Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 29 May 2020

Syrian designer Nabil Nayal among labels to receive emergency funding from the British Fashion Council

The selected brands will receive up to £50,000 each to help their businesses overcome the pandemic's financial implications

Nabil Nayal's namesake fashion label is set to receive financial support from the British Fashion Council. Instagram / Nabil Nayal
Nabil Nayal's namesake fashion label is set to receive financial support from the British Fashion Council. Instagram / Nabil Nayal

Fashion is just one of the many industries that has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, with brands hit by closed stores and shuttered ateliers.

However, the British Fashion Council has stepped up to offer financial support to a number of UK labels in a bid to help them ride out the pandemic's wave.

Among the 37 labels selected to benefit from the council's grant is Nabil Nayal, a Syrian-born designer who rose to fame with his voluminous, architectural silhouettes.

Nayal, who was born in Aleppo and moved to London aged 14, is known for fusing Elizabethan aesthetics with modern ­technology, with his collections praised by the likes of the late Karl Lagerfeld.

As part of the BFC grant, which totals £1 million (Dh4.84m), the selected British-owned labels will receive up to £50,000 each, as well as mentoring from industry leaders.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen an astonishing amount of applications come through from British designer businesses all over the country, asking for help to survive the crisis. The need for support is immense,” says Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, in a statement. “Our hope is to reopen the fund for future rounds, to help as many businesses as possible, and ensure the future growth and success of the British fashion industry.”

The BFC said designers were chosen based on their business’ urgency to receive the support and their “capability to come through and thrive post-crisis".

In total, more than 200 applications were received, with labels successfully securing grants including David Koma, Halpern, Rejina Pyo, Richard Quinn and Roksanda.

Matty Bovan, Richard Malone, Chalayan, Nicholas Daley and Phoebe English are also among the recipients.

Also among the 37 labels selected is Paria Farzaneh, a menswear designer who draws on her parents' Iranian heritage in her creations, using intricate prints across modern separates.

Syrian-born designer Nabil Nayal won the acclaim of designer Karl Lagerfeld. Getty Images
Syrian-born designer Nabil Nayal won the acclaim of designer Karl Lagerfeld. Getty Images

Nayal, meanwhile, studied at the Royal College of Art, using his passion for Elizabethan craftsmanship – most apparent in his use of pleats – to inspire his MA collection, which was purchased by luxury department store Harrods.

He made his London Fashion Week debut in 2011, and was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize in 2015 and 2017.

In 2015, after showing his collection at Paris's Haute Couture Week, Lagerfeld snapped up a white shirt from Nayal.

The German designer, who was the creative director of Chanel until his death in 2019, apparently exclaimed, on seeing the collection, “I love it! I love it! I love it!”, according to Nayal.

The designer has not yet commented on the BFC grant, but said in his most recent Instagram post that the pandemic should be a time for "reflection".

"The somewhat limiting fashion paradigm in which we find ourselves confined has become ever clearer during this time; a time which we should all be using as a period of reflection, to gain momentum and find new definitions of fashion; as individuals and as a collective; as designers and as businesses," Nayal wrote. "We, as young creatives, must rise to the challenge of change."

Updated: May 14, 2020 12:49 PM

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