Where should emerging brands go next? That was the most common question at the Fashion Business Course in London last week, organised by Fashion Bloc and Felicities PR. Is London still the hub of emerging talent? It seems as if the fashion map is changing. Surprisingly, Milan, a home to the most traditional fashion houses, has become the next stop for emerging brands.

Percy Lau at Pitti Imagine SUPER
Percy Lau at Pitti Imagine SUPER

“The future of fashion is in the emerging designers hands, and we shouldn’t forget that”, says Giorgio Armani in the interview with The Business of Fashion. Armani is one of the leading supporters of new talents, sharing the stage with emerging designers at his own cost. Each year he supports emerging talent, including international designers, this year Xu Zhi, a Chinese graduate of Central Saint Martins, was one of the supported brands.

SUPER Milan
SUPER Milan

“In Italy, for the moment, it is very important to make it international”, agrees Sara Maino, a Senior Editor and Vogue Talents protégé at Vogue Italia. She noted, that London, having been a hub for emerging talent for the last ten years, has become too competitive and too expensive for the international brands to showcase, thus Milan is becoming increasingly attractive.

Designer Showrooms at London Fashion Week AW2017
Designer Showrooms at London Fashion Week AW2017

On the other hand, Xu Zhi says that London Designer Showrooms gave them more exposure and orders than Milan. However, the Italian equivalent of London Showrooms – Fashion Hub Market, is sponsored by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, and selected designers are not charged for participation.

“This season we have 15 designers coming from many countries, all those designers have a free space, and we organise the most important stores to visit them,” the president of the Camera Nazionale told BOF. Apparently, big established brands like Versace, Prada or Gucci, showcasing alongside the emerging brands, pay hundred times more so young designers can get sponsorship.

JIRI KALFAR Pitti Super with More Dash
JIRI KALFAR Pitti Super with More Dash

Another great platform for emerging international brands is Pitti Imagine with their SUPER tradeshow celebrating young international designers. This was the second season since SUPER had a special project Eye on East by the Ukrainian showroom More Dash. Eye on East presents a special edition of Eastern European brands from post-Soviet countries like Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Russia.

Agne Kuzmickaite Pitti Super with More Dash
Agne Kuzmickaite Pitti Super with More Dash

This year, MORE DASH brought ten designers who have already shown outside their local markets (that was a pre-requisite), usually with other More Dash projects. Designers included Agne Kuzmickaite (Lithuania), Anouki (Georgia), Elena Burba (Ukraine), FLOW the label (Ukraine), GINSH (Ukraine), JIRI KALFAR (Czech Republic), Nay area (Russia), Scenarium (Russia), Tamar (Georgia) and Tatman (Ukraine).

With the traditional fashion week model changing, is Milan the next hub for emerging talents? Or, as we learned at the Fashion Bloc business course last week, should designers show locally, in their own geographical areas? Watch this space to hear more about the next fashion shifts and how they affect emerging brands.