Global Fashion Collective (GFC) showed at Milan Fashion Week for the first time this autumn. Led by Jamal Abdourahman, director of Vancouver Fashion Week, the second largest fashion week in North America, GFC has quickly become one of the top showcases of new talent from around the world, producing runway shows in various fashion capitals. This innovative organization shows at New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Tokyo Fashion Week, with plans to add showcases in London and Mexico in 2023.
Ten international designers were in the spotlight during an exclusive Spring/Summer 2023 runway presentation at Milan Fashion Week at an edgy industrial location near the Prada Foundation. Designers for this first showcase in Milan included Marisa P. Clark/Faun Studio (Canada), BlueTamburin (Korea), Leesle (Korea) and seven young talents from the Mexican design school, CEDIM.
BlueTamburin presented a stellar unisex collection that perfectly mixed Western silhouettes with Eastern details. South Korean designer Bomin Kim has been in the industry for over two decades, creating fantastical, imaginative garments. This collection was inspired by seeing the constellations in the sky after attending a Catholic church service. Aspiring to “zero waste clothing”, her pieces are created using naturally dyed and sustainable fabrics like 100% silk. One standout look featured a sweeping cream-colored gown with a ruffled collar and balloon sleeves, and a hand-painted image of Venus from “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli on the side. This collection features 3-D flowers, lace trim, mesh fabrics and button detailing on garments. Another highlight was a long open coat with an oversized collar and wide-leg cream trousers with a thick waistband.
Faun Studio showcased “Wildflowers,” a collection inspired by flower fields and sunsets. This Calgary-based label was created by Marisa P. Clark in 2017, after graduating from the London College of Fashion. Her brand is feminine and playful, often featuring bright earthy tones and cute prints. This collection was no exception, with garments in shades of apricot orange, sage green and pale yellow. The ready-to-wear looks include cropped polo shirts, cardigans and maxi dresses. Clark also featured three luxurious handmade crochet pieces, created with hand-spun and naturally dyed wool from Mexico. The finale look featured a burnt orange bra and panty set underneath a wildflower crochet dress that took 40 hours to create.
Leesle Hwang of Leesle presented a stunning, colorful collection, rich in references to her South Korean heritage. Her brand aims to make hanbok (traditional Korean dress) more wearable and contemporary. This collection was inspired by festivals and the fun atmosphere they create. Leesle’s attention to detail is clear in her impeccable mixing of traditional Korean garment elements with streetwear styling. The first look featured a cropped white shirt with distressed patchwork jeans, styled with striking green mesh gloves and bright green boots. Many garments also feature brightly colored decorative tassels called “norigae” a traditional feature of hanbok styling.
CEDIM School of Design was founded by Alejandro García Villarreal and has specialized in teaching arts, design, innovation and business in Mexico since 1978. Seven students from CEDIM were chosen to show three looks each, with GFC in Milan. Designs from all were so well thought out – a very impressive debut on the runway. Lorena de la Garza’s futuristic and colorful garments featured cutouts and pieces expertly layered into a Mondrian-esque masterpiece. Valeria San Miguel presented “Psychedelic Witch,” a collection that shows off her love of color and print. Her garments were in baby blue, bright orange and mustard yellow, with crochet and cute fringe elements. Alessandra Garfias used 3D-printing and laser-cutting technology for her designs. Her pieces came in stunning jewel tones, inspired by nature and featured gorgeous asymmetrical sleeves. Katya Razan’s collection used natural dyes to achieve the pretty shades of peach, robin’s egg and pastel yellow for her three monochromatic looks. Her garments had a distressed streetwear twist and ribbon-tied elements. Karime Payan used her garments to comment on the forced disappearance problem in Mexico. Her pieces featured the faces of missing people embroidered onto an asymmetrical cape, collar, draped on chains and waterfalling down from a skirt. Paulina Villarreal Martinez presented “Quimera,” a beautiful artisanal showcase with pieces inspired by Frida Kahlo and Thierry Mugler. Her simple and elegant garments were styled with beautiful flower headpieces. Norma Cota’s designs were inspired by the stigma of social disorders. She presented three all-black experimental punk looks that played with asymmetry and oversized silhouettes.
The next editions of Global Fashion Collective are at Paris Fashion Week 1 October 2022, London Fashion Week, February 2023 and Tokyo Fashion Week, March 2023.