27-year-old Jessica Nwalozie, a fashion designer and freelance fashion illustrator has emerged the winner of the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019 in Nigeria.
The Vlisco Fashion Fund is a contest that launches emerging African fashion designers and their businesses based in Nigeria, DRC Congo, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana, on a global scale.
African fashion designers living elsewhere in – or outside of – Africa may also enter to compete in the Global contestant category. In 2019, one winner is selected from each of this year’s 6 participating countries, and one winner from the Global category. The seven winners will each receive career funding equivalent to €5,000, plus a two-week master class abroad.
This year’s Nigerian winner was selected by: Trusted designers Mai Atafo and Lanre da Silva. Award-winning fashion stylist, Style Infidel and Yvonne Chioke from Vlisco.
More than 700 applications were submitted to the Vlisco Fashion Fund 2019. The VFF team meticulously reviewed the eligible applications, and then the jury panels conducted interviews in each country. Based on the interviews, three nominees per country progressed to the next round. The remaining 21 nominees were given Vlisco fabrics and a budget.
The challenge: create a collection of five outfits, a photo-shoot, and a one-month deadline. During the last week in November, the juries reviewed the final collections and selected the seven country winners. Jessica Nwalozie was selected as the winner in Nigeria.
The judges were greatly impressed with her (Jessica Nwalozie) creative thought process (which was very artistic and thorough), her fabric manipulation techniques and ability to play with shapes to create a 3D interpretation of her concept. Her brand, ‘Jessica James’ is about creating experiences and not just a couple of beautiful garments.
Runners-up for Nigeria were: Samira Abdullahi and Jane Effanga.
At a festive awards ceremony, the finalists and winners celebrated and presented their creations. For an overview of the collections and creative content made this year visit.
A condition of the Vlisco Fashion Fund (VFF) prize funding is that it gets invested back into the winners’ businesses. It might be used to set-up a studio or purchase new equipment, for example. Winners are also invited to attend a masterclass in tailoring at a prestigious academy, abroad. In addition, winners engage in workshops and other training events as part of the prize-package, to strengthen their skills in creative content, publicity and business.
The Fashion Fund is just one of the Vlisco initiatives that invests in the African fashion industry. For Vlisco, by sharing their knowledge, expertise and network, they can support emerging tailors and fashion designers in launching and strengthening their own fashion labels in West Africa.