APiF: What is Labo Ethnik?
Yvette Tai-Coquillay: It is a research lab made to discover creativity and trends from all around the world, and a fair open to everyone. It is not the “etnhic” fashion that I am putting forward but a movement: putting international designers on the front scene when big houses are letting them aside.
APiF: When and why did you start Labo Ethnik?
Yvette: In 2007. I created Labo Ethnik because I was surprised of the lack of visibility that young Afro-Caribbean designers suffer from in Paris – the “capital of Fashion”.
APiF: How does Labo Ethnik differ from all the African Fashion Weeks that are popping-up across Europe and the US?
Yvette: Labo Ethnik Fashion & Lifestyle is one of a kind, the important point is that it is made for fashion professionals (buyers, editors of fashion magazines) as well as a targeted public that is interested in fashion. The program consist of fashion shows, a contest for young designers, sales booths, workshop and the “Jeune Création” (Youth creativity) forum, which is a round table. We are the first event of this type in France and in Europe, and we are on our way to our 8th edition, which will start on May, 22nd.
APiF: How has the event / have the designs changed over the years?
Yvette: We have loyal visitors that have been following us for 8 years, and new designers that want to extend their connections to the French market. We are always looking for new talents and love to present brands that were never seen in France before.
APiF: How can designers qualify to participate?
Yvette: By their work, creativity, originality, the quality of the fabrics, their production.
APiF: Is there a specific trend you see for 2014/2015?
Yvette: I can’t say anything yet… You will have to wait until our event takes place from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th of May to see a preview of the trends I believe will rule 2014/2015.