At London’s Royal Albert Hall, the British Fashion Awards made an in-presence come back yesterday after last year’s pandemic lockout. The British Fashion Council annually organizes this event, which this year was developed in partnership with social media platform TikTok

Text by: Domenico Costantini 

The Fashion Awards presented by TikTok is a fundraiser for the BFC Foundation which supports the future growth and success of the British fashion industry by focusing on Talent, Education, Grant-Giving and Business Mentoring and aims to improve equality and opportunity so that the fashion industry remains diverse and open to all, helping talented designers at all stages of their career from school level through to becoming a global fashion brand.

The event celebrates fashion’s role at the intersection of culture while recognising the exceptional individuals whose imagination and creativity have broken new ground in fashion globally over the past 12 months, and brands and businesses that have transformed the possibilities of fashion today.

The evening, hosted by Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning, and Golden Globe-nominated actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright Billy Porter, celebrated fifteen Leaders of Change, two Awards, four Special Recognition Awards and a new Fashion Award for Metaverse Design.

The Fashion Awards 2021 opened with a tribute for the late Virgil Abloh by British actor Idris Elba who recited ‘When Great Trees Fall’, a poem by Maya Angelou.

“And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”


Idris Elba: A Tribute to Virgil Abloh

The Fashion Awards nominees and winners are voted for by an international judging panel of industry experts of over 1000 people.

The Fashion Awards presented by TikTok 2021 Winners

Designer of the Year: Kim Jones for Dior Men and Fendi

BFC Foundation Award: Nensi Dojaka

Independent British Brand: Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha

Special Recognition Award for Culture Commentary: Dylan Jones

Leaders of Change

The 15 designers, brands, creatives, and individuals who created positive change within the fashion industry this past year under three categories: Environment, People and Creativity.


Recognises designers and brands who made a global impact in the past years through their creativity in design, campaigns, collaborations and firm business foundation as well as defined the shape of global fashion.

  • Alessandro Michele for Gucci
  • Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga
  • Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson & LOEWE
  • Kim Jones OBE for Dior Men & Fendi
  • Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton Men & Off-White


Celebrates those who have made a significant contribution towards reducing the environmental impact of our industry to create positive change. They are the leaders and are setting the bar by exploring new business models, design principles, production processes, consumption, and disposal.

  • Bethany Williams for Bethany Williams
  • Gabriela Hearst for Chloé & Gabriela Hearst
  • Phoebe English for Phoebe English
  • Priya Ahluwalia for Ahluwalia
  • Stella McCartney OBE for Stella McCartney


Recognises those who have led change by encouraging equal, diverse, empowered workforces from head office to supply chain and shop floor. It focuses on the impact fashion has on communities.

  • Edward Enninful OBE
  • Harris Reed
  • Kenya Hunt
  • Samuel Ross
  • Telfar Clemens

Outstanding Achievement Award: Tommy Hilfiger

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: IB Kamara

Trailblazer Award: Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Fashion Award for Metaverse Design: cSapphire

The evening also included a number of Special Celebrations that showcased fashion’s role in culture at its best.

CHANEL was recognised for its pioneering commitment to arts and culture. Since it was founded, CHANEL has championed new art forms, supported pathbreakers, and catalysed collaborations, believing in the transformative power of artists. With the launch of the podcast series CHANEL Connects, the CHANEL Culture Fund and the CHANEL Next Prize, the House is extending its century long commitment to the freedom of creation and reaffirming the potential of artists to imagine ‘the next’.

The Fashion Awards also paid tribute to Fashion East, and its talent and community from the past 20 years. Fashion East and Lulu Kennedy have cemented London’s tradition of being ahead of the curve; incubating, mentoring and platforming new design talent as they launch their brands while creating a space with no divisible lines between fashion, nightlife, and art, as well as conversations on gender, race, and sexuality.

As well as celebrating the incredible talents working in the fashion industry, The Fashion Awards also recognised the incredible legacy of pop and style icon, Kylie Minogue who performed Slow x Love To Love You Baby, The Infinite Disco version.