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, the across-the-pond version of Anna Wintour and co.’s wildly successful initiative to boost young design talent. Now in its fourth year, the BFC/Vogue award provides the winner with £200,000 (at current exchange, about equal to the stateside $300,000 purse) and access to industry mentors. Also shortlisted for the award were Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, and Emilia Wickstead.
Kirkwood, who also made the 2012 shortlist, was selected as the winner based on the strength of his collections over the past few seasons, the three-year business plan he created with partner Christoper Suarez, and a presentation to a judging committee chaired by Vogue UK editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman. “I’m thrilled,” says the London-based designer, who has collaborated with the likes of Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, past BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund winner Erdem Moralioğlu, and the Keith Haring Foundation. “Being awarded the fund will enable us to realize our plans to develop the brand globally.” The designer unveiled his first men’s collection, Nicholas Kirkwood Men’s, earlier this month in London.