Rising star Sophia Webster is celebrating another big moment today.
The designer has been short-listed for the prestigious British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, which provides one designer with bespoke mentoring support for 12 months.
The award also includes a $301,036 grant to provide the infrastructure to take the winner to the next stage in business.
In addition to Webster, Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Michael van der Ham, Mother of Pearl and Osman are competing for the prize, which will be awarded on March 24 in London.
Nicholas Kirkwood — Webster’s mentor — took home the award in 2013, while Peter Pilotto, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders have also been past winners.
Webster, who won FN’s Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award in 2012, has been steadily growing her business over the past several years. Her whimsical footwear collection is stocked in top department stores from Bergdorf Goodman to Harrods.
She also has been building buzz through collaborations with Victoria’s Secret and J.Crew.
The designer, who became a first-time mom last year, is expanding her baby-shoe collection, Sophia Webster Mini, into a full line of kids’ footwear.
She is also plotting her first retail store in London this year.
Webster has been a standout on social media, too. To celebrate her 200,000-follower milestone on Instagram, she has set a competition for one follower to win a year’s supply — or 12 pairs — of her shoes.
The designer has invited her Instagram followers to sign up for her online newsletter to get details of how to enter, with a deadline of Feb. 19.
Webster noted that social and digital media have been “integral” to her brand’s growth. She said that more than 49,000 images on Instagram have been hashtagged with #SophiaWebster since 2013 — some are displayed on the brand’s e-commerce site — and that styles posted on the channel are driving customers to shop. — With contributions by Samantha Conti