Introducing the scaleUP Judging Panel
Following the launch of our initiative scaleUP, in collaboration with renowned fashion powerhouse ASOS, we would like to introduce you to the members of our judging panel panel. Meet Jordan Mitchell, co-founder of Good Culture Inc, Nick King, Director of fashion jewellery, home and lifestyle at Rainbowwave, Daniel Peters, Founder of Fashion Minority Report, Navi Ahluwalia, Editor at Hypebae and Antonia Omisesan, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Gbemi.
Comprising of a diverse group of industry professionals, each hailing from distinct backgrounds, the panel embodies the true essence of inclusivity and expertise. They will meticulously evaluate the pool of applicants, ultimately selecting the three most outstanding brands to grace the virtual shelves of ASOS. These fortunate few will also gain the invaluable opportunity to present their visions and aspirations, vying for an impressive funding package of up to £20,000.
Want to know what they are looking out for when applying? Here they share just that, and why they believe this initiative serves an important purpose in the fashion industry at large.
Passionate and resolute, Jordan Mitchell co-founder of Good Culture Inc, believes in creating an equitable space for business owners and encouraging individuals to develop their own brands. With a deep understanding of the challenges faced by marginalised communities, Jordan recognises the need to level the playing field, “funding is overlooked and often many people don’t have the access and resources they need to grow and scale their business” Jordan says, “which is why schemes like this are so critical to creating the accelerator and springboard for individuals to thrive”.
When it comes to judging, she’s looking for brands that show her a sense of purpose, finding a way to use their brand to solve an untapped issue. “Emma Grede is a great example of this, as Good American is a direct response to the fashion industry’s lack of diversity in size representation, she’s used her brand to spearhead cultural change. So I’m really excited by budding change makers who want to use their brands for good.”
With years of experience, beginning at Jean-Paul Galiano to launching his eponymous jewellery brand, to now Director of Rainbowwave fashion jewellery, home and lifestyle, he believes giving back to the industry is an essential element of existing in the fashion industry. Firmly believing in guiding and advising the next generation of business and design. When judging, his outlook is simple, but strong, “authenticity”. Explaining that “someone with a special ability to draw me into the story.” is what he will be looking out for.
Daniel Peters, founder of Fashion Minority Report and co-founder of this very initiative alongside ASOS, will be sitting on the panel. He explains that the initiative was built to “provide opportunities, and the relevant building blocks for scalability to ethnic minority business owners.”
Conscious of the level of fashion consumption that the fashion industry falls into, he’ll be looking out for more than just aesthetics, seeking brands that lead with the ethical practices as well. Excited in the potential of the brands that apply, he is clear in his expectations, explaining he’s looking for a long term vision: “We want to support businesses who can scale to a point of becoming leaders in the British fashion industry”
“Without the support of mentorship programmes like these, I would’ve really struggled to find a way into the industry myself, so I really see the benefits.”, explains Navi Ahluwalia, editor of Hypebae. She joined the panel with a personal understanding of its importance, recognising that there is still a lack of diversity that plagues the fashion industry, even in its most progressive stages.
Similar to Daniel, Navi is intrigued by brands that lead with innovation, creating techniques that prioritise sustainability and resourcefulness. “Working with deadstock fabrics, minimising waste and doing things differently to those who came before, are all things that I’ll definitely be looking for!”
Antonia Omisesan’s journey of running a growing business, now stocked on ASOS, has proven to be an unparalleled learning experience. Confronting the unique challenges associated with being from a minority background, she has come to understand the dearth of resources and networks accessible to entrepreneurs like herself. This realisation serves as a catalyst for her commitment to eliminating obstacles that impede the success of minority entrepreneurs. Antonia will be looking out for brands that have “a clear vision and a story that translates to their designs, branding and the whole brand experience.
Through their collective expertise, the scaleUP initiative serves as a vital platform for underrepresented entrepreneurs, addressing the lack of resources and networks available to minority business owners to not only transform the lives of aspiring fashion entrepreneurs but also challenge the industry playing field.
If you are interested in applying, you can find more information here.