>> Everytime fashion week comes around, I always get a bunch of emails asking how people can particpate in fashion week even if they can't get invitations/accreditation. My default answer for London Fashion Week used to be to advise people to go watch the live streamed New Gen shows on a big screen in Topshop Oxford Circus or get involved with the programme of customer events they normally have or unhelpfully, I tell people to go to Somerset House and just soak up the atmosphere as the grounds are open to all. That begets a crowd of people at Somerset House perhaps waiting at the tents, hoping to go to shows which can result in sad face emojis all around when the venues inevitably get too full. Therefore, better to go to the surewin, no-hassle and easy-to-get-in International Fashion Showcase, which is taking place in London all throughout fashion week next week and beyond in some instances. It's an initiative that started last season but this time around, there's more of a structure with more events going on. Basically the British Council (responsible for cross exchanging British culture with countries all over the world) and the British Fashion Council have teamed up to bring the work of 110 emerging international designers to be showcased at 27 embassies dotted around London.
Participating countries include Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Estonia, Jamaica, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Vietnam. It reflects the globalisation of fashion that is rapidly taking place and taps into my secondary love of discovering young talent in far flung countries. If I wasn't doing fashion week shows, this would be a dream for me to trek around London, exploring the unexpected.
What makes it even more fun is that you can pick up a guide and map and follow the trail of the embassies, and get your map stamped at each venue. Collect six stamps or more and you enter a prize draw to win a VIP day at Vodaphone London Fashion Weekend, including a £250 voucher. I wouldn't be so fussed about the prize draw but the treasure trail element is quite jolly.
The map and schedule below indicates the geographical and international breadth of fashion that can be explored for absolutely nada. The Argentina showcase sounds especially interesting with nine designers from different regions capturing the landscape of the country. Denmark, Norway and Sweden have teamed up to present Fashion Scandinavia Movement, which is something we've all come to be familiar with, what with the growing dominance of contemporary fashion. Three designers from the Netherlands present their innovative approaches to new technologies, sustainable design and traditional craftsmenship. An exhibition called Woven Threads on Nigeria's fashion industry also looks like a good un'.
All in all, this is a brilliant opportunity to see young talent coming around from all corners of the globe. Like I said, if I wasn't show going, writing, filing, blah-blah-ing, I'd be meandering around embassy buildings for sure.