I attended Fashion Finest, during London Fashion Week, a platform for emerging UK and international designers. The off-schedule shows on the 15th and 16th of September featured designers from 12 different countries. I applaud Fashions Finest for their stance on diversity within in the fashion industry. The runway was walked by models, designers and audiences representing all ages, sizes, (dis)abilities, and cultures on and off the catwalk.
The designers that stood out for me were Lian Cara, Glamour Hunter, LeViCo, Sander Bos, Hope Macaulay, John Hererra and Maddy Stringer Design.
The first show featured Designers: Misora Nakamori (France), Romina Dorigo (Italy), Louisa Moody (Wales), Gauhar Ali (Italy), and Yurita Puji (Indonesia).
The afternoon show featured Gillian McKeith and daughter Afton McKeith walking for handbag designer Claud Fürst (UK). Other designers included Mena Odi Collections (UK), George + Ginger (USA), House of Delire (USA), Linda Blissett (UK), Shay Jaffar (USA), and Jeanette Young London (UK).
The 7 pm show included the first professional international model with down syndrome, Madeleine Stuart, who walked for designer Colleen Morris (UK/USA). Followed by Glamour Hunter (Spain), jewellery designer Jadau by Kanwal Toor (UK/India), LeViCo (Indonesia), Sander Bos (Brussels), and Relax Baby Be Cool (Estonia).
Day two began with the Let’s Talk Fashion Business Panel discussion “Beyond Representation: Inclusivity & Fashion”. Hosted by actress and presenter Gayle Thompson. The Panel included:
Sola Oyebade – Director of Mahogany Model Management
Samanta Bullock – Ex Paralympian & wheelchair model
Markus Roberts-Clarke – BMA Model (LGBT community)
Rosanne Stuart – Manager mum to the first down syndrome model who shared their experience.
The panellists spoke about their experience of exclusion in life and in the fashion industry. They also covered some statistics on why it makes commercial sense to not disregard their demographic.
The afternoon shows featured Hope Macaulay (Ireland), Velika Hartono (Indonesia), Georgina Dee (UK), streetwear brand Twozzday (USA), Lian Cara (Wales) Adejo (Nigeria) and 13 Magpie Design Studios (UK).
The Closing Catwalk Soirée featured industry models along with everyday people modelling for Louise Clark Design, international award-winning designer John Hererra, Maddy Stringer Design, Rose Red Couture, Rose Connor, Britain’s Top Designer winner (2018) Vaseghia, Quillattire, Exhibit69, Haus of Ra, sustainable brand Giebultowski, A Star Is Born UK and accessory brand Caivo.
Many thanks to Fashion Finest for the experience.
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