It goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) that The Fashion Awards is one of the most hotly anticipated nights on the British fashion calendar.
Drawing an array of the world’s most lustrous A-listers, from Rihanna to Tom Cruise, Priyanka to Dua Lipa, it’s a veritable who’s who of both style and celebrity, and an opportunity to beat the drum for some of our most impressive and innovative homegrown design talent.
And just as we wait every year with bated breath to find out who is going to host the Oscars or the Golden Globesso too we hanker to find out who is going to host The Fashion Awards, not least because whoever it is usually treats us to a series of outfit changes throughout the night, each a more incredible, glittering showstopper than the last.
Finally, the wait is over. We can reveal to you today that the host of The Fashion Awards 2022 presented by Diet Coke will be none other than model, actor and activist, Jodie Turner-Smith. Best known for her breakout role in Queen & Slimbut more recently for her portrayal of the defiant Queen in Boleynthe actor has made great strides in Hollywood, but when it comes to fashion, her background as a model has stood her in great stead, helping her to deliver look after jaw-droppingly magnificent look on red carpets from Venice to Cannes.
On Monday, December 5, Turner-Smith takes over from Billy Porter, who hosted the awards in 2021, guiding us through a night that will see us crown a designer and model of the year, as well as honouring the next generation of trailblazers that are leading the charge for innovation and sustainability in the industry.
Ahead of the iconic evening, ELLE UK sat down with Turner-Smith to discuss her hopes for the night, as well as her thoughts on fashion more broadly, including how it can be used as a tool for change…
On Hosting The Awards
‘I feel that fashion is so much an extension of what I do. It’s very exciting to be invited into these spaces, because I am a big fan of this space, of these designers, of the work that they are doing and the art that they are creating. I started as a model, so to be asked to be part of this conversation, acknowledging designers that are changing the world, is exciting.’
On What Fashion Means To Her Personally
‘I’ve said this before, but I see fashion like a costume. The costumes of life, you know? Anytime I wear something, it’s like a character for me, like taking on a new role. I always think of a line from one of my favourite movies by Janicza Bravo, called Zola. There’s a moment in the movie where the main character, who is played by Taylour Paige, is looking in the mirror and she’s like, “Who do you want to be today, Zola?” It’s like that for me.
‘I dress with an eye for how something is going to make me feel, and because of that I end up embodying it from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.
‘I admire when someone has that consistency of mind and energy, and they have a sort of uniform, but I could never wear just one designer for the rest of my life. I have many personalities. There’s a lot going on.’
On Her Favourite Red Carpet Looks Of All Time
‘The yellow Gucci BAFTAs 2020 dress is definitely very special, just because I was so with child, so it has a very special place. My favourite moment that I’ve just had, though, was at the Venice Film Festival. I really loved the blue custom Harbison gown that I wore. And also the Christopher John Rogers Pre-Fall crayon dress. That was very next level.
‘It’s the most amazing thing in the world, and I feel so lucky and grateful that I get to experience these beautifully crafted gowns, made of the most exquisite materials, and made with such thought and care.’
On Fashion’s Agency In Human Rights
‘Fashion is so important. Not just because fashion is art. But because fashion is everywhere and means something to every person, it involves all of humanity. In every movement, in every revolution, in every single thing we can conceive of, or that we experience in this world, we are wearing clothing. So clothing is always going to speak to the feelings of the time.
‘Sometimes movements develop uniforms. Think about the Black Panthers, their appearance became emblematic. That’s fashion.
‘Look at what’s happening in Iran. Cutting hair, removing scarves. Misogyny is rampant in the world and so with that, or anywhere that there’s a wave of conservatism or religious extremism, there are going to be limitations on women. And so that means living and expressing yourself as a woman around the world is still, and continues to be, a fight and an act of bravery.
‘We still live in a world that is anti-Black, we still live in a world that is anti-gay in some places, and some places are anti-trans, so to LGBTQIA people, we are still in a time where expressing yourself and wearing what you want to wear can be a huge act of bravery.’
On Fashion’s Future
‘I would love to see the fashion industry really, really, really, really approach operations from a place of actual sustainability. I mean, that is one of the most most important things because like, honestly, whether or not fashion has allowed me to have agency doesn’t matter if there’s no planet to live on.
‘I’m not sitting on any kind of high horse talking about this, I’m talking as much to myself as I am to all of the industries in which I work. I feel like sustainability for me is biggest thing we need to address. Because then we’ll actually have a planet to live on. And I think also, the empathy required to have a real conversation about sustainability will trickle down to other areas.
‘I think that the way that we treat our planet and the way that we are consuming is a reflection of what we think of each other as human beings. It’s a reflection of what the patriarchy is creating, of misogyny, of anti-Blackness, of anti-indigenous feelings. It’s all part and parcel.’
And there you have it, so while we prepare for the furore of the night, Molly Goddard tulle across our shoulders, Moët & Chandon champagne in one hand and JW Anderson bag in the other, we’ll be musing on Jodie Turner-Smith’s parting words, that fashion has true power as a catalyst for change, and that championing the designers that can alter the way we consume, is the change we need to start with first.