Meet The Three Winners Of The 2021 BFC Changemakers Award

·3-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

Each month ELLE UK puts a spotlight on fashion creatives. This month, we speak to Cyndia Harvey, Andrew Kenny and John Hickling who are 2021's BFC Changemakers.

The past year has been a tough one for emerging creatives. With the pandemic proving an obstacle to many, the British Fashion Council stepped in with a new Changemakers Prize (in collaboration with Swarovski, and part of the Institute of Positive Fashion).

With it they offered a £7,500 cash prize and 12-month mentorship for three winners. Judged by Caroline Rush, Munroe Bergdorf and ELLE UK’s editor-in-chief Farrah Storr, the winners’ work will, in Swarovski creative director Giovanna Engelbert’s words: ‘Have a lasting impact and succeed in creating a new, positive narrative in fashion.'

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

Cyndia Harvey - Winner of the People Changemaker Prize

Cyndia Harvey, 34, pledged her £7,500 prize money to Mentoring Matters – a scheme that connects fashion industry insiders with mentees from under-represented communities – before she even knew she had won.

Having struggled herself to find a way into the infamously exclusive world of fashion, Harvey is dedicated to, in her words, ‘democratising’ the industry: ‘The barrier of entry is really difficult, [and] there are so many talented people out there.’

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

After five years spent working her way up from a junior assistant to a stylist on the floor of an afro hair salon, Harvey made her way into the competitive world of high-fashion hairstyling, becoming Sam McKnight’s first assistant. Since then she has created a viral short film, This Hair of Mine, and become a world-renowned session stylist in her own right.

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

Andrew Kenny - Winner of the Community & Craftsmanship Changemaker Prize

‘My story of entering the world of fashion is typical as a gay, small-town Northerner: desperate to hit the Big Smoke and enter an industry where I can be accepted,’ says Kenny, 38, who runs the London Embroidery Studio.

And accepted he has been, with his workshop creating bespoke embroidery for Dior. But he has stayed true to his roots, crediting his GCSE textile teacher, Mrs Midgley, as the person who helped him ‘engage with textiles in a way that I had never done before’, and his father for his socialist ideals.

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

Running an ethical business with a community outreach programme, he says, ‘Being a changemaker is threefold: sustaining craft processes and locally held skills, investing in new technology, and aiming to be socially responsible though our education programme.’

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

John Hickling - Winner of the Environment Changemaker Prize

Starting with a small eBay store selling charity shop and Barnsley market finds 16 years ago, and now grading 20,000kg a week of vintage and reworked clothing to be sold on its own website and physical shop in Sheffield, John Hickling’s Glass Onion Vintage is at the forefront of the secondhand retail boom.

Set to overtake fast fashion by 2030, the resale market as a whole helps solve the problem of overproduction and waste – and 39-year-old Hickling’s plan is for his company to be a big part of that revolution.

Photo credit: Courtesy of brand
Photo credit: Courtesy of brand

‘We have to be creative with used fabric,’ he says. ‘We have to inspire and excite consumers with great products. It is down to the designers, brands and retailers to make the change – consumers will then follow.’

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting