Ahead of the UK Fashion and Textile Awards, to take place in London next week, we ask finalists from the lingerie and beachwear industries How it feels to be shortlisted.
The annual UK Fashion and Textile (UKFT) Awards will take place in London this month, and this time around, the lingerie industry has a big reason to celebrate.
For the first time, the Brand Award has been split into four sub-categories, honouring great British brands across menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and lingerie and beachwear – a decision that has led to a 40% increase in entrants on last year, according to organisers.
The UKFT re-launched its awards in 2013, in what was one of the biggest celebrations for the fashion and textile industry.
The new-look ceremony, formerly known as the Export Awards, reached across the industry to a greater effect, awarding the personalities and the successes that relate to the designers and manufacturers generally, rather than solely focusing on the export market.
But, something was missing, UKFT CEO John Miln tells Lingerie Insight. “We learned that we were probably missing opportunities, as indeed were the companies, and that there were some genuine great news stories amongst the brand structure that kind of got submerged, because you had a big pool to choose from and therefore it was a very difficult for the judges to decide who should win,” he adds.
“So we decided that it was more appropriate to expand the categories in order to allow the opportunity for the businesses within their own right to get recognition within their own categories.”
The finalists of the 2014 UKFT Awards were announced last month and the lingerie and swimwear industry is well represented across the board.
Beautiful Bottoms, Curvy Kate and Olivia von Halle have all been shortlisted for a UKFT Brand Award in the Lingerie & Beachwear category, while Okun Beachwear is one of three apparel designers hoping to pick up the Rise Award, which recognises emerging talent.
Meanwhile, Damaris has been shortlisted for a Business Designer Award. The brand designs Damaris lingerie, as well as Mimi Holliday and Max Holliday collections.
Ahead of the ceremony, to take place at East London’s Tobacco Dock on May 22, we caught up with these brands to ask what it means to them to be shortlisted for a UKFT Award.
Okun Beachwear: Rise Award finalist
Other finalists in this category: Hentsch Man, Native Youth
“To be recognised and shortlisted by such a prestigious panel is truly an honour. To think that each person on the panel has read about our brand and our journey and believes we are in a position to ‘Rise’ is incredible. We certainly feel that we are rising and are continuing to do so with the support and expert advice we receive from being part of the UKFT network. When we look at the other brands shortlisted throughout the categories, we feel proud, as we are now sitting beside brands we recognise for their creativity and international scope. It is important to celebrate success in the fashion and textile industry and the UKFT Awards highlight the best of what the new and established brands are achieving. This in turn generates all-important international recognition. It is a fantastic seal of approval by the industry we work in, and everyone likes a good party and a reason to dress up.”
Founder and creative director Bola Marquis
Olivia von Halle: Brand Award – Lingerie & Beachwear finalist
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for the UKFT Lingerie and Beachwear Brand Award. We have had another incredible year, grown our business exponentially and it is humbling to be recognised by the UK Fashion and Textiles industry in this way. Competition is stiff though and we are just really happy to be nominated, especially since we are such a young brand.”
Founder and designer Olivia von Halle
Curvy Kate: Brand Award – Lingerie & Beachwear finalist
“Curvy Kate is thrilled to be shortlisted for Brand Award in the UKFT Awards. As a relatively new company, Curvy Kate has been guided by the UKFT, giving helpful advice to help us grow and build as a brand. It is fantastic to be recognised for everything that we have achieved in the four years since our launch. There are so many talented, fresh and innovative companies that have been nominated and it’s an honour to be named alongside these. It is also a great to accomplishment for the intimate industry to see several lingerie brands in the shortlist too. The UKFT Awards recognises the hard work put in by all areas of the business, so this is something for us all to celebrate.”
PR and marketing manager Hannah Houston
Damaris: Designer Business Award finalist
Other finalists in this category: House of Holland, Matthew Miller
“We are so honoured to have been shortlisted for the UKFT Designer Business Award. It is such a pleasure to be acknowledged for the amazing work of not only our UK head office team, but also of our agents and distributors worldwide who have contributed so much to our phenomenal growth over the last few years. This is the perfect time for us as a brand to be a part of the awards, as export for Mimi Holliday has absolutely exploded, particularly across Germany and the Benelux market. For example, we’ve seen growth from six stores in 2011, to 144 today, in Germany alone. It is so exciting for a proudly-British lingerie brand to be gaining such traction internationally based on the core beliefs of imagination, colour and fit. This is the second time we’ve been a part of these great awards, and we found the process of being involved to be wonderful for the brand. The UKFT is such a respected body, with a strong and involved commitment to supporting the fashion and textiles industries in the UK.”
Head of PR and marketing Sarah Jenkins
Beautiful Bottoms: Brand Award – Lingerie & Beachwear finalist
“We are thrilled to be nominated for the UKFT Award in the lingerie and beachwear category. This is a huge honour and we are crossing our fingers! The UKFT Awards is a prestigious celebration of the UK fashion industry so to have been chosen as a finalist and recognised for our designs amongst other wonderful brands is really rewarding. The journey over the last four years has been up and down, but we have always stuck to our vision to design lingerie, lounge and resort wear, which combine contemporary aesthetics with vibrant colours, prints and accessibility. Over the past five years, the advice and help from the UKFT has been invaluable, from help with trade shows to advice on trademarks, and general assistance within our industry. This support has enabled us to grow more successfully in a short amount of time. Therefore, having applied and been put through to the final three for this award has been an achievement in itself for us.”
Co-founder Lauren Skerrit