The Smiley, an instantly recognisable symbol of happiness across the world, has endured the test of time over the past half a century with its yellow hue, positive energy and cheeky grin. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the Smiley face with a launch of 50 exclusive "Collector’s Edition" brand collaborations - with everyone from Reebok to Karl Lagerfeld taking part. To top it off, the nirvana of brand communication- the coffee table tome - was published by Assouline, Smiley: 50 Years of Good News, charting its evolution through its print pages. 

This February, in line with London fashion week, Smiley Originals will be launching the first of its bi-annual Smiley Future Creators Fund. The £500k financial sponsorship and mentorship scheme is set up to aid the next generation of designers at fashion weeks globally. An extension of Smiley Originals' Future Positive sustainability initiative, which aligns with their partnership with the United Nations, the fund will also help fashion designers adopt a more responsible and circular approach to design, sourcing, and manufacturing. 

The first round of designers to benefit from the initiative includes London-based Ahluwalia, Chet-Lo, and AGR, as well as Kevin Germanier showing in Paris, Rich Mnisi from South Africa and Shutting Qiu from China (who shows during Milan fashion week).

In addition to financial support, the designers have created sustainable capsule clothing and accessories collections, incorporating unique interpretations of the iconic SMILEY face into their AW23 collections.

We all know that young brands - having fought through the ramifications of Covid and BREXIT in the UK - need all the support they can get, so the news has put smiles on all of our faces. Watch out for the next wave of recipients and what they too can accomplish with a little bit of extra support.