The fashion capitals of tomorrow

Fashion / Design / Performance by Federico Poletti
 

Growth is continuing in the ranks of new talents being fostered in countries that might be not known as fashion destinations, but where special attention is given to budding designers. We often hear of the commercial possibilities in China, Brazil and India, but a constellation of countries around Europe and the Mediterranean area are also stepping up with a surprisingly bountiful, albeit patchy scene. Starting from the north, Iceland’s capital celebrates a cultural mix of fashion, design and music with the Reykjavik Fashion Festival (RFF). Four of the seven highly diverse brands presented there this year: JÖR by Guðmundur Jörundsso, Farmers Market, Huginn Muninn and Mundi 66° North. Another stimulating Northern fixture is the Copenaghen Fashion Week (CFW). Add four fashion fairs and you have a city that is flourishing in trade and creativity. The city also hosts the Designers’ Nest Award, which represents a great opportunity for recent Nordic design graduates, not least due to its prize money (the last winner being Camilla Jæger Jespersen).

 

Remaining in the North, despite Dublin’s lack of government sponsorships, the fashion business there successfully launched the Redress initiative, with the aim of promoting Ireland-based labels as well as encouraging better ethics and sustainability in production. Fresh new designers born and brought up in Ireland include Simone Rocha, Alan Taylor, Úna Burke and Sorcha O’ Raghallaigh, although all have gravitated towards London in search of greater opportunities. Heading south to Catalonia, another point of reference is 080 Barcelona Fashion, a fashion week that offers a cash prize for the best emerging talents. The latest edition was won by the trio Brian&Beast with their clever concoction of commercial potential and creativity. A special mention goes out to Selim de Somavilla, whose collection also features accessories and a brilliantly original mix of materials. Moving east, we encounter the fashion buzz of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Serbia. Despite their socio-political problems, they dedicate time and energy to their up-and-coming creative youths. Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, runs and international program to promote Eastern European Designers: Fashion Scout Kiev. The contest was initiated by the journalist Daria Shapovalova with support from a panel of industry experts. Some Ukranian designers who are receiving a swelling crescendo  of attention are: Ksenia Schnaider, Anna October, Anna Kolomoets, Julie Paskal, Sasha Kanevski, Anton Belinskiy, RCR Khomenko and Omelya Atelier (a label set up by Kostya Omelya, one of the most promising Ukrainian talents listed among the “10 Eastern European Fashion Designers to Keep on Your Radar”). These talents outline a scene that displays a fascinating variety of styles in both men’s and womenswear collections. Poland is next on this talent tour, with its prominent initiative held in Łódź dedicated to innovative designers. Called The Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland, it highlights Łódź as the epicenter of Polish fashion. Another sign of Poland’s ambition to stand out comes from Kielce, which organizes the Off-Fashion contest, aimed at furthering blossoming careers. Indeed, it provided the springboard for the Polish designer Natasha Pavluchenko to present her haute couture collection at AltaRoma AltaModa. 

 

As for Serbia, the Belgrade Fashion Week is a melting pot of cultures striving  to emerge. The Belgrade Design District offers salerooms to newcomers in an attempt to revitalize urban economic life. Serbian designers worth watching include Ivana Pilja, George Styler and Ana Ljubinkovic, plus jewellery from Koishi. Then there’s Turkey, whose recent political upheaval hasn’t yet cultivated many opportunities for the younger generation, despite the country’s vigorous marketplace. The few openings for emerging talents consists of the Koza Young Fashion Designers Competition and Yenilik Sensin ’13, a contest for newly graduated accessories designers. One of the country’s home-grown talents is Serdar Uzuntas, who designs menswear with a blend of English tailoring and Turkish imagery. For womenswear, meanwhile, there’s Zeynep Tosun. Finally we arrive in Israel, with Tel Aviv becoming a great art and fashion attraction. Two well-known clothing brands, Castro and Renuar, support fresh talent with different approaches via awards and capsule collections. With the city of Bat Yam, furthermore, Castro has sponsored a social project called “Getting Out of the Box”, by establishing a fully equipped design center that provides young people with workspace. Israeli names to remember are Golan Taub, with creations that are almost works of art, CommonRaven, Liora Taragan, and Muslin Brothers, who make unisex fashion and collaborate with choreographers and performers.

 

Finally we arrive in Israel, with Tel Aviv becoming a great art and fashion attraction. Two well-known clothing brands, Castro and Renuar, support fresh talent with different approaches via awards and capsule collections. With the city of Bat Yam, furthermore, Castro has sponsored a social project called “Getting Out of the Box”, by establishing a fully equipped design center that provides young people with workspace. Israeli names to remember are Golan Taub, with creations that are almost works of art, CommonRaven, Liora Taragan, and Muslin Brothers, who make unisex fashion and collaborate with choreographers and performers.

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