International fashion designers to showcase at London’s global stage

By Wallace Mawire

The British Council, British Fashion Council (BFC) and Mercedes-Benz
will present work by emerging fashion designers from 25 countries for
the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) 2017 when it returns to
Somerset House for a second year on 17 to 21 February,
according to a British Council Zimbabwe spokesperson Charmaine Chitate
who is Project Assistant.

It is reported that the exhibition will be the sixth edition of the
annual showcase and forms a key part of London Fashion Week Festival,
giving the public the opportunity to celebrate fashion and its
universal relevance.
It is also said that this is the first time the IFS will be
supported and presented by Mercedes-Benz that for the past 21 years
has established itself globally as a key player and partner at key
international fashion shows and events.

The IFS is a series of specially-commissioned and curated fashion
installations featuring work by emerging designers from all over the
world. Since 2012, 550 of the most exciting international designers
from 70 countries have exhibited as part of the initiative. IFS
responds to London’s reputation for promoting and supporting new
talent in the creative industries a number of whom are working within
Somerset House by providing opportunities for designers from overseas
to engage with the UK fashion community and build international

The theme of this year’s exhibition is Local/Global. Countries have
been invited to explore the influence of place on fashion and to
examine how emerging designers can transform their local culture into
a global language.
It is also added that fashion is shaped by its surroundings, the
rhythms of nature, climate, cultural memory, social change and
historical shifts are reflected in silhouettes, techniques and
materials. The peculiarities of place give rise to different ways of
designing, making and wearing fashion. By considering fashion within
their own landscape the countries taking part in IFS will highlight
the similarities and differences of our complex and connected world.

To reflect how fashion is influenced by its surroundings, the West
Wing Galleries at Somerset House will be transformed by Studio Toogood
using panels of stretched agricultural tarpaulin, neat stacks of
bricks and fabric panels dyed with London clay. Here an emerging
generation of international designers and curators will invite
visitors to share their country’s vision of Local/Global.

The exhibition will be arranged over 15 rooms, 14 of which will
represent a country. There will be one group installation, ‘Next in
Line’, curated by Shonagh Marshall which will feature designers from
10 further nations. In a dedicated space, Mercedes-Benz will showcase
six emerging designers the brand has previously supported through its
International Designer Exchange Programme (IDEP). As part of its
ongoing global fashion commitment, Mercedes-Benz continues to support,
nurture and mentor young and emerging design talent through the IDEP,
which offers up-and-coming designers a unique opportunity to present
their collections outside of their local markets to an international

A series of business support seminars, organised by London College of
Fashion, are expected to also help designers prepare for the
showcase. The Designer Support Programme is expected to bring
together a network of London College of Fashion (LCF) affiliated
academics and researchers, to offer mentoring opportunities and
business development during IFS. A collaboration with Fashion Scout is
also expected to offer designers involved in IFS the opportunity to
show their work on the catwalk.

A prize-giving ceremony scheduled for London Fashion Week February
2017, chaired by a panel of industry experts will also announce a
winning Country, Designer, and Curator. The panel is headed by Sarah
Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and Chief Critic at For the first time, Mercedes-Benz will additionally
present the winning Designer with the unique opportunity to showcase
his or her collection at one of the currently more than 50
Mercedes-Benz Fashion platforms.

Caroline Rush CBE, BFC Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to
welcome Mercedes-Benz to the International Fashion Showcase
initiative. Mercedes-Benz has been a long term partner of the British
Fashion Council over different projects and their commitment to
supporting emerging talent from all around the world is a great fit
with the spirit of IFS. Each year London is proud to host the IFS
designers who from all over the world bring their local stories and
culture told through the lens of fashion.”

Sarah Mann, Director of Architecture, Design, Fashion, British
Council, said: “Now in its sixth year, the International Fashion
Showcase continues to go from strength to strength, providing a unique
opportunity for emerging fashion designers from all over the world to
demonstrate the strength and diversity of global fashion during London
Fashion Week. This year’s theme; Local/Global, takes fashion’s
connection to its local context as its starting point, looking at and
how young designers are exploring identity in an increasingly
globalised world. The standard of work presented at IFS never fails to
impress; and I look forward to seeing the diversity and innovation of
the designers taking part in this year’s exhibition.”

Michael Bock, Director Sport- & Lifestyle Marketing, Mercedes-Benz
said: “For more than 20 years we have been committed to the world of
fashion through promoting creative and talented people who represent
both quality and variety in the fashion sector. We are excited to be
partnering with the British Council and the British Fashion Council
who are commitment to support, nurture and mentor emerging design
talent on the International Fashion Showcase. The IFS is a fantastic
platform which much like the objective of the Mercedes-Benz
International Designer Exchange Programme, cross- pollinates between
nations and creates a valuable commercial and critical platform for
upcoming and established designers.”

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