The Vlisco Fashion Fund is a global contest, established to help emerging African fashion designers get their business off the ground. The contest is held annually in Ghana, Nigeria, DRC Congo, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast.
In addition, African fashion designers living elsewhere in – or outside of – Africa can also enter the competition and make up the Global contestant category. One winner is selected from each of the participating countries, alongside one winner from the Global category. The seven winners each receive funding equivalent to €5,000, plus a two-week masterclass in the Netherlands.
About the Global Jury
This year’s winners were selected by the Global Jury, consisting of esteemed professionals from the fashion industry. Namely: Bubu Ogisi from fashion label I AM IS I GO, and Oliver Asike and Velma Rose from the creative platform 2Many Siblings. Zara Atelj, Vlisco Group’s creative director, also sat on the Global Jury.
How the winner was selected
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Over 600 applications were submitted to the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2018. A meticulous review process of the applications took place, followed by interviews conducted by local jury panels in each country. Based on the interviews, three nominees per country went through to the next round.
The remaining 21 nominees were then given Vlisco fabrics and a budget with which to create a collection of five outfits supported by surprising creative content within a one-month deadline. During the last week in November, the Global Jury reviewed the creations of the 21 finalists and reached its decision on which seven contestants would be crowned winners of the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2018. Jeremiah Mensah truly impressed the jury with his work/talent and has been selected as the winner in Ghana.
Jeremiah Mensah (27) owns the unisex fashion label JERRY MENSAH. The jury was blown away by Jeremiah’s Gladiator-inspired collection, which was detailed, impeccably executed and found to be very imaginative and original.
Jeremiah’s collection and content pave the way for other fashion designers to experiment. Ghanaian runners-up were Patricia Naa Lamley Annang and Nana Kweku Agyenim-Boateng.
The finalists and winners were celebrated during a festive awards ceremony held on Friday 30 November, during which they presented their creations. All of the collections and creative content made by the nominees can be viewed at www.vlisco.com/fashionfund.
Funding and Masterclass
The prize funding must be invested in the winners’ respective businesses to facilitate growth. For example, to help finance the set-up of a studio, new equipment etc. Each winner will also be invited to attend a masterclass in tailoring at Meester Coupeur, a renowned tailoring academy in Amsterdam where many famous names in Dutch fashion trained. In addition to the tailoring masterclass, the winners will also engage in workshops and other training events during their trip devised to strengthen their skills in creative content, publicity, and business.
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