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The worlds of diplomacy and fashion collided at Buckingham Palace on 19 February, at a glamorous reception hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex to celebrate the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. Held during London Fashion Week, established and emerging design talent and craftsmanship from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries showcased the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.

Participating designers and artisans represented all commonwealth member countries in this major new initiative ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April.  Including major names such as Karen Walker representing New Zealand, Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh and Burberry and Stella McCartney representing the UK, the Commonwealth came together to showcase a wealth of design and artisan fashion talent for the first time. The ‘looks’ created were on show at the reception.

Developed in partnership with Swarovski, The WoolmarkCompany and MATCHESFASHION.COM , the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange is particularly timely as a global wave of interest in handmade products and authentic luxury has caused a reassessment of artisan fashion trades. In this way, the Fashion Exchange brings to life the values of the modern-day Commonwealth – women’s empowerment, ethical production and supply chains, innovation, economic growth and poverty reduction – through the globally appealing medium of fashion.

The looks will also be on display in a public exhibition at Australia House among other locations in London that are open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit. Attendees also included Princess Beatrice of York, designer Stella McCartney, Vogue editors Edward Enninful (UK) and Anna Wintour (US), supermodel Naomi Campbell and model of the moment Adwoa Aboah among many others.



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