Vlisco Fashion Fund 2017 awarded in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo
After several months, having reviewed hundreds of talented applicants and conducted almost 150 interviews, the Vlisco Fashion Funds were finally awarded to the winners in Togo, Nigeria and Ghana. The Vlisco Fashion Fund is a competition that is established to support emerging designers in starting and strengthening their own fashion businesses. The prize-winner of every country receives a fund and a masterclass.
Upcoming fashion designers in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo could enter the first round of the competition by submitting their portfolio, CV and business plan. In every country, ca. forty applicants were invited for an interview in the second round. The 5 finalists that participated in the last rounds, got the assignment to create three looks with Vlisco fabrics, in a certain concept. The juries consisted of noted professionals and entrepreneurs from the African fashion industry and other fields.
The team of judges chose Belinda Ofori as the winner of Vlisco’s Fashion Fund. Belinda attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and studied at Joyce Ababio College of Creative Design. Belinda aims to create a positive impact in the design industry and hopes people can express their personalities through her concepts. Belinda has worked in brand strategy and content development, and is now launching her fashion label Turquoise.
Araba Akompi, CEO of fashion label stylista, Afua Rida, stylist and fashion blogger, Eugenia Techie-Menson, educationist and 2014 Vlisco Ambassador, and marketing director Stephen Badu, were the judging panel during this special evening. They were impressed with Belinda’s high level of creativity in using Vlisco fabrics in her gorgeous design and thus selected her as the winner of 7 finalists.
“Fashion has been my passion for a very long time and I’m willing to follow this dream to make an impact in my country and continent,” Belinda says.
The Nigerian panel of judges was up for a huge challenge when they received over 500 applications for the Vlisco Fashion Fund. The jury consisted of fashion designers Lanre da Silva Ajayi and Joan Ibuzo, joined by our former Vlisco Ambassador Dotun Akande and Afua Osei from the business community She Leads Africa, and the two fashion illustrators Mr. Uche and Mr. Ethan.
After careful deliberation, the judges chose Oluwakayode Etti as the winner. Though Etti initially dreamed of becoming a singer, he soon developed a passion for fashion. The dresses he sketched and painted when he was a young boy, he later developed when he became a fashion designer.
In 2017, Etti started his own label called Skentele by Etti, an Afrocentric fashion brand dedicated to portraying African designs, mixed with western styles for global acceptance. The brand is gradually making its stand in the Nigerian fashion scene.
Fashion designer Chrysken, artist and designer Kossi Assou, and entrepreneur Candide Bamezon-Leguede were the judges for the Togolese Fashion Fund. During the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Vlisco shop last February, the five finalists showcased the outfits they designed for the competition. Yawa Nina Lavoe was awarded the fund. The jury appreciated her confidence, humility and determination, and was impressed by her signature hand beads embroidery and her originality in pattern placement.