MBFW Russia Looks to the Future
In Moscow, MBFW Russia is focusing a lot of its energy on emerging talents. However it is not just interested in promoting its local designers. Instead this year it also made a concerted effort to celebrate the work being dreamt up in other countries around the globe. Every day of the week-long event the three catwalks that make up the main venue features designers from places as far flung as Switzerland, Latvia, Bangladesh and Peru, as part of a new Global Talent initiative.
“Since its first days Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia and Russian Fashion Council has put special focus on discovering new talents. It was not easy. At the time the society wasn’t so much into fashion as it is now. It was only about trendy branded garments,” said Alexander Shumsky, President of Russian Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. “But today the trend is about young talents and original designers, it is the hottest fashion trend in the world now, in Russia too. New talents are the most important part of our work today. Every season MBFW Russia and Fashion Futurum Initiative introduce over 20 brand new designers. The total number of brands in Moscow season is up to 180. Last season we launched Global Talents program to stir up Russian fashion scene with international new names. Moscow becomes an international hub for new names in fashion,” he added.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many different ways MBFW Russia is engaging with the fashion community and trying to support the designers of the future. In fact, the word future features in the name of many of its programs. From the Futurum Moscow event on the first day that presented over 20 rolling back to back fashion shows of young talents, to the “Gimme Five, Designer of the Future” competition, which clocked in more than 2,000 entries from designers across the country under the age of 16, who hope to make fashion their life’s work, this fashion week’s gaze is towards the future.
“What I loved most about Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia this season is that they set the bar high as they find and nurture young talent,” said Olia Kedik, a San Francisco based journalist. “Platforms like Futurum Moscow, Futurum Accelerator, Global Talent and the High Five Presentation are some of the stand out initiatives providing an opportunity for emerging talent to experience a global Fashion Week,” she added.
Thinking about the future wasn’t just limited to the runway. Education also played a big role at MBFW Russia. Every day in a lecture space open to the public there were ongoing presentations and interviews with industry insiders talked about their work and gave insights on how the fashion world is evolving. Sustainability was also addressed with designers like Ksenia Gerts presenting clothing with Verisium computer chips imbedded in the garments that contain information about the clothing and the company that can be accessed via a smartphone. Footwear constructed out of Pinotex was also presented. It’s a material crafted from upcycled pineapple leaves that could be a eco-friendly alternative to traditional shoe making materials in the future.
It’s also worth noting another creative cross pollination that took place during the fashion week. The inaugural “Art & Craft Expedition” was a program that saw students from Polimoda Fashion School in Florence and the Higher School of Economy in Moscow teaming up with regional Russian craftsmen. Last summer the students spent a week travelling across the country, learning about Russian techniques like gold embroidery or how Orenburg shawls are made using traditional methods. The results of this artistic expedition were presented during the fashion week.
“The organizers of the fashion week did a stellar job of putting together a world-class event, said Namrata Zakaria, Senior Editor and Columnist at the Mumbai Mirror.
However Zakaria did have a few suggestions of minor tweaks MBFW Russia could make. “It would be a good idea if one of the organizers visited one of the other international weeks as well, just to iron out some creases. Perhaps the designer’s selections could be curated better, or the shows edited faster so more garments can be shown. Maybe even one or two pop-up spaces of chic Moscow restaurants for light bites. That said, I would love to come back and see how the current labels have progressed. Now that I have a better idea about the fashion-scape here, I’d love to see more,” she commented.
It’s true that with so much on offer MBFW Russia needs to make sure that it continues to maintain a high level of quality over quantity when it comes to the international fashion brands it invites to show at its event. And it will be interesting to see how this organization continues to maintain supporting budding local talents as they mature and grow their businesses. Pulling in more of the stunning locations around the city as alternative venues for key shows might be one way to entice local talents to continue to team up with the organization. As everyone knows fashion is all about being cool, fresh and unexpected and Moscow has plenty of options to create that sort of atmosphere in the future.
Jessica Michault is the Senior Vice President of industry relations at GPS Radar by Launchmetrics. She is also the editor-at-large for ODDA magazine and contributes to publications like the New York Times, the Business of Fashion, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Mixte magazine.
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