The SHOWstudio Panel

Does the current structure of the industry enable new talent to thrive? This is the question that CIFF Director and Creative Director Kristian W. Andersen and Stavros Karelis, MACHINE A Founder and Buyer Director, tried to answer to during CIFF FW 18-19 edition, just ended in Copenhagen. A panel was arranged to discuss the topic with most of the creative minds who took part in MACHINE A curated special project, which lead CIFF visitors through the Raven area.

Watch the full video of the exciting panel at

The Editor in Chief of 1 Granary, Olya Kuryshchuk, moderated the meeting with Virgil Abloh and Samuel Ross (designers), Max Lamb (architect), Sami Janjer (curator), Steve Salter (I-D Fashion Features Editor) and Calum Knight (creative coordinator of Machine A and creative content commissioner of Showstudio). And they all questioned themselves about the most effective way to support young talents to succeed.

«Here at CIFF young designers don’t pay anything, because we simply invite them, but this is no charity» Andersen said. «We do it because we believe both new talents and acknowledged brands can benefit from being close to each other. We create a space where upcoming creative minds can get the right connections without loosing their identity, as it often happens in trade shows. We think that building a good network can be more useful for them rather than just give them money.»

«To launch a brand and turn into something successful and long lasting is tough, but not impossible» Karelis pointed out. «First of all I think it is better to move away from the word system and its implications. When I talk to graduates, I always suggest them to follow their own path and to accept its challenges, because that process will make them grow and be ready to face pressure once they get bigger.»

Calum Knight agreed with Karelis about the need to recognize the peculiarity of those paths: «Not everyone wants to be Dior Head Designer and there is not just a way to be successful. The question is to choose to do things the way you want it, even if it may mean to sell less.»

«I call pilgrimage the process which makes young talents ask themselves if what they do is really good for them» Ross said. «It is essential for them to figure out about what their business is going to be.»

Virgil Abloh described his own vision on helping young talents. «I think CIFF is a great sort of patron and has a social responsibility about creativity, that I feel too. To be here expressing my own creativity is a form of giving back. And support to young talents is in my Dna.»

While Janjer underlined the difference between patronage and charity: «I believe in mutual beneficiary, not in charity. Plus, designers who want to succeed should work on substance and perseverance, so that after the initial buzz of the media, they can still survive.»

«Media can actually get over-excited about some project which might have no longevity» Salter acknowledged. «From our perspective, when we spot something interesting we should not just feature it, but keep a conversation with the brands, like some sort of mentorship.»

Finally, Max Lamb pointed out the importance of choosing the right stage: «It’s a matter of picking the audience you want to address to, also in terms of fairs. We creatives rely upon a structure to find a voice, a space, an audience and then we must be ready to play the game. We all need to meet physically, to slow down and talk to each others»

Watch the full video of the exciting panel at