Some thoughts about Bulgarian fashion design
Just before the start of 2016, upon invitation of Nelly Miteva, founder of the design platform “Ivan Asen 22”, I took part in a discussion about the fashion design in Bulgaria, its development, selling opportunities and identity.
How to make valuable design, is there a market in Bulgaria and abroad, what is the formula for successful development and implementation, how to reach a larger audience? Around these questions started the conversation. Number of issues has been raised; thoughts, observations and possible solutions were exchanged. Here are some major milestones:
Globally speaking, design is a very hard and very low paid job. Like any art it is a business that belongs to rich people. A good partner, brand, vision, someone with business approach and knowledge is more than needed. The fashion brand is not only about identity, it is a holistic approach, creativity, combined with extremely precise workmanship and selection of quality materials. Strategic partnerships play a key role in the success and are the ones that lead to greater awareness. There are two possible approaches – innovation and technology or return to tradition, to a specific know-how.
The creation of a garment or accessory is usually the result of inspiration certainly, but also of some solid knowledge of the history of art, fashion, literature and cinema … As a serious challenge to the development of Bulgarian fashion design was derived the collapse of secondary education as well as some serious deficiencies in terms of general culture and understanding of key terms associated with fashion, its history and development at a global level. Another issue is the local specificity of our mentality, lack of early career orientation among adolescents, as well as financial literacy.
The role of the media in informing, shaping tastes and promoting design is also essential.
How to have identity or how local fashion can be global?
Fashion design in Bulgaria may, in a certain way, be likened to a cycle that starts, reaches a point somewhere and comes to a sudden stop – with no continuity and tradition. In fact, how can they have an identity of work done with materials supplied by the customer? We turn to be producers and consumers without there creative side of the process. Besides, very often false stereotypes about fashion are created through aggressive presence and funding.
Who are the users of this fashion? Relatively limited group that hardly exceeds more than about 30 000 people. What is consumed the most is mass production, the label rather than the quality and value.
Falling into a situation “we against the others” by simply standing and pointing them out, can hardly lead to a constructive solution. However, here is the final point of this first discussion:
Potential approach for development is searching for alternative organizations, forms of counseling, connecting people from the different sides of the process (designers, business, marketing persons), giving room for creation, funding.
It is necessary to work for image building, better awareness and increase of the audience. Personal motivation, focus and hard work are key, as well as taking into account the business side of the story: clothes are to be marketable, portable and of high quality.
Here are the participants whose thoughts and ideas are integrated in this text:
– Slav – founder and creative director of 12magazine and one of the best Bulgarian makeup-artists
– Mira Draganova – national manager Bioderma Bulgaria
– Irina Lazova – expert in fashion marketing, brand identity and business strategies
– Jana Dvoretzka – designer and owner of slow fashion label YOD and lecturer at NBU
– Alexander Gerginov – designer and owner of Ham & Eggs label, lecturer at the Academy of Arts
– Vanina Handjiyska – PR expert and founder of the blog Styleinspiratrice.com
– Diana Zaharieva – founder and editor in chief of the portal Fashion inside
– Desislava Rancheva – managing partner of the portal Fashion inside
Moderator: Nelly Miteva – designer, lecturer at the AMD Akademie Mode & Design and founder of design platform Ivan Asen 22
In the discussion took part also couple of the most successful young Bulgarian designers it was also attended by students from the Academy of Arts and New Bulgarian University. For more info on the topic keep following the blog.
Photos: Martina Todorova0