Eastern European designers are creative and persistent. They grew up as a post-Soviet generation influenced by the overwhelming Western influx and grim reminiscence of the old Eastern Europe. Due to this unique upbringing, Eastern European designers are trained to combine creativity with productivity – there’s so many ideas and no time to waste.
Eastern Europe has been serving European and overseas brands as a production hub thus designers are in the enviable position to create and manufacture locally.
It seems like a good timing for showcasing the most promising designers from this upcoming region. This is when the Eastern European Showroom enters the scene. It was the first kind of such event specifically for Eastern European designers where international trade and media can meet new exciting brands under one roof in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The showroom is a part of the Lithuanian fashion festival ‘Fashion Infection’ which celebrates the 20th anniversary this season.
‘We, as well as other creators from the former Soviet Union, have been trained to trust our imagination and work under tough conditions with a limited supply of materials and without the latest technology at hand. It has helped to form the aesthetics of minimal, not overloaded, comfortable and functional design. It’s time to learn how to sell it,“ says Sandra Straukaitė, fashion designer and the organizer of ‘Fashion Infection’.’
Eastern European Showroom has been visited by international fashion buyers and agents coming from destinations such as Germany, United Kingdom, Finland, Czech Republic and Australia.
The Eastern European Showroom producer Milda Savickienė is pleased that this idea has attracted the interest of both designers and retailers.
‘In the past, our local designers tried to align with the trends of Western culture, and finally, the Eastern European talent has been boldly presenting their origin as a valuable distinctive voice’, said Savickienė. According to her, Eastern European fashion industry has been gaining lots of attention in 2017 competing with European fashion capitals.
Introducing Eastern European fashion designers under one roof is not a statement of putting them as stylistically alike. They are interesting for Old Europe as they offer a different point of view, a different historical perspective and a great mix of commerciality and avant-garde.
‘Our designer products have strong identities inspired by genuine experiences’, claims L’Officiel Lithuania Editor Arnoldas Remeika.
One of the showroom participants, an internationally established designer with a strong identity of universal beauty Julia Janus claims that developing a local identity is very important.
„Julia Janus brand has developed a very local identity in all forms. She purposefully questioned what is the Baltic identity and created her individual vision of what does it mean to be from the Baltics – what’s like living here, how nature, food and weather influence the collective consciousness. Together with a strong brand identity, she has developed a product identity’, explains Victoria Dias, a brand consultant working with local brands in the core areas of brand development, product and communication strategies.
It seems like understanding your own identity worked out quite well. Julia Janus has five stores in Lithuania, a successful franchise in Ukraine, retail spots in the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, as well as online.
This season The Eastern European Showroom represents designers Sandra Straukaitė, Julia Janus, ABOUT, Kristina Kruopienytė, Diana Paukštytė, Akvilė Jančauskaitė, KARTU, Laura Daili, Kristi Andress, OHMY, Utalla and CELSIUS 273 from Lithuania alongside Latvian designers Public Makes Image, Iveta Vecmane, BLCV by Bulichev, and AZNAURI from Georgia.