Fashion Scout is proud to announce the London based brand Fortie Label, founded by Central Saint Martins graduate Essie Buckman, as the winner of the AW18 coveted Merit Award. Created in 2009, the new talent initiative is worth £20,000 across three seasons and has been created to support and develop new designer businesses on a global level.

In winning this season’s Merit Award, Fortie Label will receive a fully sponsored catwalk show during London Fashion Week with space to host press and buyers. The Merit Award provides a unique platform for the brightest new designers, with many going on to become established labels in the international fashion industry. Essie follows in the successful footsteps of past winners including; Eudon Choi, Phoebe English, David Koma, Roberts|Wood, Han Wen, Xiao Li, Katie Ann McGuigan and SS18 winner EDDA.

Selected from hundreds of applicants by a judging panel, the fierce aesthetic of Fortie Label, drew attention evoking an audacious perspective on fashion, creating an effortlessly cool yet equally extraordinary look. This paired with a sophisticated approach to niche themes within black culture, the noughties and iconic women in history feed into each collection, along with the additional of technical sensibility towards construction, present a multiplicity of creative concepts.

Image: Fortie Label

The Merit Award Judging Panel consisted of six industry experts including Martyn Roberts – Fashion Scout’s Founder and Director, Hattie Crisell – Acting Fashion Editor at The Times, Ida Petersson – Womenswear Buying Director at Browns, Emma Firth – Online Fashion Editor at Hunger, Kendall Robbins – Fashion Programme Manager at The British Council and Fabio Piras – MA Course Leader at Central St Martins, who gathered to make the decision at Selection Panel in November 2017.

Buckman prides herself in her meticulous attention to detail regarding textile development, often reverting to traditional techniques in hand embroidery and hand painted prints across her urban-luxe womenswear brand. Fortie Label has since shown two seasons independently and has garnered the attention of a variety of powerful fashion and music icons such as Rihanna, Chaelin CL, Jorja Smith, Yukimi (Little Dragon) Kelela and many more.

Born in America, raised in London and originally from Ghana, Essie Buckman used her varied upbringing and clash of cultures to inspire her work and brand aesthetic. During her time at university and since graduating, Essie has worked at many high profile fashion labels gathering experience whilst developing her label which showcased in its first presentation at AW17 LFW.

In 2016 Essie was chosen to debut her first collection at the Central Saint Martins BA Press Show and was the winner of The Nina Stewart Award whilst at university. After this, the Fortie Label brand was born and from the showcase, gained a variety of press attention including Italian Vogue, Dazed, ShowStudio, Gal-Dem, Hunger and i-D.

Image: Fortie Label

For AW18, Fortie Label has been inspired by the Forty thieves, an all-female London crime syndicate who were infamously known for their antics from 19th to mid 20th century. The collection expands from that notion mixed with inspiration from 90’s R&B and Hip-Hop ‘Video Vixen’ stars.

“It is truly an honour winning the Merit Award as this opportunity with Fashion Scout will enable us to elevate a young up-coming brand such as Fortie Label to the next level.”

When Essie heard that she had won the Merit Award for AW18 she said: “It is truly an honour winning the Merit Award as this opportunity with Fashion Scout will enable us to elevate a young up-coming brand such as Fortie Label to the next level.The ability to gain wider recognition, produce an unforgettable show and receive follow up mentorship with Fashion Scout is invaluable to Fortie Label where we can truly utilise the platform and put us on the radar. The ability to create a iconic production without limitations allows us to show the industry who we are and what Fortie Label stands for with confidence and pride!”

Fashion Scout’s Founder and Creative Director Martyn Roberts comments: “We are extremely excited to award Essie the Merit Award and showcase Fortie Label at Fashion Scout for AW18. The brand was a easy decision for the judging panel to award Merit to, due to the intriguing fabric combinations and pattern cutting skills, mixed with strong cultural inspiration. Fashion Scout are excited to give Essie the opportunity to continue building the Fortie Label brand and profile here in London.“

Image: Fortie Label

Fortie Label will showcase her AW18 collection at Fashion Scout London, on Friday 16th February 2018 at 14.00 in the Vestibule Catwalk Hall, during London Fashion Week.

Please contact for invite requests.


About Fashion Scout
Fashion Scout is the international showcase for fashion pioneers.

Over the past 12 years Fashion Scout has scouted, supported, nurtured and showcased pioneering designers including Iris Van Herpen, Peter Pilotto, Eudon Choi, David Koma, Felder Felder, Maria Francesca Pepe, Piers Atkinson, Agi and Sam, Martina Spetlova, Helen Lawrence, Georgia Hardinge and many more.

Featuring a selection of innovative UK and international designers, Fashion Scout London will be hosting over 25+ catwalk shows, salon shows and presentations for AW18. Fashion Scout London is held at the iconic Freemasons’ Hall, Covent Garden, from 16th-20th February 2018, Fashion Scout’s 23rd season during London Fashion Week.

Merit Award
The new talent initiative is worth £20,000 over three seasons and has been created to support and develop new designer business on a global level. Since its inception in 2009, the Merit Award’s role call includes Han Wen, David Ferreira, Roberts| Wood, James Kelly, Gyo Yuni Kimchoe, William Tempest, David Koma, Hermione De Paula, Eudon Choi, Georgia Hardinge, Leutton Postle, Phoebe English, Heohwan Simulation,Yifang Wan, Xiao Li and Katie Ann McGuian.

The Merit Award is a highlight event and acts as a key draw for UK and international press and buyers each season.