A Nottingham fashion designer who started out creating street-style clothing for smaller men has won the first ever British Council UK Young Fashion Entrepreneur (UKYFE) Award. Simeon Hartwig, who has run Bantum Clothing since graduating from Nottingham Trent University, was presented with his award during London Fashion Week by Daily Telegraph Fashion Director, Hilary Alexander.
The Design Studies graduate, who runs his business from Nottingham Trent UniversityвЂ™s business incubation unit, The Hive, had been shortlisted for the award вЂ“ which aims to recognise the importance of entrepreneurship in the UK's creative economy and offer young entrepreneurs the opportunity to travel to an emerging market in the fashion industry, building their contacts for business and cultural collaboration.
Six shortlisted finalists took part in a specially-tailored tour of IndiaвЂ™s fashion industry in December 2008 to gain an insight into one of the worldвЂ™s fastest-developing and most dynamic economies, before reporting their experience back to judges. Simeon will now spend his ВЈ5,000 prize on a collaborative project with the Indian fashion industry.
Simeon said: вЂњIвЂ™m absolutely delighted to have won this award in its inaugural year, and particularly as the competition was so high. I was just gobsmacked when my name was read out, I already felt like a winner after being asked to take part in the unbelievable trip to India, and to have an invite to London Fashion Week alone. This award will help take Bantum to the next level, the recognition should be priceless.вЂќ
The 27-year-old sells a range of funky menвЂ™s and womenswear to stockists, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and dresses, and will soon be offering short-legged jeans. He started out with a mission to produce street-style clothing for smaller men after struggling to find decent designer clothes to fit his own 5вЂ™6вЂќ frame, but demand has since seen his business grow to include larger sizes and womenswear.
One of his first and most popular designs are his вЂI Love NottsвЂ™ garments вЂ“ a regional take on the вЂI Love NYвЂ™ slogan вЂ“ of which almost 1,000 have sold.
Simeon has been able to develop his business with the help of The Hive, Nottingham Trent UniversityвЂ™s purpose-built enterprise development centre. The Hive supports the creation of new ventures by offering expert help, mentoring and in-house training, alongside first-class business support and excellent facilities.
The UKYFE award has been created by the British Council and presented in partnership with NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).
The judges were Michael Oliveira-Salac, Director, Blow PR; Anna Orsini, Head, International Office London Fashion Week; Angela Pugh, Creative Economy Programme Manager, NESTA; Andrew Senior, Head, Creative Economy, British Council.
Their citation for Simeon read: вЂњA natural communicator, Simeon brings people together with his enthusiasm and drive. He grabs opportunities with both hands and his energy propels his ideas forward. He has a strong sense of his market, although he is willing to listen and learn. A natural entrepreneur who retains a solid ethical sense.вЂќ