Local/Global International Fashion Showcase 2017

Similarly to the last years, this February´s Fashion Week also brought along the International Fashion Showcase to Somerset House. It is already the 6th edition of the exhibition, bringing together emerging designers from all over the world from 26 countries.
The theme for this year´s exhibition is Local/Global. By considering fashion within their own landscape, the designers highlight the similarities and differences of our connected world. The global themes are examined from different cultural viewpoints, offering the variety of opinions and a large selection of materials, as well as craft techniques.

As the exhibition is in a competition format, the top accolade was received by Korean designer Younchan Chung of The-Sirius for his impressive design showcased in the Korean installation. The country award was given to India for its exhibition ‘The Indian Pastoralists’.

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Korean designers are exploring the tradition of bojagi wrapping cloths, that can be appropriated and transformed for myriad uses. The flexibility, recyclability and multi-functionality of the bojagi has the potential to offer an invaluable vocabulary to global fashion.
Indian exposition roams around the pastoral communities of the multicultural country. The nomadic groups renown for their artisanal skill as much as their animal-herding expertise bring awareness to protect the natural resources and maintain their social fabric, bringing the focus on sustainability.

My personal favourite installations were the powerful and “raw” setup of Ukraine and nostalgically dreamy Chile, offering a very harmonious composition.

“Wish You Were Here” is set up around the image of old Soviet mural bus stop – a place for people to meet and reflect while waiting.
“Animita” is a spontaneously erected roadside shrine with artists celebrating the country´s artisanal textile heritage. The visitors were encouraged to write down their wishes and fix them on the wall.

The exhibition is open to public till 6PM on the 21st February.

Fashion Utopias

London Fashion Week is back in town! For me it hit off at International Fashion Showcase launch at Somerset House.
How funny, a year ago LFW main exhibition and show space was at Somerset House and the IFS at Brewer Street car park, while this year the places have been switched and Somerset House looks a lot quieter, with the whole inner courtyard uninhibited by the show space tent and all the fashionistas.

Sadly my native Estonia is not taking part of it any more(I still have the wicked suspicion of my country getting banned from further participation after winning the best showcase prize two years in a row).

This time the main theme for the IFS show was “Utopia”. The general impression of the exhibition was surprisingly uniform. Should it be blamed to the effects of globalisation or the spread of the fashion media and internationally similar fashion education? I would have hoped to see more of cultural diversity in the designs. Ethnic touches were present, but in a very subtle way. On the positive side the major trends were bead embroidery and ponyskin detailing, while on the boring side the prevailing majority of clothes stuck to wearable minimalistic earthy tones and fabrics. Which is nice, modern and wearable, but not as exciting to look at. This general impression creates a sort of global uniformity and loses cultural originality – kind of like no matter where in the wold you go, you´ll see the same colours and cuts, just as there is Zara chain shop on the high Street anywhere in the world.
In comparison to the clothes, the most interesting were shoes and accessories, that wondered off in the realm of utopian dreams.

My favourites by far were(like last year) the works of Filipino fashion designers, as the most imaginative and original, yet drawing inspiration from their own cultural heritage. Austrian shoes and accessories also won the top spot with their sense of humor and freshness of ideas.

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International Fashion Showcase 2015

Once a year London Fashion Week invites designers from all around the world – nearly 30 countries –  to showcase their creations at the International Fashion Showcase. It started four years ago in 2012 as part of the ambition to give the London Olympics a lasting cultural impact. After the first show the event has taken on a life of its own, becoming not only a forum for international designers, but also curators to set out how their generation sees things.
My native Estonian teams have won the best showcase award two years in a row with very strong set ups in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately this year Estonia was not participating(probably banned from the showcase for winning too many times in a row!:)).

The exhibition, held in industrial surroundings of Brewer Street Car Park, was full of creativity enabling to observe the cultural differences and similarities of creative minds worldwide.

My personal favorites varied from Chilean designer ´s  stylishly elegant work of unraveled scarf-dress to utterly creative collections of bodily artefacts by Filipino designers based on Philippine folk tales.

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