International Fashion Showcase 2016

International designers imagine Utopia at Somerset House

19 – 23 February 2016
Daily 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.15)
Please note the exhibition closed from 13.00-16.30 on Sunday 21 February
West Wing Galleries, West Wing
Admission is free but pre-registration advised. Pre-register through Billetto here

Fashion Utopias: the International Fashion Showcase 2016 is a series of specially commissioned and curated fashion installations featuring work by emerging designers from 24 countries. Created by the British Council and British Fashion Council , it is a key part of the London Fashion Week public programme which forms a city-wide celebration of fashion that is open to all.

The West Wing  will be transformed into an imaginary terrain where an emerging generation of international designers and curators invite visitors to share their versions of the Utopia. The exhibition is part of  Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility.

The exhibition will be arranged over 15 galleries, 14 of which will represent a country. There will be one group installation, ‘Next in Line’, curated by Shonagh Marshall and sponsored by Italian mannequin manufacturer Bonaveri, which will feature designers from 10 further nations.

Country installations include:

- Thomas More’s vision of Utopia was singular and eccentric. In response to this the Czech Republic’s installation seeks to capture the free-spirited, and often unconventional, voices of a new generation of designers.

- Indonesia will present a group of designers who are looking at modestwear with new eyes. Like many Utopias the installation will create its own cosmology with each designer representing an essential element – earth, fire, water and wind, – and their search for the elusive unifying fifth element quintessence.

- Lebanon present a group of fashion and accessory designers who have been part of an innovative programme of mentoring organised by the Starch Foundation and Boutique. Drawing on the translation of Utopia as ‘no place’ the installation, designed by Elie Metni, will retrace Lebanese architectural forms through lighting to explore the space between the real and imagined.

- Stranger concept store in Lagos will curate an installation of Nigerian menswear and womenswear, that imagines the creative energy of designers as a cosmic bang. Inspired by optical illusions the installation will ask visitors to imagine a moment when the impossible fleetingly seems real.

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

A prize-giving ceremony scheduled for London Fashion Week February 2016, chaired by a panel of industry experts will announce a winning Country and Designer, as well as a Curator Award sponsored by Bonaveri. The panel is headed by Sarah Mower MBE, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent and European Editor-at-Large of Vogue.com. 

Over the course of the exhibition there will be programme of events open to the public. For more information visit: design.britishcouncil.org/ifs2016

The International Fashion Showcase is directed by Anna Orsini, Strategic Consultant British Fashion Council and Niamh Tuft, Programme Manager British Council.

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