The British Council and the British Fashion Council (BFC) announced the inaugural International Fashion Showcase which launched during London Fashion Week, February 2012.
This must attend event was one where 19 embassies and cultural institutes across London opened their doors and displayed the work of over 80 international emerging designers including those new and well known names from a selection of African countries too. The public, together with international press and buyers, have the opportunity to explore the collections of some of the most innovative, emerging fashion designers from around the world.
The first project the British Council and the British Fashion Council have collaborated on, this new showcase is part of the Fashion 2012 Cultural Programme and has been developed to celebrate the year of the Olympics and Paralympics and honour its values of international respect, excellence, equality and friendship. Countries participating in this showcase include Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Caribbean, China, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Sierra Leone, United States and Uzbekistan.
Each country has been asked to present a selection of emerging designers whom they feel most represents the future of fashion in their region.
I went to visit the particular exhibitions being the Africa selection which included designers from Botswana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in an exhibition curated by Carol Tulloch.
Mariama Kargbo presents her inaugural ready-to-wear collection celebrating the rich artisan workmanship of the Sierra Leonean people. The collection features a fusion of heritage fabrics and traditional embroidery techniques, combined with modern style and design. The ethically sourced hand-woven fabrics used in this collection have been skillfully made by local artisans from Sierra Leone and feature the intricate tie-dye technique known as Gara. The design details, inspired by tribal outfits, are used as accents to create something that is uniquely Sierra Leonean; adding vibrancy and character to the silhouettes.
The reputable African fashion and culture online magazine Style House Files Presents – “Tales By Moonlight” A Fashion Folklore. This fashion exhibition invites you to journey into Africa. Where colour, texture and print unite with silhouettes drawn from regional folklore, blended with meaningful combinations of times past. The enchantment of Nigerian culture is revisited through the modern individual works of designers that range from clothing to accessories and home furnishings.
Featuring the work of Nigeria’s emerging designers, the exhibition encapsulates a wealth of traditional African motifs allied to a contemporary fashion aesthetic equally at home on the streets of London as in Lagos. Designers include Anita Quansah, Banke Kuku, Bridget Awosika, Eva Sonaike, Jewel by Lisa, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Maki – Oh, Pegwell Hill, Sunny Rose and Vintage Colette.
See photos from this exhibition below.
It was great to see the designs close up and to see the creativity that has been put into the creation of these pieces. Above all it showed just how great the level of designs are that are coming out of Africa.
As a response to the successful inauguration of the first Botswana Fashion Week in October 2011, the Botswana High Commission is showcasing a group of its most outstanding local designers, giving each an opportunity to display their work to an international audience, some for the first time on Friday 24th February.
Names to look out for include: Thato Tlhagwane, Botho Chalebgwa, Beryl Phala, Black Trash and Sela Motshwane. Each designer encapsulates what the Botswana call ‘Pula!’ – a phrase that symbolises optimism for the future – through a combinations of menswear and womenswear, featuring diverse influences such as slick tailoring and traditional African leteitshe fabrics.