The British Fashion Council’s 2021 Fashion Award was held in bleak circumstances Monday night. This was less than 24 hours after the tragic news that Virgil Abloh, a designer, had died from cancer.
Actor IdrisElba opened the awards by paying tribute to the designer. She then read a Maya Angelou poem titled “When Great Trees Falls” in front of screens that displayed Virgil Abloh’s portrait.
Off-White’s founder and designer, was also recognized at the awards as one of the 15 “leaders of Change”. These are designers, brands and creatives who, according to the British Fashion Council, have “created positive changes within the fashion industry in the past year” to improve the environment, people, and creativity.
The British Fashion Council stated that Abloh was “the true embodiment of creativity” and that his work combined music, fashion, graphic design, architecture and product design “without compromising upon radiant human energy”.
He was a champion of inclusivity and philanthropy in all disciplines throughout his career. Abloh redefined fashion design with Off-White. At Louis Vuitton Men he didn’t just make luxury relevant to culture, but he made it cultural,” said the organizers.
Abloh was recognized under the ‘creativity’ category for having made a worldwide impact over the past year for Off-White Men and Louis Vuitton Men. He was also joined by Alessandro Michele from Gucci, Demna Gavasalia for Balenciaga and Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson and Loewe, and Kim Jones for Dior Men & Fendi.
The awards were presented to Bethany Williams, Gabriela Hearst For Chloe, Gabriela Hearst For Gabriela Hearst, Phoebe English and Stella McCartney for ‘environment’. In the ‘people category’, awards were presented to those who led change through encouraging equal, diverse and empowered workforces, including Edward Enninful of Vogue, Harris Reed, Kenya Hunt and Samuel Ross, as well as Telfar Clemens.
Kim Jones is named the designer of the Year at The Fashion Awards
Kim Jones was also awarded the designer of the Year award for his work with Dior Men, Fendi. This was timely, as Jones will be showcasing his Dior Men resort collection at London’s Fashion Week in December.
Nensi Didjaka won another major award. Nensi Dojaka, the emerging designer who was named September’s LVMH Prize winner, has won the BFC Foundation Award. Simone Roche, the label’s tenth anniversary, was awarded the Independent British Brand award.
At the Albert Hall, there were also previously announced awards, including the Outstanding Achievement Award for Tommy Hilfiger, The Isabella Blow Award Fashion Creator to stylist and Dazed editor in chief Ibrahim Kamara, and the Trailblazer Award for Alessandro Michele of Gucci. CSapphire was awarded the Fashion Award for Metaverse Design.
The British Fashion Council stated that the evening featured several special celebrations that “showcased fashion’s role in culture at it’s best”. The event recognized Chanel’s “pioneering commitment towards arts and culture” through a performance by Lil Buck, a dancer, actor, and model.
Fashion East was also honored by the Fashion Awards. Its talent and community over the past 20 years were also celebrated. Lulu Kennedy, the founder, was also praised for her “ahead-of-the curve” approach to incubating, mentoring, and promoting new talent in a space that has no dividing lines between fashion and nightlife. There were also conversations about gender, race and sexuality.