What Happened at the Fashion Awards 2021?
The Fashion Awards, presented by TikTok, returned to London last night. Rolling out the red carpet for industry regulars including Anna Wintour, Alexa Chung and Edward Enninful, there was also an interactive virtual experience for those at home. Our answer to America's CFDA awards, the Fashion Awards is the British Fashion Council's biggest money-maker for supporting emerging talent through various funds. It also recognises the names shaping fashion today. In other words, it's a big deal. Last night's proceedings honoured fashion greats and newcomers alike, whilst also paying tribute to the late Virgil Abloh.
Billy Porter played host, and made a rather fabulous entrance to the Royal Albert Hall with dancers decked out in British designer Richard Quinn. Elsewhere on the red carpet Billy Piper was a fashion duchesse in Vivienne Westwood, Winnie Harlow took Moncler by 1951 to new glamorous heights, Dua Lipa repped London's rising star Maximilian, Drag Race UK star Tayce served Demna Gvsalia's Balenciaga, and TikTok star Addison Rae, Richard Quinn. Kris Jenner made a somewhat surprising appearance wearing Tommy Hilfiger, to whom she later presented the Outstanding Achievement Award.
The ceremony opened with a moving tribute by actor Idris Elba to Abloh. The Off-White and Louis Vuitton designer passed away on Sunday, and was named as one of the 15 Leaders of Change at the awards, with his pre-recorded speech played to the audience.
The awards were noticeably trimmed down this year, leaving more space to focus on the winners and their achievements. Designer of the Year went to Kim Jones for Dior Men's and Fendi womenswear and couture. Alessandro Michele was honoured as a Trailblazer for his work at Gucci. He has transformed the brand since taking to the helm at 2015, making it into a mixing pot for art, music and film, whilst also being one of the first in the industry to challenge gender constructs at a mainstream level.
Flying the flag for London fashion, Irish designer Simone Rocha was awarded the Independent British Brand Award, and newcomer Nensi Dojaka the BFC Foundation Award. Dojaka is well on her way to becoming one of fashion's most popular new talents; earlier this year she was awarded the LVMH Prize. Her latest win will see her receive financial and mentorship support from across the BFC Foundation community.
Stylist and editor extraordinaire Ib Kamara received the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. Kamara's recognisable yet distinct aesthetic and images created with photographers Kristin-Lee Moolman and Rafael Pavarotti have imprinted themselves onto the global fashion scene. Also styling for brands including Erdem and Louis Vuitton, since taking on the role of editor-in-chief at Dazed in January 2021, Kamara has pushed fashion to question itself. He's put Covid vaccine queues on the cover, as well as Rihanna and Harry Styles like we've never quite seen them before. Elsewhere in publishing, former GQ editor-in-chief Dylan Jones won the Special Recognition Award for Culture Commentary.
Alongside Abloh, Leaders of Change were announced across three categories: Environment, People and Creativity.
Environment: Bethany Williams, Gabriela Hearst for Chloé and Gabriela Hearst, Phoebe English, Priya Ahluwalia and Stella McCartney.
Creativity: Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson and Loewe, Kim Jones for Dior Men's and Fendi womenswear and couture, Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton Men and Off-White.
People: Edward Enninful, Harris Reed, Kenya Hunt, Samuel Ross and Telfar Clemens.
You can also explore this year's New Wave Creatives list here.
The awards also recognised the work of Fashion East, the London fashion talent incubator launched by Lulu Kennedy over 20 years ago, which nurtured many of the night's winners including Dojaka, Maximilian, Rocha, Anderson and Jones.
Those not in attendance will be able to experience the red carpet virtually on the gaming platform Roblox, complete with Gucci digital assets to buy. The immersive experience brings a new dimension to the awards, reflecting fashion's digital future, which was celebrated with the first Fashion Award for Metaverse Design, of which cSapphire was the winner.
All recipients were given a trophy designed by last year's New Wave Creative Jabez Barlett, produced by 3D printing design specialist Nagami, created out of Parley Ocean Plastic©.