Shortly after celebrating its 50th anniversary, Smiley Originals launched its brand new Future Creators Fund, a £500,000 (approx. world fashion weeks.
Born out of Smiley’s sustainability initiative with the United Nations (which aims to achieve UN SDG Goal 12, Responsible Production and Consumption), the fund aims to help creators develop more responsible practices in design, supply and manufacture. The fund’s first set of award-winning designers include London-based Ahluwalia, Chet-Lo and AGR, alongside Kevin Germanier in Paris, South African Rich Mnisi and China’s Shutting Qiu at Milan Fashion Week.
“I am incredibly proud to support these young designers on their journey to building a more sustainable future. This is an opportunity for us to showcase sustainability through a new lens with directional garment design at the center, developing best practices that our global manufacturing partners if we all play our part, we can make the future positive,” said Nicolas Loufrani, CEO and Founder of Smiley Originals, in a press release.
As part of the semi-annual fund, the money is distributed among designers to support them in their overall business operations, while providing mentorship opportunities in marketing, social media, retail and digital. Finally, each designer collaborated with Smiley Originals on a fully sustainable or circular capsule collection, featuring their own interpretation of the now iconic SMILEY face.
“Joining Smiley’s Future Creatives Fund has been an incredible opportunity for us,” begins AGR founder Alicia Robinson. “I love Team Smiley and think we’re a perfect match, aligning our mission to consciously create in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Smiley faces evoke joy and color and that’s what is the AGR,” she continues.
“It’s been really fun working with the Smiley team, and for me and my design team to explore ways to incorporate the iconic Smiley symbol. There’s been great synergy this season as the collection draws inspiration of music and Smiley has played a key role in music culture in many ways over the years,” adds Priya Ahluwalia.
Equally welcoming to the challenge, designer Chet Lo said, “I was so excited to team up with Smiley this season with the intention of creating pieces in a sustainable way. The Smiley symbol has been so iconic for many years that it represents positivity. was so nice to be able to work with them on such an interesting project.”
Submissions for the second round of Smiley funding for September 2023 will begin April 1.