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Britain Creates: Leading British fashion designers and artists collaborate to champion London 2012


The British Fashion Industry’s flagship artistic project for the Olympic & Paralympic Games

To celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games, our most prestigious and renowned fashion designers will collaborate with leading visual artists on specially commissioned one-off works of art. These commissions, focusing on an Olympic and Paralympic value, will be showcased to a broad UK and international audience through a major engagement programme that will support the commissions - a series of activities both actual and virtual that will reach a broad and diverse audience.

To date 14 artists and designers have signed up to the project including, Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Charming Baker, Sarah Burton, Hussein Chalayan, Giles Deacon, Jeremy Deller, Jess Flood-Paddock, Christopher Kane, Marc Quinn and Paul Smith. Further artists and designers and their pairings will be announced in autumn 2011.

Created and managed by the British Fashion Council / Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Mayor of London, this exciting new project will be a highlight of the London 2012 Festival, a UK festival which runs from 21 June to 9 September next year and is the culmination of the four year Cultural Olympiad.

The Britain Creates 2012 project will be the start of an ongoing artistic project and bursary to support and encourage further collaboration between fashion and other art forms. The money for the bursary will be raised through the auction of the pieces and through the proceeds of a Gala event.

The 2012 Commissions will bring together pairs of leading artists and fashion designers who will work together across different artistic mediums. Leading creative figures will bring the Olympic and Paralympic values to life through a project that will salute the longstanding connection between fashion and the visual arts and show that when great minds collide, amazing things happen.

The pieces will be unveiled in June 2012 at a Gala event in central London. They will then be exhibited to the public throughout the London 2012 Festival period. Further details will be announced by LOCOG in autumn 2011.

The Britain Creates 2012 Engagement Programme will encompass an exhibition of the work (both public and through a high profile Gala for an influential global audience) and a series of stimulating interactions from seminars to film.

Britain Creates 2012 has received a grant from the Arts Council and has raised funds from private donors. Monies raised from the Gala and from the auction of the pieces will create future fashion and visual arts bursaries. A bursary committee will allocate funding.

Harold Tillman CBE, BFC Chair said, “Those viewing the Britain Creates 2012 Commissions either in person or virtually and those reading about it subsequently will be in no doubt that Britain is the leading force in the global creative sphere.”

Moira Sinclair, London Executive Director, Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to be partners in Britain Creates 2012. This is one of a number of opportunities to present our creative talents on a global platform as we welcome the world to London next year. The spirit of collaboration that Britain Creates 2012 embodies is at the heart of a continued drive to explore new possibilities and push boundaries, which has kept this country at the forefront of artistic innovation.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ’With its innovative designers, cutting edge street style and catwalk pizzazz, it’s no wonder London has been voted fashion capital of the world. We want to show the city at its creative best in 2012 and these intriguing collaborations will bring together some of the most exciting designers and artists working in Britain today. I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing work that is as challenging as it is inventive, showing the power of creative collaboration and adding to a summer like no other.’

The Britain Creates 2012 project has been made possible by generous donations from private funders including Megha Mittal and Tania Fares. They have not only provided essential start up funding to get this project underway but also give valuable input on the working committee. The working committee is led by co-chairs Lucy Yeomans, editor of Bazaar and Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said: ’I’m delighted that London 2012 is inspiring a project that puts artistic collaboration at its heart. I genuinely can’t wait to see what extraordinary creations these leading fashion designers and visual artists will produce for the London 2012 Festival. And by generating funds to support a new generation of creatives, it will leave a great legacy.’

Editors Notes

1. The British Fashion Council (BFC) was set up in 1983 to promote British fashion internationally and co-ordinate this promotion through fashion weeks, exhibitions and showcasing events. The BFC now supports designers beginning at college level and extending to talent identification, business support and showcasing schemes to help British designer businesses develop their profiles and business globally and promote British fashion and its influential role in Creative Britain and Creative London. The BFC Colleges Council offers support to students through its MA Scholarship, links with industry through Design Competitions and Graduate Preview Day. Talent identification and business support schemes include the BFC/Elle Talent Launch Pad; BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund; Estethica; Fashion Forward sponsored by Coutts & Co; NEWGEN sponsored by Topshop and NEWGEN MEN sponsored by Topman. Showcasing initiatives include London Fashion Week, LONDON show ROOMS and the BFC/Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation and the annual celebration of excellence in the fashion industry: the British Fashion Awards
2. BFC is grateful to the Britain Creates working party who has given extensive time and expertise to get this project off the ground – Lucy Yeomans, Jane Boardman, Jane Lawson, Nick Jones, Heather Kerzner and Valeria Napeleone. The BFC team on the working party include Clara Mercer, Jenico Preston, Louise Carter.
3. The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation. Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. For more details visit


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