New York. On the 10th September, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents (MBFT) partnered designers with Laureus USA on the second annual Laureus Fashion Show Gala at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan, providing show looks for star athletes and Olympians walking the runway to support Laureus’ mission to improve the lives of youth and unite communities through the power of sport.
International MBFT fashion designers Amesh Wijesekera, Steven Tai, Soeren Le Schmidt, Mimi Plange and Nobi Talai dedicated precious time and runway looks to the charity fashion show, dressing renowned US athletes Sanya Richards-Ross (Track and field athlete, Gold Olympic medalist), Nadia Comăneci (Gymnast, 5-time gold Olympic medalist),), Monica Seles (Tennis player), , Meryl Davis (Ice dance, 2014 Olympic champion, 2-time World champion, 5-time Grand Prix Final champion) and Raul Neto (Basketball Player) for their runway debut.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents is an internationally renowned programme in support of emerging designers, which over the past 10 years has championed the current and next generation of creatives, providing them with unrivalled support and international exposure at key international fashion platforms. Laureus is a non-profit charity organisation committed to providing access to sport for underprivileged children to improve their physical and mental health, educational readiness, workforce readiness, and social cohesion. Both MBFT and Laureus USA are driven to support the next generation by providing them with much needed resources and guidance.
Born in London and raised in Sri Lanka, Amesh Wijesekera is a rising star helping to put Sri Lanka on the international fashion map. First discovered at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Colombo, winning also the Mercedes-Benz Fashion and Apparel Award in Sri Lanka, Wijesekera won the International Catwalk Competition at Graduate Fashion Week in 2016 and made his catwalk debut in 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. Since then he has presented during London Fashion Week, in celebration of the MBFT 10th Anniversary, and also shown on-schedule at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.
Born in Macau and based in London, Canadian designer Steven Tai launched his label in 2013 after winning the ‘Chloé Prize’ at the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères. Part of the prize was a show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, which the designer says encouraged him to start his own business. Progressive, technically detailed and luxurious, the womenswear brand is loved for its relaxed tomboy look that defies mainstream trends.
Soeren Le Schmidt
Soeren Le Schmidt is a Danish designer and tailor who shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week, most recently supported by Mercedes-Benz. He likes to mix and match different cultures, which is shown in his way to combine streetwear with rockabilly tailoring, and is especially known for his original and distinguished style, as well as his skilful tailoring.
Ghanaian-born Mimi Plange creates clothes that are inspired by the modern American luxury sportswear tradition, with an infusion of dark romance and aimed at the new, international, and democratically-minded consumer. Plange has been awarded numerous accolades, including International Emerging Designer of the Year in 2011 at Mercedes-Benz Africa Fashion Week held in South Africa. The brand has been worn by the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama, Vanessa Hudgens, Serena Williams, Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Michelle Trachtenberg and Janelle Monae, and many amazing women across the globe.
Tehran born Berlin-based designer Nobieh Talaei founded NOBI TALAI in early 2015, expressing through the brand her love of textiles and pure, archetypal forms. A series of solo shows and accolades quickly followed launch, and Talaei was presented by Mercedes-Benz during Milano Moda Donna later that same year.