Interview: Julian Whitehead and Debra Hepburn Founders, youngbritishdesigners.com
Julian Whitehead and Debra Hepburn, founders of Young British Designers, the one-stop-shop for up-and-coming fashion labels, give FE the lowdown on their rise to notoriety through risk-taking and savvy use of online platforms. testament to how much the pair enjoy conversing about emerging British design talent, the website is currently undergoing a redesign with customer and designer commentary at its heart.
Interview by Natalie Dawson.
ND: What drove your decision to create Young British Designers (YBD) two years ago?
Julian Whitehead: We were looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to work together. Together, with Stuart Jackson - our third founding partner and our creative guru - we became increasingly excited at the possibilities presented by the YBD concept. We loved fashion, and we loved the prospect of immersing ourselves in the fast-moving, exciting and immensely creative fashion world. We have also always enjoyed encouraging and mentoring young creative talent throughout our careers and we relished the opportunity to do more of it.
ND: How has the concept progressed since then?
JW: At the beginning, YBD was a journey into the unknown; we brought enthusiasm and marketing skills with us, but much as new. During the past two years, we have built a community of enthusiasts for emerging British fashion talent and have been fascinated and astonished at the growth speed of online platforms. We have been surprised and gratified at the opportunities we've had to support and mentor new designers; we receive over 1,000 approaches from new designers per year. As part of this work, we have had the opportunity to be involved in judging at Graduate Fashion Week and mentoring for this year's Fashion Fringe competition.