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LFW Feb 2019: International Fashion Showcase


The International Fashion Showcase (IFS) nurtures and presents work from the best up-and-coming fashion talent from around the world. The biennial fashion presentation is a partnership between the British Council, British Fashion Council, London College of Fashion, UAL and Somerset House. This season, sixteen designers present their work in an exhibition format, each is given a room, or an installation space that can be as immersive and creative as they would like. Escaping the hubbub of London Fashion Week’s main site on The Strand attendees can wander around each room and really take in the details and intricacies of each collection.

(Bangladesh – Rahemur Rahman)

Personal highlights came courtesy of Môi Điên from Vietnam; Môi Điên means ‘outspoken’ and designs are created with the notion that clothes are a form of communication. In this collection Tom Trandt, founder of Môi Điên experiments with messages of hope embroidered into the designs that can only be revealed under UV light.

(Vietnam Môi Điên)

Roni Helou from Lebanon decided to avoid waste by sourcing fabric from dead stock. Hunting around the market he discovered beautiful and historical vintage fabrics that he recreated into contemporary designs. His installation questions what can be done to change behaviour around recycling and waste.

 (Lebanon Roni Helou)

Meanwhile Cedric Mizero from Rwanda used objects from everyday life in a Rwandan village, from rush mats to pill cases to create his designs, drawing attention to the issues of marginalised communities and cultures in his country. His installation is not just about awareness but is a celebration of his culture and village life.

(Cedric Mizero Rwanda)

Thebe Magugu from South Africa was announced as the winning designer of International Fashion Showcase 2019. The judging panel called him ‘a leader of his generation’ and said that his installation ‘not only has striking visual impact but real clarity. It is a space which gives a sense of past, present and a bright future for Thebe and his country.’ For IFS 2019, Thebe Magugu presented designs featuring motifs from Africa’s story-rich past but with a forward-looking, global approach. His installation illustrates the profound changes in South Africa by putting the country’s constitution centre stage.

(South Africa – Thebe Magugu)

Duran Lantink from Netherlands was awarded a special mention for his collection. The judges said: There is a sense that the collection is only the beginning of a continuous exploration with countless possibilities and impacts on others working in the fashion industry.’ Duran presented 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. He also presented 0% Duran, Lantink’s brand which creates fashion without production and refashions garments from discount sites or outlets, giving them a new appeal.

While Cedric Mizero from Rwanda was given a special mention for his curation. The judges said: Cedric Mizero is without doubt a cultural changemaker for his country. His work has the ability to collapse the local and the global into a message that is universal and deeply human.’ 

The winners were decided by a panel of cultural and commercial fashion experts chaired by Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chief Critic at Vogue.com.

For London Fashion Week, the showcase has a new format. For the first time, 16 selected designers from across the globe are showcasing a series of compelling installations to represent their respective country. The designers explore politics, sustainability, identity and heritage and show their latest designs in immersive environments. The free exhibition continues until 24 February.

In another first, these designers are 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.

(Brazil – David Lee)

Related articles:

LFW Feb 2019: Street Style

LFW Feb 2019: Design Diversity is Right Here

LFW Feb 2019: Designer for the Second QEII Award Announced

LFW Feb 2019: VIN + OMI Present Planet Rewind

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