Smiley Originals has launched its first bi-annual Future Creators Fund to support designers in their sustainability journey at major fashion weeks this season.
The 500,000-pound fund and mentorship scheme was born out of Smiley Originals ‘Future Positive’ sustainability initiative and is linked to its partnership with the United Nations to deliver UN-SDG Goal 12 regarding responsible production and consumption.
The fund has been designed to help “gaming-changing designers,” explains Smiley, by supporting them to switch to “a better, more responsible and circular the ideology of design, sourcing and manufacture”.
Smiley will assist the chosen designers through its network of sustainable fabrication partnerships, to lower fabric minimums for these fabrics, label and packaging manufacturing and financial support to purchase circular and sustainable fabrics and finishes where required.
Ahluwalia and Chet-Lo among recipients of Smiley Originals first Future Creators Fund
The first intake of designers that have been allocated funds includes London-based Ahluwalia, Chet-Lo and AGR, alongside Kevin Germanier showing in Paris, and South African Rich Mnisi and Shutting Qiu from China presenting at Milan Fashion Week. Each will receive brackets of 25,000 pounds and upwards.
The funds will be used to support their overall business operations, manufacturing, and sourcing, as well as additional funding and mentorship across marketing, digital, social and retail.
Each of the designers has also collaborated with Smiley Originals on a capsule clothing and accessories collection that is 100 percent sustainable and/or circular. The collaboration will see each designer incorporating their “unique interpretation” of the iconic Smiley face symbol in their autumn/winter 2023 collections.
Nicolas Loufrani, chief executive and founder of Smiley Originals, said in a statement: “I’m incredibly proud to support these young designers in their journey towards building a more sustainable future.
“It's an opportunity for us to showcase sustainability through a new lens with directional garment design at the centre, developing best practices that our global manufacturing partners will hopefully follow. If we all play our part, we can make the future positive.”
In addition, Smiley has also announced a partnership with Labelhood, the fashion incubator and showcasing platform under Shanghai Fashion Week, which promotes emerging Chinese design talent.
Submissions for the September 2023 Future Creators Fund will be open from April 1.