Dorchester Collection Cancels Annual Fashion Prize Award
Following the fashion industry's boycott of all Sultan of Brunei-owned properties, the company announced the cancellation of its annual fashion competition and gala, which awards a designer with an endowment of £25,000 to establish his or her own brand.
In the wake of the fashion industry's recent boycott of the Sultan of Brunei's Dorchester Collection of hotels, which is facing much backlash and criticism for the owner's decision to implement a new law that calls for the stoning to death of LGBT members in his country, will not be giving away its annual fashion prize.
The company announced the cancellation of its annual fashion competition and gala Monday morning, after learning about the Human Rights Campaign's planned action to bring attention to the fashion prize, according to a release issued by the HRC.
"We applaud the many designers, companies, and leaders in the fashion industry who have refused to turn a blind eye to the Sultan's blatant disregard for the human rights of all Bruneians," said Ty Cobb, HRC's director of global e0ngagement. "The fact is that the Dorchester Collection’s profits belong to a regime that could start stoning women and LGBT Bruneians as soon as next year, and the cancellation of this prize is yet another sign that the Sultan’s company is feeling the impact of the worldwide movement to reject the Sultan’s horrific new laws."
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, along with Francois-Henri Pinault, the head of Kering, which owns Gucci, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, are among the fashion insiders who recently announced they would boycott all Sultan of Brunei-owned properties.
The Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, established in 2010, is awarded each year to one fashion designer. That person receives an endowment of £25,000 to establish his or her own brand, and it's described by the organization as the "first award of its kind developed by a luxury hotel company" that seeks to "build on [its] own established fashion heritage." Previous judges who have been part of the selection process have included Manolo Blahnik, Kenzo Takada, Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig and Francisco Costa. Designer Huishan Zhang won last year's honor, which was presented at the Ballroom of The Dorchester in London on Oct. 29, 2013. Augustin Teboul (2012), Anndra Neen (2011) and Thomas Tait (2010) also have been awarded the fashion prize.
Despite the decision to cancel the award, the event's website and Facebook page haven't been updated to reflect the announcement as of Monday morning. In a statement to WWD, a spokeswoman for the company said, "We are considering options of new initiatives involving supporting young talent from a variety of sectors. As and when a decision is reached an announcement will be made. The Facebook page is a tribute to previous winners and fashion trends." The rep also explained that the decision was made earlier this year, "due to other newly created similar awards."