As the inaugural winner he will be provided with a 150,000 pound grant to provide the “necessary infrastructure” to take his label to the next stage of his business, as well as a year-long mentoring scheme worth around 50,000 pounds.
At the award ceremony Liverpool-born Shannon couldn’t believe that he had won telling GQ: “There were so many people pushing for that prize - and who pushed me to go for it - and I have always considered myself as somewhat anti-establishment, but now people have started recognising my work for what it is. That's really rewarding."
He also dedicated his award to his former teacher, the recently departed Louise Wilson, who gave Shannon a scholarship to study on her Fashion MA course at Central St Martin's.
Commenting on the winner, LC:M’s Dylan Jones said: “A big congratulations to Christopher Shannon, the deserving winner of the very first BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund. Over the mentoring programme every shortlisted designer presented a level of talent and business acumen that is second to none.
“While the competition was tough, Christopher Shannon’s win attests to the very bright future of British menswear, demonstrating original flair, meticulous craftsmanship and an in-depth commercial understanding. These ingredients, combined with this fantastic prize, will see this business sit confidently on the global stage.”
BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund announces inaugural winner
The fund was established in September 2013 and follows the success of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, which has been awarded to the likes of Peter Pilotto, Nicholas Kirkwood, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane and Erdem. Each nominee of the menswear fund has been participated in a mentoring programme where industry experts, including Fund committee members Ben Banks and Jonathan Akeroyd have provided guidance on topics including strategic planning, branding, leadership, commercial retail, e-tail and wholesale and digital innovation.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, added: “We’re delighted to award this year’s fund to Christopher Shannon. The label has a strong identity, a clear business plan and has been creating a buzz at London Collections: Men since its inception. A deserving winner and already a key player in the menswear industry, it’s with great pleasure that we are able to further support this fashion business on its journey to international success.”
Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of Vertu commented: “It has been a privilege for Vertu to mentor the five shortlisted designers. What we at Vertu were looking for was the willingness to always go the extra mile, the ambition to develop the business and the brand at the same time, and the enthusiasm to keep on learning.
“With Christopher Shannon this was clear from the start. He demonstrated the vision and focus to build what I believe could be a global presence. Christopher Shannon has all the potential to build a very solid and distinctive brand and I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of him.”
Image: Massimiliano Pogliani, Christopher Shannon, Caroline Rush and Dylan Jones – taken by Darren Gerrish