A last retrospect: When founded in 2000, Unit F association for contemporary fashion was commissioned to develop
an excellence funding programme for fashion designers that was financed by the City of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Ministry
for Education, the Arts and Culture (BMUKK).
At that time, in the field of vanguard fashion Austria was a dry desert with small havens - not at all regarding the creative potential but with reference to the general interest in this part of the creative industries and the political commitment to support it. Considering this, the founding of Unit F was a breakthrough. Subsequently numerous designers were supported with a maximum amount of 7,500 Euros per project. Main focus: their work had to be able to compete worldwide and also conform to international standards contentually.
Already from 2002 on, the AFA-Austria Fashion Awards were awarded. First in the quite silent cellar rooms of Unit F at Gumpendorfer Strasse in front of an expert audience, later, because of the busy press of people, in larger and larger locations - from the Museum of the City of Vienna to the Museum of Ethnology. At the same time, festival for fashion and photography emerged from the awarding that belong to the most important ones in Austria´s design fields with an overall endowment of 65,000 Euros per year.
As founders of Unit F and driven by the vision to visualize and push Austrian fashion we infected more and more public sponsors, private companies, cultural institutions such as museums, galleries and off-spaces as well as media with the idea of financing and visualisation of Austrian vanguard fashion. With the label Austrian fashion on our foreheads - when we opened the door to an office, everyone already knew we were coming with another project idea and the plan to get financial help for it.
And we were very successful with this in the end, after all we could generate over 5.7 million Euros ourselves - not counting commodity sponsoring - in addition to the relative small budget of 4.4 million Euros that came from public funding in 13 years time. By this, we were able to realize great national and international projects according to the needs and alongside the supply chain of the fashion system. We would like to thank all public and private fellow campaigners for their courage to go this visionary way with us.
We were also lucky to be able to do high quality work with a quite small team of ambitious employees. In this way we want to thank our staff who accompanied us during the last 13 years. Last but not least our thanks go to all designers and the whole fashion scene! It was an exciting time and we will keep it in our hearts for a long time - and not lose all sight of fashion in the future. With our new company brand unit we will also realize projects in the field of fashion.
Next year, Austrian Fashion Book will be published with Brandstätter Verlag, released still by Unit F. It offers an exciting overview over fashion in Austria from its historic beginnings to today and contains texts of numerous renowned authors and images by international and Austrian fashion photographers. The Unit F business report about the work of the last 13 years will be published in 2014, too.
The tasks of fashion funding will be taken over by Camille Boyer and Maria Magdalena Agreiter with their new platform Austrian Fashion Association (www.AFA.co.at) - we wish the two of them a lot of success and endurance for the coming years.