Lets talk Croatian fashion

In Croatia there are plenty of fashion events. Considering the size of the market we have more fashion events that any other country in the world. 
As having a good car, being well dressed, being spotted on all of the events worth coming to, including sipping our Saturday morning coffee in the city center are of the crucial importance, it is not surprising that supply of such events is vast. This is neither bad, nor good - in the time of economic crises, this order of priorities seems ironic,but its part of our culture.
Love it or hate it, its certainly better than drinking Prozac with early morning fat free late from Starbucks in NYC at 6am and coming home to your fancy apartment in Soho at 11 pm from work to an empty bed (Ralph Lauren silk sheets mind you) at the age of 35, to tired to sleep, and than running this on repeat 24-7.
        Not being trendy, not wearing a branded clothes for all to see (with brand logos on most visible places - on ones forehead if needed) and not following such events is like not being registered on Facebook - you practically do not exist. 
Most mainstream people do not resist being part of this stereotype, peer pressure seems to be way to strong...ahhh...but some do, and they are more fabulous than any New York trendy kids, because they have to be twice as much creative (with financial situation as it is and weak local  fashion industry) to show off their full potential. 

In next couple of weeks two of such fashion events are taking place in Zagreb. 
Zagreb as the capital of the country  hosts three big ones: Dove fashion.hr, Nivea Cro A Porter and Dreft Fashion Week Zagreb. All are sponsored by three leading skin and beauty care/home goods companies: Beiersdorf (Nivea),  Unilever (Dove) and Procter & Gamble (Dreft). 
While only the last -  Dreft Fashion Week is licensed fashion week  for Croatia and has the longest tradition of the three, competition and quality between the main three differs year in and year out. 

Most are showing collections for upcoming seasons as other world's fashion weeks, however none of the three has shown a continuous progress in quality, somewhat due to finances and organization but seems mostly due to competence of the people organizing these events and the fact that there is way to many of them considering the size of the country and talent available. 

There are also a few other new and up coming fashion events in other cities : Modni ormar in Zagreb also, Fashion Inkubator in Osijek, Split City fashion  in Split and Dubrovnik Fashion Week in Dubrovnik.
The coastal ones seem to be a good tourist attractions, while Modni Ormar and Fashion Incubator are a bit less commercial and more design focused (launching many young designers) - which is great for creativity but not as good for their sale potential and media coverage.

Majority of fashion designers in Croatia are educated to create art. i.e. not a wearable pieces. In addition to that, fashion design schools in Croatia seem  to be missing the business and communication classes so even the talented designers who are creative enough to make it nationally and internationally lack the business sense and fail to sell their creations to end consumer and do not know how to communicate to media, buyers and organizers to their advantage. Lastly, most fail to create brand of themselves, do not have the clear vision,  no website, catalog or business card for that manner - so they end up selling to their family and friends and a hand full of local celebrities.

I will write a different post on selected few who actually are the full package and thus make money of their creations.

So it happens that we continue to see the same faces in front rows over and over again, all to show and self promote - none to buy, we continue to see same designers many of who continue to copy their international counterparts and their recently shown collections. Media seems to look for sensations and yellow press is blooming while not much is written on design and fashion itself. 

It seems like most of the organizers have the : "take the money and run" mentality. 
Not many of these event's websites other than Dove Fashion.hr which has a really well organized fashion portal: fashion.hr are maintained and running throughout the year. 
      In addition, impression is that organizations are mostly done last minute and collection selection is not done thoroughly enough, which results in overall poor quality.
This is due to the fact that all of the sides are very much polarized, there is a lack of cooperation,  fair play and mutual support for well being and development of fashion in Croatia. 

The editors of fashion media in Croatia are not attending these events at all due to the quantity over quality ratio, or attending some of the events and reporting on them based on personal friendships and clan separations. Many in fact are rather copying already written reports from the international editions of their respective magazines that putting an effort and helping to develop local talents. 

Your readership and sales are skyrocketing downwards! Don't you think its time to step down from your editor's throne, stop writing about super expensive pieces most of which your average reader can't afford to buy or cannot find in local boutiques and start to support local talent and do something to wake up or even create fashion industry locally all while supporting local economy rather than copy pasting international fashions?

Take the idea from US Vogue's Ana Wintour who organized "Fashion's night out" to give a necessary boost to fashion industry, to excite people about fashion and motivate them to shop again.

     There is a noticeable lack of direction and long term vision. Collections are created,  events are organized, if collections are any good - some pieces are sold within couple of weeks/months and than there is struggle to make it until the next fashion event. Local buyers, showrooms and Croatian designer boutiques are rare to none existent.

So lets revise, shall we?

Objective: to create/strengthen Croatian fashion industry and exploit existing creative potential.

  • Who: designers & models/event organizers/fashion editors & celebrities/boutique owners & buyers
  • What: Fabulous original fashion pieces! - made in Croatia 
  • When: A season ahead
  • To whome:  fashion conscious Croatian people/public!
  • The goal: To sell! Sell! Sell! 

To summarize all the above, seems like the best thing would be to create one central event and combine the vast creative talent to one place - let the most creative and most competent ones prevail to build the Croatian fashion industry which very much needs a kick in the butt! 

The key to longevity is to keep doing what you do better than anyone else. We work real hard at that. It's about getting your message out to the consumer. It's about getting their trust, but also getting them excited, again and again. My clothes.. the clothes we make for the runway.. aren't concepts. They go into stores. Our stores. Thankfully, we have lots of them. 

~Ralph Lauren~



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