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.
Thebe Magugu from South Africa has been 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.
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.
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.’ He used objects from everyday life in a Rwandan village – including rush mats and pill cases – to draw attention to the issues of marginalised communities and cultures in his country. However, rather than focus on the negatives often associated with rural life in a developing country, Mizero also celebrates the wealth of village life.
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.
The 16 countries represented are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Georgia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Vietnam.
The free exhibition is a key part of London Fashion Week, giving both the public and industry professionals the opportunity to discover emerging fashion from five continents: Africa, North and South America, Asia and Europe and to celebrate its global relevance. The collections presented offer a balanced mix of womenswear and menswear exploring topical but universally shared issues and present new ideas and solutions that are shaping fashion globally.
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.
The designers spent one week immersed in the creative community of Somerset House Studios where they were supported by a range of studio artists whose skills and expertise range from ethical fashion and sustainability to tech. Another week was spent with experts from London College of Fashion, UAL reviewing their business and brand development goals. During both residencies, the designers explored, tested and developed a series of collaborations and creative projects that formed part of their installations, and were given important insights into all aspects of business from branding and communications to sales.
Being part of IFS can be the springboard to international recognition. Eight designers who have previously shown at IFS have been nominated for the LVMH prize, 32 nominated for the Woolmark prize and four have won Hyères awards, these include Bodice and the-sirius. 15 have shown on schedule at LFW such as Per Götesson, Rejina Pyo and Xiao Li, five were awarded NEWGEN sponsorship and five have participated in LONDON show ROOMS in Paris.
Full citations on the three designers:
IFS Award – Thebe Magugu, South Africa
There is a feeling that Thebe Magugu is a leader of his generation, and his work has a strong sense of the responsibility that comes with being a voice for one’s culture. His project for IFS holds his peers to values of social empowerment and cultural transformation. It shares the platform of IFS with fellow creatives honouring the spirit of friendship, respect and excellence on which IFS was founded. There is a strong coherence between Thebe’s collection and his installation which 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. Beyond this the maturity and professionalism shown throughout the IFS development programme has revealed a designer who maximises every opportunity he is given and embraces every chance to learn from others and share their own creativity.
Special Mention Collection – Duran Lantink, Netherlands
Duran Lantink embodies the courage evoked in this year’s exhibition title ‘Brave New Worlds’. Thoroughly sustainable in his approach, Duran balances creativity, technical skill and a powerful manifesto for change. His work offers a new system of designing and a business model capable of morphing and evolving. This agility is balanced with a coherence across the garments and the visual output. 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. It is all delivered with wit, energy and a deep respect for designers all over the world.
Special Mention Curation – Cedric Mizero, Rwanda
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. He communicates complex narratives through the medium of clothes and their practice is truly multidisciplinary – across photography, film, spatial installation, fashion and object. His space is an optimistic and joyful celebration of his culture and the people who embody it. Cedric demonstrates a generosity of spirit and largeness of heart in every aspect of his practice, taking every project as an opportunity to learn, share and create social and cultural bonds.
International Fashion Showcase 2019
Brave New Worlds
The Changing Landscape of Fashion
11-24 February 2019
Somerset House, West Wing Galleries