Representing the creative future

APOC Grants: Meet the 5 winners

The contemporary online marketplace announces the five winners of its £1,000 grant scheme

Back in April, cutting edge online marketplace APOC announced their very first grant scheme, offering young creatives an opportunity to win a £1000 grant, sell their designs on and benefit from six months of mentorship from the team at APOC.

“APOC Grant was started as we see how the scales are tipped in favour for some, and we hope that this starts to make at least a small contribution to balance things out,” says Ying Suen, who co-founded APOC alongside Jules Volleberg. “We wanted to make something, in the hopes that we can make even a small difference in the current landscape we see now. APOC Grant hopes to further support our work by giving young creatives from marginalised communities support and an opportunity to break into the fashion and art industry.”

Two months later and the five winning creatives who will receive APOC’s support have finally been announced today. “Through this process, we’ve discovered new designers that we wouldn’t have come across ourselves and choosing was not an easy task,” explains Ying, who along with Jules had to choose just five recipients out of over 600 applicants they received. “In the end, we chose designers that we felt would benefit the most at this stage and we’re excited to work together over the coming months. We hope this can be an annual initiative that helps change the industry’s landscape from what it is now.”

We spoke to the five winning creatives about what receiving the APOC grant means to them and the positive effect it will have on their future projects. A huge congratulations to the five winners, we can’t wait to see what you do over the next six months!

Yinglin He

“I’ve always had to put my creative work on hold to save up, having the support of APOC will tremendously and continuously help make my vision for my brand YINGLIN come to life.”

Born in China but now based in New York, Yinglin’s designs are inspired by her own journey of self-discovery, and she’s previously shown collections at New York fashion week and created digital garments with Blockchain. Constructed from recycled embellishments and upcycled materials from her past collections and pieces. “The grant will be used to produce my new ready-to-wear collection as well as a jewellery capsule collection. I look forward to learning from mentors and the APOC community, especially people who’ve started a business from scratch. I hope to launch two collections with APOC in the upcoming 6 months.”

Yaku Stapleton

“Receiving this grant means the world to me. Funding like this allows my creativity to flow without the restrictions often met when finances are limited. It is important to mention, however, that the limitations I’ve encountered in the past have moulded my approach to design and use of materials.” Caribbean designer and mixed-media artist Yaku’s work experiments with sensory design, depth and scale. “Aimlessly buying isn’t always the best option,” he adds.

Currently studying at CSM and living between London and Leeds, Yaku takes reference from nature and human forms when creating pieces, which become a form of wearable artwork. “The grant will help me gain access to production methods like large scale sublimation printing. I’ll also be able to use materials that otherwise are difficult to find laying around in the street or in someone’s garage such as liquid latex. From here, I aim to add an introspective look into my childhood interests mostly online Role Player Games. I suppose the limitless fantasy of games like RuneScape is something I relished as a young child. I want to incorporate this feeling into the next set of objects I create.”

Yining Sun

Chinese-born ceramicist and multimedia artist Yining founded creative studio EEGGNET in 2021. “As someone who just started, I am not the most confident, but I feel a lot more confident about my work now that I have been selected and given an opportunity to be seen by more people. Additionally, the grant will be covering the expenses for my first exhibition and a pop-up project.”

Working primarily with ceramics, Yining creates functional pieces, re-designing the items we have in our kitchen, dining table and bedroom maintaining an object’s functionality whilst completely changing its typical appearance. “Being able to connect with designers who have different specialties from me will be very inspiring for me in my creative process.”

“With the help of APOC, I plan on trying more materials and developing my practice into a series. I also want to make products other than homewares, I’m also interested in making accessories. I hope I can make this happen with the help of APOC.”

Jules Bramley

Palestinian/Venezuelan fashion designer Jules creates post-apocalyptic, decomposing garments that reflect our society and detrimental future; an extension of the wastelands, a frozen state in our environment, a post-human construct. “This opportunity is so resourceful in the experimental stage of my brand, and I’m honoured to work through the development of my next collection with APOC supporting and believing in me.”

As a Trans and non-binary designer, Jules made the active decision to move away from their predominantly cis white community to broaden their perspective of the world, whilst learning about their identity; showcasing experiments with material manipulation, fabric waste, bio textiles and genderless design. “Through APOC’s mentorship program, I’ll be able to get insightful feedback and advice from fellow designers I admire while developing my next collection.”

“I’m really looking forward to exploring new materials and techniques, broadening my range of pieces, and creating this collection to celebrate and represent trans and queer individuals, help the deconstruction of gender norms in commercial fashion and provide a space of visibility to represent my community.”

Hadiyah Hussain

Designer Hadiyah Hussain plays on her Pakistani heritage and British upbringing within her designs, often using her own photography as well as archived family photo albums to create her one of a kind prints. “It’s always nerve-racking to apply for grants and awards because there’s always this imposter syndrome that follows you around no matter how much you believe in yourself. It’s always nice to be told that your work is interesting or unique in some way. The APOC Grant is especially amazing because I’ve been welcomed into this amazing collective of independent designers and makers with insane talent and skill. It’s both inspiring and motivating.”

Championing colour and culture, all of Hadiyah’s pieces are made from deadstock and locally sourced fabrics and are handmade from start to finish in her London studio, creating pieces for all body types. “This grant will help me to refine the prints for my next collection. I’m in desperate need of some new equipment so this grant will go towards that as well as experimenting with new techniques. The opportunity to have a mentor from APOC will also help me to navigate my business and sell to a new audience. It’s very exciting!”

“My plans are to continue to grow my audience and share my story as a designer and a brand. Now that I have APOC’s support I’m a lot more confident in my new collection ideas and the direction I want to take my brand to. I’ll be working on a lot more unique 1/1 pieces and prints and continuing to story-tell through textiles.”