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IFS Event: Fashion Without Boundaries

IFS Event: Fashion Without Boundaries  Kenneth Ize. Photograph by Lakin Ogunbanwo

Kenneth Ize. Photograph by Lakin Ogunbanwo

15 February 2015
by Kendall Robbins

23 February, 17.00 - 18.00
Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street,
London W1F 0LA

London fashion thrives on the convergence of cultures, this panel discussion will
celebrate the influence of international fashion on the capital and explores how the city can continue to welcome international emerging talents.
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Chair: Vicky Richardson, Director Architecture Design Fashion, British Council


Anne Smith, Dean of Academic Programmes: Fashion, Jewellery and Textiles, Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design, Spatial Practices at Central Saint Martins

David Gilbert, Professor of Urban and Historical Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London

Samson Soboye, Soboye Shoreditch


The UK is a world leader in fashion education attracting large numbers of international students. In turn the London Fashion Week and London Collection: Men schedules are populated by designers who come from all over the world who have chosen to make London their home. From established designers like Hussein Chalayan, Roksanda Ilincic and Duro Olowu to emerging designers like David Koma, Boru Aksu and Simone Rocha London fashion has its own distinct local identity while being thoroughly global.

What makes a London designer a London designer and in a global fashion system is a designer’s cultural heritage relevant? How do designers transform these cultural influences into something relevant to London and the rest of the world?

The history of immigration into London has affected its fashions as much as any other aspect of culture. From the flourishing of the Indian paisley motif in the 18th Century to Jewish tailors settling in London’s East End and the influence of the ‘Windrush’ generation on style as documented in the V&A’s Black British Style exhibition London’s fashion culture has been continuously shaped by those we have welcomed to our city and the international links it has forged through trade, travel and migration.   

The International Fashion Showcase is hosted in Brewer Street Car Park in Soho, an area that itself flourished as a fashion district as a result of international influences. French Huguenots settled in the area in the 17th Century bringing their lace-making traditions with them. John Stephen, a pioneer of the London boutique, looked to Italian tailoring and styling in his suits at the height of the Carnaby Street. Its blend of music, coffee culture in the 1960s made it a focal point for the ‘youthquake’, the influence of which can still be felt in London’s fashion which often places emphasis on emerging designers and youth culture.

British Council Project