Curatorial Statement

This year’s International Fashion Showcase, organised by the British Council and the British Fashion Council in cooperation with embassies and cultural institutions during London Fashion Week, brings together the visionary ideas of an emerging generation of designers and curators from twenty-five countries under the title ‘Fashion Utopias’. The public will be invited into the heart of London, in times of great change, to join young fashion designers in exploring a world of new opportunities and ideas in the social and environmental realm.

As part of UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility at Somerset House, Another Austria brings insight into the diverse creative spectrum of the Austrian fashion scene on an international level for the fourth year. With Another Austria: UTOPIA I look forward to once again presenting an exhibition concept that is not only a platform for fashion, but also an experimental field for neighbouring creative areas. A place where commercial and non-commercial appear with equal importance and the concept of cultural exchange acts as a foundation. The works of the selected fashion designers show a number of different aesthetic approaches. In addition to impressive designs and processes, new ideas and ways of life and mobility are at their centre. Designs have not been developed for the masses, but are rather individual solutions developed to support personal idiosyncrasies and diverse forms of life, free of unnecessary embellishments. The perfect timeless clothing for a fast-paced world? Utopia?
Another Austria: UTOPIA playfully shows a world that embraces diversity and crosses borders, and in which time is of no consequence; it describes developments, the change of language, location and medium. To convey this vision to a wide audience, we let ourselves be inspired by the recently freely available – and re-accessible – British Library database, which is home to over 1 million images. The principle of Open Access is itself a kind of utopia that’s already in motion.
The Austrian Cultural Forum London, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016, presents the exhibition ‘Basic Structures of ...’
for the next few months, which focuses on fashion design. Textile art is used here to scrutinise trends, serial production processes and technological developments.

Another Austria once again surprises as an experimental, exciting future-facing concept with unusual ideas and fresh perspectives,
which shows Austria as an emerging innovative country with high potential and international networks.

My special thanks go to all creative participants as well as The Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Cultural Forum London, the Vienna Business Agency, Austria Wirtschafts­­service and Advantage Austria. A big thank you to my entire team in Vienna and in London, and the project coordinators of the British Council and the British Fashion Council.

Claudia Rosa Lukas