• Publish date: Thursday، 02 March 2023


Following the success of the inaugural Vanguard Education Fund in 2022, NET-A-PORTER continues its mentorship scheme in partnership with the British Fashion Council (BFC), building on its long-term commitment to nurturing a diverse and representative mix of talent.

NET-A-PORTER reveals the influential mentors taking part in the fund for 2023: designers Priya Ahluwalia, founder and creative director of Ahluwalia, Elin Kling, co-founder and creative director of TOTEME, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, founders of Coperni; founder of Up Next Designer, Albert Ayal; fashion consultant and entrepreneur, Yoyo Cao; fashion editor and consultant, Camille Charrière; NET-A-PORTER’s content director Alice Casely-Hayford, and senior market editor, Libby Page.

The Vanguard Education Fund sees NET-A-PORTER engage with the BFC’s network of UK-based universities alongside NET-A-PORTER’s network of international universities, to support students as they embark on their professional journeys and gain a foothold in the fashion industry. The fund will be open to final-year students studying at UK universities within the BFC Colleges Council and selected international institutions (Parsons School of Design and ESMOD) across multidisciplinary courses, from fashion and design to ceramics, fine art, photography, and jewelry.

In May, four winners will be selected and awarded a £12,500 bursary each and paired with two of the fund’s influential mentors for the academic year, selected to complement the students’ individual ambitions. In addition, NET-A-PORTER has invested in the specialized training and access to the cutting-edge 3D software CLO, covering all associated costs for the students for one year, equipping them with skills to design for the metaverse.

“At a pivotal moment with challenges lying ahead for next generation of emerging designers, the Vanguard Education Fund provides much needed mentorship and financial support to students who may not otherwise have been able to go on to practise design. With young shoppers increasingly seeking new and diverse brands, there remains lots of opportunity and nascent talent should feel encouraged and optimistic about the future.” – Libby Page, Market Director, NET-A-PORTER.

“Our partnership with NET-A-PORTER on the Vanguard Education Fund provides tangible resources that offer robust pathways to support talent at different stages of business. With inflation levels above the national average, talk of a possible recession and growing concerns about how the cost-of-living crisis will impact the creative industries, now more than ever, it is important that we continue to strengthen and protect the pipeline of talent to the industry, future-proofing emerging design talent who are leading the way in creativity, innovation, and positive business.” – Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council.

Quotes from The Vanguard Education Fund Mentors:

Priya Ahluwalia, fashion designer, founder and creative director of Ahluwalia

“In 2023, the landscape for emerging designers is really positive because of initiatives like the Vanguard Education Fund and great support from the British Fashion Council. At the same time, it can be difficult for young talent to start a business due to economic pressures. The good thing is that there are so many opportunities to create collectives and collaborations – and thanks to the internet, young designers have the power to market themselves in ways that weren’t possible 10 years ago.”

Albert Ayal, founder of Up Next Designer

“Emerging designers are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve from stylists and editors. Back in the day, stylists would typically pull looks from the more established brands. Now, we’re really seeing a shift in their approach. It’s very promising to see top-shelf talent searching for cool pieces from young designers, and I think up-and-coming brands will have an advantage in 2023.”

Yoyo Cao, fashion consultant and entrepreneur

“With what has been going on in the world these past few years, a slowdown is expected, but that may actually work in the favor of young talent. Emerging designers who can offer fresh concepts is exactly what the fashion industry needs to bring about a renewed sense of excitement and allow us to look at the familiar in unexpected ways.”

Camille Charrière, fashion editor and consultant

“My best advice for young designers is to have patience – it’s normal not to have everything figured out yet. You will change your mind a million times to grow, evolve, and make mistakes while facing challenges throughout your career. Keep going – hard work and finding your own niche will make you stand out.”

Alice Casely-Hayford, content director at NET-A-PORTER

“It’s essential that we nurture and make generous space for the talent of tomorrow as they are the future of fashion. Historically, the industry has been an exclusive and impenetrable place, but the welcoming of creatives from all different backgrounds has been a wonderful thing to witness. Similarly, it has been exciting to see the next generation of fashion prioritising sustainability, inclusivity, and authenticity in their craft, so it is paramount that we help the new gen bring their vision to life in a meaningful way.”

Applications Close: March 3, 2023

Winners Announcement: September 2023