The British Fashion Council in collaboration with the Lagos Fashion and Design Week is sending its set of Nigerian designers to the London Fashion Week’s international showcase. The International Fashion Showcase is an initiative of the British Council allowing promising designers from 25 countries curate a mini-exhibition of looks around a central theme as part of the London Fashion Week. Half trade show, half fashion exhibition, the showcase is structured to allow emerging designers and fashion curators from different continents network with each other, as well as find buyers and clients while exhibiting the unique growth that is happening in the fashion industries of their home countries and how their fashion influences their cultures and alternately reflects it.
2015 was the first year Nigeria participated in the international fashion showcase and we were represented by Orange Culture, Grey Projects, Kenneth Ize, IAMISIGO and T.I Nathan. Four of the five designers, were alumni of the British Council funded LFDW Fashion Focus Incubator program and the exhibition was designed and curated by Yegwa Ukpo the creative director of Stranger Lagos, a specialist retail store in Lagos.
Under his leadership, Team Nigeria won the Curator of the year award, easily the most prestigious award of the entire showcase for their exhibition titled ‘Metamorphosis‘.
2016’s I.F.S showcase is part of the Somerset’s House ‘Utopia’ project celebrating 500th anniversary of British Poet and clerise Thomas More’s treatise Utopia.
“At the heart of More’s Utopia is the understanding that we can learn from different places, peoples and cultures. Almost all Utopian narratives use travel, journeys and discovery to show that by imagining that another world is possible we are inspired to create it. For IFS 2016 the West Wing at Somerset House will be transformed into an imaginary terrain, designed by Hatty Ellis Coward, where an emerging generation of international designers and curators invite visitors to share their vision of the future.”
Nigeria’s team for 2016 has already been chosen and hinted at via the Lagos Fashion and Design Week’s Instagram account. Paolo Sisiano of Sisiano, Papa Omisore of P.O.C, Kanyinsola Onalaja of Onalaja, Ejiro Amos Tafiri and Sylvia and Olivia Ndukwe of Gozel Green round out the list. This is easily the strongest team of designers Nigeria has assembled.
Ejiro Amos Tafiri is coming off her win at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week and a collection that is world class, Kanyinsola Onalaja is a critically acclaimed young designer with international accolades and Gozel Green’s sartorial choices continue to surprise and inspire. With Sisiano to round it off and Omisore bringing a muted perspective, if Yegwa Ukpo can be persuaded to curate this year’s exhibition, we will have our strongest chance yet to make quite the second impression. We hope this happens.