A few weeks ago we headed down to the Tanzanian embassy curated by Samson Soboye of the eponymous London store Soboye to check out the designers there before heading over to the Style House Files Woven Threads Nigerian designer presentation in London. I loved the exhibtions but I still wanted more. When I say more i wanted more exhibitions bigger stronger and celebrating more parts of the African continent. But i must give my respect to British Council for the showcase and hope they do this more each year.
The International Fashion Showcase, launched in February 2012 by the British Fashion Council(BFC) and the British Council took place during London Fashion Week (LFW). 27 embassies displayed the work of over 110 international emerging designers. The public, together with international press and buyers, had the opportunity to explore these innovative collections throughout the month of February.
So firstly at the Tanzanian embassy we were excited to see the work from designers Chichia London, Anna Luks and Heart365. Chichia celebrated khanga fabrics which were structured into contemporary, modern yet playful silhouettes and collaborated with amazing Tanzanian jewellery of which I loved. Overall beautiful pieces and a snippet from the brands AW13 collection – Gauni – The Dress Concept which explores the concept of communication through dress by offering 13 key dresses that every Chichi girl should have in their closet. The pieces from Anna Luks which was one of the first brands we featured on AFG in 2011 were also very contemporary and a great use of print too. Heart365 jewellery is simply craftsmanship at its best. Absolutely beautifully handcrafted and worth every penny!
Heading over to the Woven Threads we were happy to see a small but interesting selection of Nigerian designers who explored new methods of working with raditional textile craftsmanship in a contemporary way without hiding the heritage. This was as it was called all about the woven thread so I was in my element here being an advocate and campaigner for woven cloth in Africa. Whilst there we spoke with the lovely Bayo from Orange Culture who talked about his work with adire and Aso-Oke, Christelle the lovely stylist was in the house too and was obviously passionate about the project. Womenswear designer Meena was also on showcase with designs made also from woven Aso-Oke fabric and the wonderful work of Bridget Awosika (who showcased last year) was beautifully crafted and I personally fell in love with the pieces. It was a celebration of what Africa truly has to offer.
But next year, please British Council and British Fashion Council lets do bigger!