Winners of the
Vlisco Fashion Fund
TRAVEL TO THE NETHERLANDS FOR
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOPS
The Vlisco Fashion Fund is a yearly contest that helps support up-and-coming designers and tailors with career success, with an emphasis on fashion brand development in Central and West Africa. Each year, winners receive funding to invest in their businesses and are awarded with professional workshops. The 2018 winners of the Vlisco Fashion Fund were awarded a specialised training trip to the Netherlands.
Meet and greet a Vlisco
A group of Vlisco Fashion Fund winners arrived 27th of April in Helmond, a small Dutch town where Vlisco has its headquarters since 1846. Glora, Guillaine, Francel, Adriana, Jeremiah, Paramole, and Nina. From different countries, speaking different languages, each with their own unique style. Together they started the programme with an introduction to Vlisco, followed by an interactive lecture by Nigerian fashion designer Bubu Ogisi on ‘Starting, expanding and sustaining a fashion business in Africa (& beyond)’. For Jeremiah Mensah, this was the “most inspiring part of the journey.” Bubu Ogisi, creative director of the brand IAMISIGO “taught us how to approach fashion from a business perspective, always looking at the financial aspects.”
Developing skills in 3D pattern-making
Amsterdam was next. The Fashion Fund winners met renowned designer Ronald van der Kemp, creative director of the sustainable couture label RVDK worn by celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o and Cardi B. The same day, they participated in a moulage workshop with couturier Alette Noordergraaf, where the group developed skills in 3-dimensional pattern-making.
On Saturday 29th of April, the group experienced King’s Day, a 130-year old Dutch holiday where everyone wears the national colour orange and the streets are filled with small-time merchants. Glora Nkayilu from the Democratic Republic of the Congo talked about how her designs were influenced by this experience:
“I love the way the shops in the streets recall history, and the way the people love it… the outfit I’m going to present is the history I have seen here in relation to the monarchy, in relation to King’s Day. In Amsterdam, you experience history on every street corner, on the faces of people, and it’s really warm, it’s marvellous.”
5-day Master Class
After 4 days of workshops and exploring Amsterdam, the Fashion Fund winners went through a 5-day Master Class led by Fabiane Chaudron at Amsterdam’s famous tailoring institute ‘Meester Coupeurs’. They were coached through each stage of the design and tailoring process, all the way to garment fabrication at the highest level of detail. Adriana Talansi from Congo-Brazzaville spoke about the training:
“Our teacher, Fabiane, is incredible: you can ask her anything, she teaches us all the techniques, she reveals another vision of the pattern that I had never seen. I felt truly at home.”
The group had a strong connection, conveyed in a statement from Paramole Tayo:
“It has been amazing to meet my fellow fashion fund winners; people from different countries, speaking different languages. We have been communicating, sharing ideas, talking to each other, sharing feelings.
At this point it is not about work anymore. Not about networking. It’s about knowing people from different places, visiting each other’s countries. Go there, be inspired by something. Now I am free to share
with many people.”
Final looks & shots
Their garments were presented to Ronald van der Kemp, after which the Master Class concluded with a photoshoot where each designer controlled art direction over their final piece, resulting in a diverse set of shots and looks.
If you are an ambitious emerging designer or tailor
interested in applying to this year’s Vlisco Fashion Fund contest,
follow Vlisco on Facebook or Instagram to find out when applications open.