King Charles presents emerging label Labrum with royal fashion award

Labrum London, recipient of award from King Charles, runway show
Labrum at London Fashion Week in February 2022
(Image credit: Photography by Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images for BFC)

In one of the first appearances since his coronation earlier this month, King Charles III presented the annual Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in his mother’s honour at London’s 180 Studios. A celebration of emerging British design talent in the field of fashion, it was presented to Labrum, a London-based label founded by Sierra Leone-born designer Foday Dumbuya.

The honour was announced as part of the British Fashion Council Foundation awards for the year – which also include schemes including BFC Newgen and the BFC Fashion Trust, helping 39 businesses this year. King Charles said in a speech that he ‘wanted to use this moment to congratulate all [the designers] who I know are working so hard’ having recently graduated from fashion degrees and courses. ‘I do hope you do really well, and I shall be watching, from a distance.’

The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was inaugurated by the late monarch in 2018, when it was awarded to British designer Richard Quinn. To present the award, the queen made a surprise appearance at his London Fashion Week show, marking the first time she had attended a fashion show at the event (memorably, she sat front row at the show, next to American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour). Subsequent winners have included Saul Nash, Bethany Williams, Priya Ahluwalia and Rosh Mahtani of the jewellery brand Alighieri.

King Charles presents Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design

King Charles presents Labrum with award

King Charles III presents Foday Dumbuya with the 2023 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design

‘From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting-edge fashion designs,’ she said at the time. The award was founded as ‘a tribute to the industry and my legacy and all those who have contributed to British fashion.’

Labrum was founded by Dumbuya in 2015, following stints at DKNY and Nike after graduation from Nottingham Trent University. With a focus on craft, the label’s designs merge traditional British tailoring with his memories from his upbringing in West Africa and Cyprus (born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he would go on to live between London and Cyprus).

‘Growing up in Sierra Leone, my deep love and appreciation for my country, the rich and vibrant culture inspired me to create Labrum,’ he said after receiving the award. ‘I saw how fashion can be a powerful tool for self-expression, cultural identity and economic growth. With that in mind, I set out to create pieces that are not only beautiful, but also empower local communities while preserving the culture.’

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