19 October 2023
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We are thrilled to announce the launch of the BFC Foundation MA Joe Casely-Hayford Scholarship and the first ever recipient as well as the late Joe Casely-Hayford’s posthumous Special Recognition Award, which he will be honoured with at The Fashion Awards (TFA) 2023 on 4th December at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Both the scholarship and award pay tribute to Casely-Hayford’s enduring legacy and recognise his incredible contributions to fashion and culture.

2023/24 BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship Recipient

The 2023/24 BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship recipient is Taya Francis, Nottingham Trent University. The scholarship provides support and funding to a student from a Black or mixed heritage background who has an offer from, or is currently studying for an MA at a BFC Colleges Council member university.

The BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship honours Casely-Hayford’s contributions to the fashion industry and his incredible legacy. Like Casely-Hayford did over the course of his illustrious career, this scholarship was introduced to support, celebrate and spotlight young talent from Black and mixed heritage backgrounds as they start their journey in the fashion industry. The scholarship recognises Black British culture and its far reaching and impactful influence on wider British culture, especially its creative industries.

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council said: “Congratulations to Taya Francis, our very first BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship recipient. We are thrilled to launch this scholarship and play our part in strengthening and future proofing the pipeline of fashion talent from all backgrounds all while paying tribute to the genius of Joe Casely-Hayford.

This provides the perfect launch pad for us to announce Casely-Hayford’s posthumous Special Recognition Award which he will be honoured with at The Fashion Awards 2023. Casely-Hayford was one of the most talented and groundbreaking designers of our time, and he catapulted London’s reputation as a fashion and cultural hub on a global stage. He paved the way for generations of designers and the UK fashion industry is indebted to his unique vision, designs and unwavering support of young fashion talent. We look forward to honouring him in December.”

The scholarship applications are assessed based on talent and need, using information provided during the application process including the applicant’s portfolio and financial circumstances. The shortlisted applications are reviewed by a panel consisting of a member of the Casely-Hayford family and key industry representatives. Through this scholarship, Taya will have access to the BFC Scholars program and will receive mentoring from the Casely-Hayford family and team.

Sarah Mower (panel Chair), Chief Critic. Vogue Runway, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent said: “It was an honour to play a part in awarding the first recipient of the inaugural BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA scholarship. I was thoroughly impressed and humbled by Taya Francis and her innovative approach and vision. The introduction of this scholarship is a testament to Joe Casely-Hayford’s groundbreaking legacy. He was the first London designer to bring the cultural mix and energy of the East End together with the impeccable skills of a Savile Row tailor, whilst also being absolutely committed to opening doors for those who were both young and underrepresented in the industry. We are incredibly grateful to the Casely-Hayford family for supporting this scholarship.”

The Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship sits alongside the BFC Foundation MA and BA Scholarships. Through its education initiatives, the BFC Foundation aims to underpin and future proof the next generation of creative talent. For 2023/2024, the BFC Foundation (Registered Charity Number: 1185152) provided a total of £250,000 to its twenty-six MA and BA scholars which includes the Joe Casely-Hayford scholarship. The BFC Foundation brings all the BFC charitable initiatives under one umbrella, supporting the future growth and success of the British fashion industry by focusing on three areas: Education, Grant-Giving and Business Mentoring.

The launch of this scholarship is particularly timely, as it coincides with the recent opening of The Morgan Stanley Exhibition- The Missing Thread: Untold Stories of Black British Fashion exhibition at Somerset House curated by Black Orientated Legacy Development Agency (BOLD) - Andrew Ibi, Harris Elliott and Jason Jules. The exhibition charts the shifting landscape of Black British culture, the unique contribution it has made to Britain’s rich design history and spotlights Casely-Hayford, presenting the designer’s archive in an exhibition format for the first time in the UK. The scholarship aligns with the inspiring stories of creatives showcased in the exhibition and supports the next generation of talent.

Andrew Ibi (panellist), Artist, Designer & Educator, Co-Founder, BOLD; Co-Founder, FACE said: “Joe Casely-Hayford’s legacy is huge for any design community and the scholarship award continues his work in cultivating and supporting young talent. Joe was a believer in opportunity and societal progress - celebrating future generations is an appropriate way to mark his unique contribution to fashion.”

The judging panel for the 2023/24 BFC Foundation Joe Casely-Hayford MA Scholarship was chaired by Sarah Mower MBE, Chief Critic, Vogue Runway, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent, and made up of: Alice Casely-Hayford, Content Director, NET-A-PORTER; Andrew Ibi, Artist, Designer & Educator, Co-Founder, BOLD; Co-Founder, FACE; Jeanie Annan-Lewin, Creative Director, The Perfect Magazine; Amanda Johnston, Curator & Educational Consultant, The Sustainable Angle; Heather Gramston, Head of Womenswear, Browns and Karen Binns, Editor & Publisher.

Joe Casely-Hayford’s Posthumous Special Recognition Award

Presented at TFA, the posthumous Special Recognition Award honours Casely-Hayford’s outstanding contribution to culture and the fashion industry. TFA organised by the BFC, are the primary fundraiser for the BFC Foundation and celebrate the role of fashion at the intersection of culture and entertainment, spotlighting creative talent and telling the stories of the year in fashion through the lens of purpose, excellence and creativity.

Casely-Hayford began his career studying at Tailor and Cutter Academy and later at St. Martin's School of Art. In 1984, alongside his wife, Maria, he established his eponymous fashion house which quickly achieved cult status for its groundbreaking and contemporary designs. In 2005, he was appointed creative director of the renowned Gieves and Hawkes, and during his three-year tenure, he was awarded an OBE for his services to the fashion industry. In 2009, he relaunched his business as Casely-Hayford in collaboration with his son, Charlie.

Maria Casely-Hayford said: "The Casely-Hayford family is delighted that the BFC has bestowed upon Joe this Special Recognition Award. It is an affirmation of Joe's extraordinary creative talent, his decades long international, cultural influence and his enduring legacy."

Over his 40-year career, Casely-Hayford reinvented the face of menswear by fusing his Savile Row training with a uniquely radical approach to create innovative and expertly tailored garments. Casely-Hayford was one of the first black UK fashion designers to reach international acclaim, and his clientele included Benedict Cumberbatch, Bono, Drake, Liam Gallager, Lou Reed, Michael Jackson and The Clash, to name a few. Casely-Hayford was also a fierce campaigner for diversity and inclusion and dedicated himself to championing emerging fashion talent from all backgrounds, ensuring they gained a foothold in a competitive and predominantly white industry. Casely-Hayford's legacy lives on through his family and his store on Chiltern Street, London, both of which continue to honour the designer’s passion for impeccable craftsmanship, daring designs and self-expression.

The generosity and commitment of partners, suppliers and supporters is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging their support for The Fashion Awards 2023 presented by Pandora alongside our Official Partners: Don Julio, Getty Images and Royal Salute. For information on ticket sales, please visit here. For Table and Box enquiries, please email