Two thousand years ago, the Silk Road began – bringing exotic novelties from the far east to Europe, particularly silk, transforming Europe’s fashions for centuries. Celebrating this heritage, Silk Road Fashion in London, led by Alma Farmer, continues to bring together ideas from east and west. The world of fashion is driven by new inspirations from the best creative minds. Sharing these ideas across Asia and Europe further fuels such creativity. Exchanging ideas, showcasing creativity, and developing a global fashion community – these are the goals of Silk Road Fashion in London.
Glamour and a special atmosphere: this is what one experiences at Silk Road Fashion in London events. Whether it is the fashion show held in the VIP hall of the Chelsea Football Club, the show in the unique and historic Scottish House in Central London, or a trading fashion during Romford Film Festival, you will always find original designs and new international names, who might be well known in their own country, but bring new ideas for British fashionistas. And even now, during the pandemic, Silk Road Fashion in London was able to demonstrate digitally the beauties and novelties of international and British designers to a very high professional level!
The online fashion show, which took place on the 20thof February during London Fashion Week, “Show the World How Great You Are! Fashion & Awards AW 21/22” presented the creations of 14 designers. It was a celebration of glamour, beauty, ethics, and ethnic design. It aimed to increase the global visibility of the designers and support the development of their fashion businesses.
The digital event was transmitted worldwide. Media, buyers, bloggers, and fashion professionals were invited to a VIP Zoom room. Among the honoured guests were the Ambassadors of two Central Asian countries: Republic of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic, as for the first time six of the designers were from Kazakhstan and two from Kyrgyzstan.
A jury of professionals judged the designs and gave awards in five categories: Going Ethical; Ethnic in Modern Life; Stylish Every Day; Dazzling Glamour and The Best Video. Also, two additional awards were offered: Special Jury Award and Silk Road Fashion Special Award for Supporting Culture. The jury panel included London Runway’s own Rhiannon D’ Averc!
Alma Farmer, who founded Silk Road Fashion, is based in London, where she has lived for more than 20 years. Alma began her career with a PhD in environmental protection and also worked on community development for World Bank. This has given her a strong concern for ethical fashion and how designers consider environmental and social issues in the materials used, and in the way garments and accessories are manufactured.
She started to introduce international fashion designers and craftsmen in the UK after one event. It happened in one cold winter day in the mountains of Central Asia when she was working as a consultant for the World Bank project. In a village, Alma and her colleagues entered a hut, where there was no heating. Inside local women were felting wool, with their hands in water and steam coming from their mouths.
The dedication of these women to traditional textile production inspired Alma to explore further producers and how modern designers were using sustainable materials in their creations.
The idea to promote the creativity of these women in the UK led to the creation of the Silk Road Fashion brand. Today Alma has a strong interest in many aspects of fashion – from exploring the creations of classic designers to enjoying the new creative ideas of emerging designers from all corners of the world. She aims to continue presenting a wide range of inspirational designers to many different audiences.
The designers at the online fashion show on 20 February included:
is outstanding Kazakh designer, whose achievements are well known both nationally and internationally. He is also the founder of Aspara Fashion Week, which gathers international designers from around the World in person and online. It was also the main partner in the fashion show organized by Silk Road Fashion, London. Aidarkhan is founder and CEO of Asyl-Design fashion house, founder of a fashion college in Taraz, Kazakhstan and founder of a chain of shops in Kazakhstan. His collections were presented throughout CIS countries, as well as in private shows and official fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Delhi as well as in China, Malaysia, Turkey, Serbia and Spain. Aidarkhan creates his collections in a neo-folklore style, where East meets West and modern style is combined with elements form Kazakh nomads.
JULIO CESAR BATTAGLIA
Julio Cesar Battaglia is from Italy and his brand, Battaglia By Showstars, is unique and has been seen and worn around the World. He follows the principle: “It is time not to be dressed like everyone else!”. Julio has also promoted many other designers working internationally. He has organized large fashion events for many years, such as the Industry Meets Fashion event inside the plant of Mercedes Benz in Düsseldorf, as well as online fashion events in Marbella and Granada.
International jewellery designer Nurdos Aliaskarov is founder of the Nurdos Jewellery brand and has exhibited his collections in Asia and Europe. Fashionistas from Singapore and Istanbul to Amsterdam, Stockholm and Paris wear his very original handmade silver jewellery, enhanced with gems and enamel. The brand also makes bespoke one-off golden jewellery. On this digital fashion show, Nurdos was given “Special Jury Award”.
The gowns of British designer Venera Tabakin have been showcased on red carpets worldwide, most notably at the prestigious Latin Grammys, Berlin Film festival, Festival de Cannes and BAFTA, to name a few. Her designs were applauded on many international catwalks, such as during Paris and London fashion weeks. She is also the winner of international Awards including joint award of the Silk Road Fashion, Scuderia Ferrari Club, London and Club Epicure International Award for “for her outstanding professional achievements in Fashion Design” Venera was given the “Dazzling Glamour” award at the online show on 20 February.
Parisian style and chic are what comes to mind when you see the bags of French designer Mariane Henrique, CEO of Sakoloko brand. She merges together vintage and contemporary design, with clean lines. She draws on her aesthetic experience of photography and decorative arts to inform her design ideas, which view bags as a major part of our lives and not just an accessory. Sustainability is also at the heart of her creations, with carefully sourced materials and manufacturing methods. Mariane first worked with Silk Road Fashion London as part of Jaded Lifestyles, as a showcase of official London Fashion Week in February 2020.
In the magic Tien Shen mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Gulmira Akmatova founded an amazing sustainable brand, Mountain Cedar Woollens. The clothes she creates are made from scratch on her farm. Her collection carries the energy of the mountains blessed by legendary Kyrgyz Mother Deer. She learned to weave from her grandmother, starting to spin her own wool at the age of six and was weaving traditional patterns by the age of nine. Gulmire was given “Ethnic in Modern Life” award at the fashion show.
Olga Tregubova is an artist-designer from Cyprus. Her brand Tregubova Art has a license for the ‘tremaltex’ technique for painting on clothes and is very advanced in upcycling. Olga is a supporter of eco-fashion and extends the life of clothes by upcycling garments and turning them into pieces of art, ranging from street style to evening outfits. Olga’s designs have graced the catwalks at the opening of the Cannes and Almagro film festivals and in different fashion weeks. Olga is the initiator and author of the ‘World of Unique’ project, which supports creative youth. Olga was given “Going Ethical” award at the fashion show.
Dana Ashimova’s brand is a great example of how you can look stylish while at the same time being environmentally friendly. Her clothes are made form recycled materials. Her ready-to-wear women’s garments and accessories are made using a patchwork technique. Everything is made out of unwanted fabric, American cotton. She uses natural plant dyes in bio-print and batik methods on this material, together with hand stitching to create her designs. The dyes are very stable, and the fabric can be reused as it’s very easy to untack the seams. The designs are, therefore, ethical in the materials used, the labour employed, and consideration given to how the materials are treated after the garments are no longer worn.
Omar Mansoor is a London-based fashion designer, well known for his couture occasion wear. Many people wear his designs, from actresses to aristocracy. Susanna Reid wore Omar Mansoor at the 2010 Academy Awards. He was the first Pakistani to showcase at London Fashion Week (in 2008) and has presented his designs at Royal Ascot, Bahrain Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, and Top Model UK.
Anastasia Falkovich is one of the leading designers of Belarus and for the fourth time was showing her collection in London. The Falkovich brand makes clothes and costumes for the national Olympic team and dresses singers and celebrities for big musical events, such as Slavic Bazar, so well-known to the eastern part of Eurasia. The Falkovich brand also provides charitable support for orphanages and made protective clothes and masks for doctors during the peak of Covid-19 in 2020. Anastasia Falkovich uses only natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and the famous Belarusian linen. Her embroidery uses ethnic motifs in her modern design, and she is often inspired by the natural environment of her country.
Anastasiya received “Best Video” award in the fashion show.
Kulan Zhagutty studied art and different craft techniques in colleges in Kazakhstan and Western Ukraine. Later she was a craft school teacher, sharing her knowledge with children. Now retired, Kulan developed a real passion for felting and makes bespoke clothes. Her designs have been shown on different fashion shows. Kulan was given Silk Road Fashion “Special Award for Supporting Culture”.
ChapanSar studio, founded by Jumagul Sarieva, is a great example of introducing ethnical designs into modern clothes. The Chapan is a traditional quilted or stitched coat which has been worn in Kyrgyzstan for centuries. Using natural materials, such as cotton, Jumagul designs chapans into really stylish outer wear for women and men. They are designed for different seasons of the year, being light, strong, and very practical. The brand also recycles material offcuts, making these into house accessories, and so manages waste-free production. The list of Jumagul catwalks and awards is endless. Her chapans have been seen from South Korea to USA. She has the UNESCO Award “For Excellent Quality” and UNESCO Resident-representative Mr Ozonnia Ojielo, happily wears his chapan in his offices in Bishkek and New York. She received the “Stylish Every Day” award at the fashion show.
Aliya Gaisina and her brand, Aliya Sagdi, is centered around a life-asserting concept and combines beauty, traditional elements and glamour in her designs. She also merges different accessories into the whole look, such as some very original hats. Aliya also uses intricate embroidery to create bespoke looks.
Balgyn Baltabayeva is a young designer and a founder of Balgyn Amirkhan brand. She works in different styles. Some of her designs build on traditional patterns and have a very ethnical design, others are modern, beautiful evening and bridal dresses.