This week saw the official launch of the British Asian Fashion Network – an organisation that has been created to promote, collaborate and connect members of the British and Asian fashion community.

Vaishali Shah with journalist Momtaz Begum-Hossein
Vaishali Shah with journalist Momtaz Begum-Hossein

The event, was held at London College of Fashion, UAL. Many fashion professionals, journalists, business owners, students and entrepreneurs came together for a special evening of networking and inspiration. It was introduced by Reina Lewis, Artscom Centenary Professor of Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion, UAL, and author of a number of books including: Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures (2015). Lewis recalled how the idea for BAFN first came about:

“When I met Mani Kohli two years ago, we discovered a shared concern, that the mainstream fashion media and fashion in Britain largely ignored the outstanding creativity and contribution of Asians to fashion in Britain. There was no organisation to celebrate and promote Asian fashion talent.”

“As we spoke it dawned on us that rather than hoping for such an organisation to appear, we should work together and create it. So here we are some years down the line with the launch of BAFN, a body to represent the exciting Asian talent that currently exists and is emerging globally.”

Speakers included Mani Kohli of Khubsoorat Collection, Founder and chair of BAFN, who spoke about the proliferation of the Asian fashion industry and why such an organisation was important. She said: 

“BAFN represents a very real need for the Asian fashion industry, one that has remained unfulfilled until now. It provides a unique platform where the British & Pan Asian fashion industry can come together and work collectively to showcase and celebrate its talent, resources and skills. Our journey in creating this organisation has been very exciting. It’s very inspiring to see so many people with a combined passion come together to support the British Asian fashion industry.”

Jayant Raniga of Pure Jewels
Jayant Raniga of Pure Jewels was a guest speaker at the conference

“This would not have been possible without the pro bono support from trustees, the steering group and London College of Fashion. We truly believe that by working together and nurturing new talent, an industry that has generally been seen as ‘niche’ can be embraced by the fashion industry as a whole.”

BAFN aims to encourage creativity, connectivity and collaboration for its members and to provide access to a world of contacts and events.

Other speakers included Fatima Dudhia of Touchwood Boutique, a BAFN trustee who presented the benefits of BAFN membership and the value it brings to its members.

Also present was guest speaker Jayant Raniga of Pure Jewels, who spoke about his own experience of the lack of support for the industry and why BAFN is vitally important to existing business and new entrepreneurs.