John Galliano has been revealed as the new honorary chairperson of Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden.

The Dior designer follows in the footsteps of Donatella Versace by helping to select the cream of British design talent and wants the competition to "push the boundaries".

He said: "I am hoping we find a rebel genius. I will look for someone who reminds me of me when I was starting out - someone original, unique, who has their own style and handwriting and isn't afraid to try something new. Fashion sometimes gets scared and plays it too safe - but I want to push boundaries.

"When I started, all I wanted to do was create - I didn't have a clue about business, but it is so important to have good foundations in both."

The competition sees four amateur designer finalists chosen to show capsule collections in a special Fashion Week show, with the winner receiving £100,000 to create a collection for the following year's Fashion Week.

Colin McDowell MBE, the scheme's founder and creative director, says he is also looking for someone who is willing to take risks.

He said: "Thinking about recent events has made me re-examine what the spirit of London fashion really is - and that is bold, exciting fashion that breaks through the barriers and moves fashion. And, of course, nobody does it with such imagination and fabulous originality as John Galliano. This is the searching, radical spirit we are planning to uncover and bring back to London fashion through its young designers."

The application process for Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden 2010 opens today (15.03.10) and closes on April 30. For more information visit www.fashionfringe.co.uk.