Ayo van Elmar at Ubuntu International Fashion Showcase February 2012

Yesterday I had the privilege to be invited as a guest to The Ubuntu Fashion Project. This was the second showcase by the Africa dream team that consists of my dear friends Theo Omambala and Errol Hendrickse. Once again the passion to highlight emerging talent from Africa was unleashed at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. My favourites were Clinton Lotter and Ayo van Elmar. I think these were the two most commercially led but African inspired collections. I certainly could see most if not all of the pieces in a leading UK fashion boutique. I am interested to find out if any sales transactions were achieved.

Now I have visited many a fashion show in my lifetime that sitting front row for me isn’t a rite of passage. I have had more front seats than most due to my stint at the British Fashion Council and on the Sew-East Programme. My interest (if you don’t already know) is focussed on the business transactions that “will” take place.

This year we see the inclusion of the much welcomed – International Fashion Showcase, “a project created by the British Council and British Fashion Council showcasing over 80 international designers in 19 embassies and cultural institutes across London” (source BFC website) of which the Ubuntu project is part of.
We know that the direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy is £21 billion (source: BFC Value of Fashion Report 2010) but how much of that will the International fashion market bring in?

I am really hoping that the inclusion of international fashion designers isn’t just about the Olympics but more of a recognition that there really is superb talent overseas and it needs to be seen on western shores in addition to western talent being showcased overseas. The sharing of creativity is significant especially in the context of fabric and colours form and shape, but what about the sharing of business information and best practice? How many of our international counterparts understand the relevance of Press and PR, Buying procedures, terms of business and consumer wants and needs?
Well help is at hand. I will be blogging and reporting on fashion business related activity for FAB Magazine – http://blog.fabmagazineonline.com/
For print subscriptions click here: http://www.fabmagazineonline.com/

Calling on my 15 years plus experience in the fashion business industry I will aim to point African, Caribbean and European designers in the right direction in terms of achieving through business interviews with pioneers, highlighting books of interest and providing tips and techniques for surviving the cut throat world of the fashion industry.


Feel free to email me if there are any topics you feel would be of interest to you and if it’s relevant to fashion business I will endeavor to cover it. Email: info@willbaforce.com
Willbaforce Ltd