Caroline Rush, BFC Chief Executive commented: “We cannot think of a more deserving recipient than iconic Londoner Naomi Campbell, she has achieved exceptional work in the industry. Naomi represents female empowerment, activism and glamour and her voice is used for great impact. We are thrilled to present The Fashion Icon Award to Naomi and acknowledge her for her remarkable contribution to the global fashion industry and we look forward to celebrating with her in London in December”.
Born in London, Naomi Campbell’s career started at an early age. Discovered by an agent after school in Covent Garden, Campbell was the first black model to cover French Vogue in 1988, the first black model to be on the cover of American Vogue's September issue in 1989, the first black model to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, Russian Vogue as well as the first British black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue. She has since graced the covers of over 500 magazines. Today, with over 30 years in fashion, Campbell remains an unstoppable force and has starred in iconic campaigns for some of fashion’s most distinguished brands including Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Balmain, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Valentino and Versace.
Naomi Campbell’s numerous achievements are not limited to fashion alone. Throughout her career, she has become known for using her success to help those in need through her incredible work with fundraising and charity work across the globe. Naomi Campbell began charity work with Nelson Mandela in 1993, and in 1997 he named her “Honorary Granddaughter” for her endless activism. In 2018, Naomi Campbell had the honour of presenting a tribute to the independence leader, who would have turned 100, at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in NYC. Naomi also made a passionate and emotional speech at Winnie Mandela's funeral, calling her “a woman of strength who endured much hardship and sacrifice”. In 2013, Naomi Campbell launched the Campaign “Diversity Coalition” with the aim to address racism in the fashion industry.
Naomi Campbell is not only known for being one of the original supermodels but also for being a global figure, and one of the most influential people on the planet. Her passion for female empowerment and Africa has seen her headline the 2019 Forbes Woman Africa’s Leading Women Summit and her ongoing mission to elevate and connect African designers with the global fashion community has seen her co-produce this year’s Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria.
In 2005, Naomi Campbell founded Fashion for Relief, a charity merging fashion and philanthropy. Born in London, Fashion for Relief was one of the first fundraisers with an aim to help people affected by the disastrous floods that hit the UK in the summer of 2007. The fundraiser was supported by people including Elle MacPherson, Novak Djokovic, Jane Fonda, Sting, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Faye Dunaway and the Duchess of York, in aid of the Rotary Flood and Disaster Appeal for Great Britain. Since that day, Fashion for Relief has spread its wings to embrace global causes, raising millions in aide of disaster relief such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and child refugee crises, to name only a few. Fashion for Relief has been staged all around the world, from New York to Dar Es Salaam and the South of France. This year, Fashion for Relief will return to its roots, with a catwalk during London Fashion Week September 2019.
Previous awards received by Naomi Campbell include the Glamour Award for Outstanding Contribution in 2006, a Special Recognition Award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010, the Glamour Award for TV Personality in 2014 and most recently the Fashion Icon award at the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards.
The Fashion Icon Award is one of the Special Recognition Awards that celebrate outstanding contributions to the fashion industry at The Fashion Awards. The Fashion Awards is the main fundraiser for the BFC’s charitable and talent support work. The BFC is a not for profit organisation focused on promoting excellence in British fashion and supporting the future pipeline of creative talent. The BFC’s work is achieved through a range of charitable initiatives which focus on education, business and mentoring schemes that support talent from school level and emerging designers to fashion start-ups and established brands. In 2018, the BFC raised over £2.3 million for its charities and business support initiatives out of which £1.1 million will be allocated directly to scholars and designer businesses with the remaining monies building an endowment to secure support for future generations.
Tonight’s announcement was kindly hosted by the Ritz London. The generosity and commitment of our sponsors is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging our Presenting Sponsor Swarovski and Official Sponsors American Express, Getty Images and Lavazza Coffee for their support of The Fashion Awards 2019.