Saturday, October 23, 2010

The 'Other' Fashion Weeks May Have Something To Teach Us

Olena Molchanova at S/S 2011 at Ukrainian FW (Volodimir Bosak)

I cannot deny that I currently have a fascination with what one might refer to as the 'other' fashion weeks. Athens, Madrid, Ukraine, Sofia, and a string of locales globally have the potential to create an exotic alternative to the standard fashion week calendars and designer collection offerings.

Paris Valtadoros S/S 2011 at Athens FW (Reuters)

Criticism abounds, though, claiming that many of these shows are completely amateurish and in some cases blatant rip-offs of designers from the west. Fashion writers also get irritated with the air-kissing local celebrities who seem desperate to have an occasion to come out like peacocks in all of their finery for the paparazzi.

Evgeni Petkov S/S 2011 presentation in Sofia (Creative Hall)

All I have to say on this front is that the support of local enterprises and regional fashion weeks provides visibility for young designers who may still be seeking entrance to shows in London, Paris, New York, etc. The diversity of fashion is, in well-managed cases, better highlighted in some of these smaller shows where sponsors value the local flavor and lexicon of the designs. Who are we to ask them to adopt the format of the more 'cosmopolitan' fashion week venues? This attitude breeds homogenized style and globalization of the worst kind. Not everyone aspires to wear Gap skinny jeans, J.Crew cardigans, nor adopt a grunge attitude. The sooner we cut the 'others' some slack, perhaps they will stop imitating mainstream designer labels due to pressure from the cool 'in' crowd.

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