During London Fashion Week February 2019, The British Council, British Fashion Council (BFC) and London College of Fashion, UAL and Somerset House will collectively present work from emerging fashion designers around the globe in the West Wing of Somerset House.
This February, the International Fashion Showcase takes on a new format. For the first time, 16 selected designers from across the globe will showcase a series of compelling installations to represent their respective country. The designers will explore politics, sustainability, identity and heritage and show their latest designs in immersive environments.
The 16 countries represented are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Georgia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Some highlights of the exhibition include:
- Duran Lantink from the Netherlands - whose ‘vagina’ trousers drew global attention in Janelle Monae’s PYNK video - will present ‘Straight from the sale bins’ questioning the permanent state of sale and discount in the fashion industry, casting a critical eye on the phenomena of Black Friday and the resulting sales riots.
- Cedric Mizero will use objects from everyday life in a Rwandan village to draw attention to the marginalised communities and cultures in his country. However, rather than focus on the negatives often associated with rural life in a developing country, Mizero will celebrate the wealth of village life.
- Tom Trandt – the founder of Môi Điên in Vietnam - will use UV lights to reveal embroidered slogans of protest about his home country where dissent is illegal.
- Laura Laurens will present work from her ongoing collaboration with three LGBTQ+ members of Colombia’s indigenous Emberá community.
- Bangladeshi designer Rahemur Rahman is working with young people aged 13-19 from his home borough of Tower Hamlets to produce elements of his space. Working to a creative brief, each will earn an Arts Awards qualification for their participation, which Rahman hopes will support their pathway into working in the creative industries.
- Kenyan jewellery designer Ami Doshi Shah will use salt as the main medium of her collection, pointedly located in the West Wing of Somerset House, once home to the British Empire’s Salt Office.
The free exhibition is a key part of London Fashion Week, giving both the public and industry professionals the opportunity to discover emerging fashion from four continents: Africa, America, Asia and Europe and to celebrate its global relevance. The collections presented offer a balanced mix of womenswear and menswear exploring topical but universally shared issues and present new ideas and solutions that are shaping fashion globally.
In another first, these designers will be supported through a bespoke online programme, developed by London College of Fashion, UAL, which will cover all aspects of business development from branding to sales and production to sustainability. They also travelled to London in August 2018 to attend a two-week talent development programme. This tailored cultural residency and business skills training will give the emerging designers the professional support that is often difficult to access, provided by some of the UK’s leading fashion and creative experts.
The designers will spend one week immersed in the creative community of Somerset House Studios where they were supported by a range of studio artists whose skills and expertise range from ethical fashion and sustainability to tech. Another week will be spent with experts from London College of Fashion, UAL reviewing their business and brand development goals. During both residencies, the designers will explore, test and develop a series of collaborations and creative projects that form a part of their installations, and will learn important insights into all aspects of business from branding and communications to sales.
In recognition of the participants' creativity and innovation, an award will be presented to one designer during London Fashion Week February 2019. The winner will be decided by a panel of cultural and commercial fashion experts chaired by Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chief Critic Vogue US; the same panel that selected the 16 designers earlier this year.
Full list of designers and the countries they are representing at IFS:
Bangladesh – Rahemur Rahman
Brazil – David Lee
Canada – Curtis Oland
Colombia – Laura Laurens
Georgia – Situationist
India – Naushad Ali
Italy – Ice Surface Temperature
Kenya – Ami Doshi Shah
Lebanon – Roni Helou
Lithuania – Morta Nakaite
Netherlands – Duran Lantink
Rwanda – Cedric Mizero
South Africa – Thebe Magugu
Sri Lanka – Amesh Wijesekera
Uruguay – Clara Aguayo
Vietnam - Môi-Điên