Awards in the fashion industry tend to focus on the namesake designers that helm major brands, those who are often in the public eye for their creative ingenuity. But this year, the British Fashion Council and Swarovski are highlighting those who often don't get the spotlight, through their newly launched Changemakers Prize

The finalists were nominated by colleagues, peers, employers and businesses that felt that these individuals were actively changing the industry for the better. After receiving over 500 applications, the judging panel – that includes BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush, and Swarovski Creative Director Giovanna Engelbert, as well as many other fashion aficionados – narrowed it down to nine finalists.

But who are they? Well, instead of focusing on what they do, the finalists have each been picked for their industry contributions. In the People section – one of the three that the award highlights – sits a hair-stylist whose passionate about inclusivity, Cyndia Harvey; co-founders of Zebedee Talent Agency, Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor, who represent models with disabilities and visible differences; and designer, filmmaker and campaigner, Rahemur Rahman, who focuses on representing the British Bangladeshi communities in London and transgender rights in Bangladesh. The three Environment nominees are paving the way for eco-friendly fashion, whether it's through up-cycling vintage, the way John Hickling does with Glass Onion; ensuring circularity, as do the founders of Stay Wild Swim, Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk; or through education, Sustainability Design Director for Pinko, Patrick McDowell provides mentorship in sustainable practices through the Graduate Fashion Foundation. And finally, Andrew Kenny, the founder of The London Embroidery Studio, whose merging modern technologies with traditional craft; brand ambassador of Iceberg, Cozette McCreery, for being an integral member of the Emergency Designer Network; and The Deck London founder – which is the first solely-female shop front in Saville Row history – Daisy Knatchbull, all sit under the last section, Community & Craftmanship. 

Three winners, one from each pillar will find out if they've won the £7500 cash prize and mentoring package, that offers support from the BFC and Swarovski to continue their good work, on Thursday September 2nd.  With so much talent to choose from, we're thankful we don't have to make that tricky decision!

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