THIRD DAY @ CIFF: Live to tell

CIFF is the place where people can meet, talk and listen to each other. Our warm community loves to share ideas and inspiration, but some brands are actually turning into some sort of wearable book, a story to tell. Fashion has always been a tool to communicate a status, a feeling, a political statement. What happens now is that designers use it also to tell something very personal about themselves and their families. And some of them are showing at CIFF.

The African wave:
Foday Dumbuya lives and works in London where he arrived as an immigrant from Sierra Leone when he was a kid. He perfectly integrated with the British lifestyle but he felt the need to represent his life’s journey. In 2014 he started Labrum, while he was still working for Nike to create bespoke shoes for top clients. In 2016 he quit, to work full time on his project. «As an immigrant, I want the world to confront with such issues», he says, «and I want to do it through clothes, because I think fashion can send a stronger message».

A whole generation of designers with African roots is growing, each of them developing their own point of view. Nomad was launched in 2016 by Daniel Olatunji, after he returned to his home country Nigeria, where he hadn’t been for years. Like Dumbuya, Daniel is based in London, studied at Central Saint Martin and has been trained as a tailor. He discovered a little village in Northern Nigeria where they hand-wove fabrics which they eventually indigo dye with a traditional technique. «I decided to use them for my collection even if that means that it will always be a niche one. Of course I want to grow, but I don’t care to turn into the next hot designer for a big brand».

Amir Hassan’s label Twelvepieces it’s about twelve different styles he adjusts to the tale he wants to tell season after season: «I was born and raised in Denmark from an Egyptian family. That place runs through my veins and I celebrate it. The Arabic world is still struggling to have more freedom, so I try to send a positive message».

On the catwalk:
Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for designers at CIFF, as Charlotte Eskildsen clearly stated after the CIFF runway show of her brand, Designers Remix. «We will attempt to go 100% sustainable by the end of 2020», she says. «I know it’s a tough challenge, but we must do our best to make it happen. And to do so, we go back to the days when we restyled vintage clothes. By that time we did it just for fun. Now we present some looks rearranged from pre-loved stuff to prevent over consumption».

Newline Halo fashion show at CIFF it’s been all about its founder’s love for parachutes and running. Helge Petersen past life in the Danish Special Forces and his positive addiction to running made him build Halo in 1981. Thirty-six years later the brand still talks about these things, through the work of Malkit Singh. «People might find it strange that a company like this is doing a show», the designer says, «but I always considered sportswear as something really fashionable. I respect the Dna of the brand by looking up to military uniforms, them I add a special touch».

Problem solving ideas:

CIFF is a great place also to tell stories about problems turned into opportunities, like Trice Christiansen’s ultra sensitive face. She invented Raaw, a 100% natural and sustainable skin care line, after she experienced a severe rash. It all started as some kind of self-help and now the company is growing bigger and bigger, still using only certified organic and wild ingredients.

Wictor Selin is a Swedish bloke tired of walking into Stockholm showers with wet feet. Ten months ago he and his friends joined forces to create Wise. It’s just one kind of stylish rubber shoes for now: «But there will be more soon, after such a good response from CIFF visitors», Selin says.

Rosemary Eribé founded her knitwear factory in Scotland around 35 years ago. «Fairisle pattern is popular in Scandinavia, but there are extremely colourful versions in Scotland too that were about to get lost forever», says Rosemary. «I wanted to preserve our heritage, so I started using softer merino wool that people might prefer to the usual and slightly itchy Shetland. It took me some time, but together with knitting machine suppliers, we developed the right tools to work on many different shades at the same time. And now Scottish Fairisle has a future».