Sophia Webster has been chosen as the recipient of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.
The 31-year-old British shoe designer was shortlisted for the 2016 accolade along with Emilia Wickstead, Mother of Pearl, Osman and Prism and was picked as the winner at the British Fashion Council (BFC)/Vogue ceremony held on Tuesday night (22.03.16) at the Bulgari Hotel in London.
Sophia - who made her breakthrough with her debut footwear line in 2012 - won a year-long mentoring support programme which will allow her to get advice from some of the biggest editors, buyers and brands in fashion, as well as a £200,000 grant to help her develop her London-based business.
Speaking about her achievement, Sophia said: "It feels amazing! I'm so shocked; I still can't quite take it in. This will just make such a massive difference to our business. The store is next on the agenda, we only just got the keys last week, so that's our next focus. After that, our team is growing and we've really outgrown our space so next will be a new office. It's incredible."
Alexandra Shulman - Vogue editor and the chair of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund - revealed Sophia was chosen to receive the fund because her brand "encapsulates originality and creativity".
She said: "Sophia Webster is a great winner for this year's award. The brand encapsulates all the originality and creativity that British fashion is known for, while Sophia and her team have pursued a clear vision with drive and professionalism."
The Fund, which is in its seventh year, is comprised of fashion experts including BFC's Chief Executive Caroline Rush CBE, The Daily Telegraph's Lisa Armstrong, Topshop's Mary Homer, Burberry's Sarah Manley, guest judge Victoria Beckham and is supported by British Vogue, Burberry, Harrods, Paul Smith and Topshop.
Sophia - who was named Emerging Footwear Designer of the Year in 2013, who worked with Nicholas Kirkwood prior to embarking on her solo career, and gained the British Fashion Award for Emerging Accessories Designer the same year - is hopeful she will follow in the footsteps of previous winners, which include reputable designers Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Nicholas Kirkwood Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane and Erdem who have flourished in the fashion industry since their success at the annual event.