During London Fashion Week February 2017, The British Council, British Fashion Council (BFC) and Mercedes-Benz collectively presented work by emerging fashion designers from 26 countries for the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) 2017 when it returned to Somerset House for a second year in February. The exhibition was the sixth edition of the annual showcase and formed a key part of London Fashion Week Festival, giving the public the opportunity to celebrate fashion and its universal relevance. This was the first time the IFS was supported and presented by Mercedes-Benz, which has established itself globally as a key player and partner at key international fashion shows and events in the past 22 years.
The theme of the exhibition was Local/Global. Countries were invited to explore the influence of place on fashion and to examine how emerging designers can transform their local culture into a global language. 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 highlighted 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 were 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 invited visitors to share their country’s vision of Local/Global.
The exhibition was arranged over 14 rooms, 13 of which represented a country. There was one group installation, Next in Line, curated by Shonagh Marshall, which featured designers from nine further nations. A key highlight and new to IFS 2017, in a dedicated area, Mercedes-Benz showcased five emerging designers from Canada, China, Germany, Portugal and Ukraine who the brand supports through its International Designer Exchange Programme (IDEP).
The countries showcases: Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Taiwan and Ukraine.
The Next in Line participants: Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
Find out more about the participating countries on the British Council website.
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