by Ieva Zu

When I started my research of Eastern European fashion industry over three years ago Ukrainian fashion week wasn’t ‘a thing’ but international fashion media were travelling to Moscow and reporting from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia every season. The alternative ‘Eastern vibe’ was just starting then.

The Eastern vibe is definitely attractive to the journalists and editors who look for diversity in their topics and scout for new big names. Russia has been producing lots of these (think the phenomenal Gosha Rubchinskiy with his nationalistic street style definitions and unique fashion language which is street-smart Russian). In the last couple of years Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary and Bulgaria have introduced quite a few names to the ‘ones to watch’ list.

We admire Georgian Atelier Kikala and Ukrainian Litkovskaya who’s one of the biggest national names. At the same time we watch and learn from the young Ukrainian talents such as now world famous girly girl Anna K and conceptually bold Irina Dzhus. We can’t take our eyes from Konstantin Kofta artistic leather creations, original Anouki shoes from Georgia and we bet that Hungarian Zsigmond Dora will mark her way in the fashion history with her mellow approach to the (un)traditional menswear.

Today, even UK fashion bloggers go and report from Tbilisi Fashion Week or Ukrainian Fashion Week, or even Fashion week Almaty in Kazakhstan. In fact, we might have to go a little bit South to go East – Southern Eastern European fashion weeks have been attracting best local designers and have been receiving more international media coverage then let’s say their Northern and Central Eastern neighbours from Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Poland or Lithuania.

Fashion weeks in Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Kazakhstan have been gradually added to the European fashion week calendar and are now visited and reviewed by such international names as AnOther magazineVogue.itVogue.co.ukW Magazine and even fashion bloggers (you can read a comprehensive Clothes Maiden review of Tbilisi Fashion Week SS16 on her blog). While selected Belgrade fashion designers were showcased at London Fashion Week as a part of the Fashion Scout.

Southern Eastern European fashion scene is culturally rich thus prosperous of emerging/established fashion talent. Despite the fluctuating economics and a relatively low GDP in comparison to the rest of the Europe or even the rest of the Eastern Europe. In fact, the lower the GDP the more impressive fashion week (with an exception of Belarus which is still strongly tied to the Soviet era and authoritarian regime and needs time to break through).

Georgia, Bulgaria,  Kazachstan, Ukraine, and Serbia are the leaders of the former Eastern Bloc fashion scene.  These countries celebrate culture (including fashion) full-on and thus the rest of the region has to follow their example. Their international success is due to the rich talent pool but also to the serious approach to fashion. Quality events attract the best designers and best new talent that international scouts and media are eager to meet.

Go Southern East?

This article was originally posted on Huffington Post.

Photo credit © http://www.tbilisifashionweek.com/