this is why we need to support creativity now more than ever

Matty Bovan, Supriya Lele and Per Götesson join the 2018 NEWGEN line-up alongside ones-to-watch Bianca Saunders and Paria Farzaneh and they are issuing a creative call-to-arms.

by Steve Salter
03 May 2018, 11:28am

Britain has long led the way when it comes to nurturing, supporting and promoting young talent, from education right through to establishing their brands on a global scale. How? Through initiatives like NEWGEN. Since its inception in 1993, the sponsorship and support scheme has continually evolved and continued to excite season after season, year after year. In 25 years, it has helped 244 designers, From Alexander McQueen to Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane to Christopher Shannon and JW Anderson to Wales Bonner, NEWGEN has acted as a promotional launch pad for London's designers to go take on and conquer the world. As the BFC announce that it has raised over £2.2million over the last twelve months, its charities and business support initiatives are going to be pushed further than they ever have before.

“Across women’s, menswear and now, accessories, NEWGEN is a snapshot of the best and most innovative young fashion talent this country has to offer,” Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chair of the NEWGEN Committee, explained in a statement. “Amongst this cohort, there are designers speaking up about things that matter -- their identities, sustainability and ethical behaviour. They’re a super-inspiring generation; and we are incredibly grateful to all the experts who devote their time and advice to helping them achieve in business.” This new generation of designers are fighting for inclusivity and challenging the system. For women’s, Yorkshire-born-and-based rainbow-coloured creative multi-hyphenate Matty Bovan and recent Fashion East-graduate and British-Asian cultural explorer Supriya Lele join Halpern, Paula Knorr, Richard Malone, and Richard Quinn. After his triumphant solo debut inside the Tony Hornecker transformed Soho-based store Machine-A, Per Götesson joins i-D favourites A-COLD-WALL*, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Kiko Kostadinov, Liam Hodges, Nicholas Daley, Phoebe English and Wales Bonner to complete the men’s line-up. Launched to nurture the next generation, ones-to-watch support has been awarded to London-born-and-raised RCA graduate Bianca Saunders and Hull-born, London-based Ravensbourne graduate Pariah Farzaneh so both talents can push their sartorial investigations into their dual heritages -- British-Iranian and British-West Indian respectively -- and continue to challenge misconceptions about their realities. As we celebrate their addition to the line-up, each talent issues a rallying call-to-arms to ensure the capital’s creativity thrives beyond Brexit, austerity and attacks on arts education.

Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch, styling Bojana Kozarevic. Jessica wears shirt and trousers Supriya Lele, earrings Husam El Odeh

Supriya Lele
“It feels amazing, I’m really happy to be part of such a prestigious initiative. NEWGEN to me means the extension of support for my brand from an ever growing fashion family! Most of the obstacles we face as emerging designers are financial -- high rent, lack of space -- because we are living in an very expensive city but setting up your own brand is not only financially very difficult but the personal support that these platforms provide is also invaluable. We always need funding but it would be great to see more initiatives/support systems for creatives.

Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch, styling Bojana Kozarevic. Lily and Emma wear all clothing Matty Bovan. Earrings stylist’s own, stockings Atsuko Kudo.

Matty Bovan
“I’m so excited for this opportunity. It's great to receive vital contribution to my show and be part of the BFC NEWGEN family with my peers, who I respect and admire so much. We have individuals with their own point of view and not have everything run by these huge corporations, so that London (and other cities) doesn't get eaten up by them.”

Per Götesson
“Having come from Sweden to do my MA at the Royal College of Art, I have experienced London as a very open city, that is always ready to embrace cultural influences from all over, which is part of why I wanted to come here in the first place. My work draws heavily on me observing people and what they wear. Schemes like NEWGEN shine a light on the cultural richness that is so unique to London. London needs to stay attractive for people to come here and study and set up their businesses. I almost cannot imagine that Brexit would change that and I am really happy to see the BFC continuing its work to foster talent and give it a voice on an international stage. I also feel this is where we as designers have a role to play in sharing this cultural richness within our work.”

Bianca Saunders
“I’m so happy to be a part of it all. I had an instinctive feeling that NEWGEN was the right move for me. It’s quite intimidating coming after all these great designers who have paved the way and made a success of themselves. But I am ready for the challenge and to just show more of what I can do, to push boundaries! The biggest obstacle we face is self doubt -- it’s the biggest time waster. Everyone’s always hard on themselves when they are working on something but it’s all about brushing it off and continuing to just keep going for it. There’s no way I could have continued developed my brand without the support. I wish there was more help out there and that the government valued the arts more. Fashion/art is very classist, it’s very difficult to continue with creating if you can't afford it. As a designer there is only so much and do far you can go on your own. It requires a lot of your time and to put your full energy into. When it comes to learning the business side of fashion a lot of programmes are not out there. There are a lot of new concepts/ideas that are popping up to help new designers/creatives but they still expect you to have money yourself to invest in it. To push things further forward, government support is needed.”

Paria Farzaneh
“Initiatives like NEWGEN are so vital especially in this modern day society, where a lot of young creatives are lost without support and don't know how to take the next steps on being really serious about a career in this industry. Support should continue and be widened. There are so many artists, creatives and people who have something they want to say but unfortunately it becomes difficult when it comes to financial support, breaking through and getting people to actually listen is difficult, especially when there is not a platform to do so. It's always easier if you 'know' someone, but this is not the case for everyone, and it shouldn't have to be like this. Being able to be creative should be accessible to everyone. We are watching the reigns of power change as the internet and social media phenomenon is starting to come to the boil now and it was once so unlikely.”

per gotesson
matty bovan
supriya lele
Bianca Saunders
Paria Farzaneh