As you already know from my previous blog posts, I have moved back to Croatia about two years ago. Ever since, I have been curiously following how local fashion industry and designers function. All that I have seen was three separate fashion weeks – each pushing their own agenda, waking up couple of months before their event and falling asleep day after. Basically, they functioned as an entertainment event organizing agency – without clear goal for the participating designer’s promotion or the clear plans for projects future, which consequently disabled them from attracting sponsors.
For the remaining of the year – designers “belonging” to each of the respective events attempt to earn some money by selling mostly not wearable and rather impractical pieces, which are often overpriced and not of a particularly good quality. While others, who are the true and proven talents (based on their customer base and yearly earnings), have good quality, wearable pieces, and competitive prices and are actual media & customer magnets – act as drivers of the mentioned events, but do not get much out of the whole ordeal – as real industry buyers are not in attendance and showing their collections on these events gives them temporary PR exposure but rarely new customers.
However if the international buyers were in attendance, even the talented few designers, who have potential to have their collections ordered – do not have a production capacity to support an order of an even a small to medium clothing chains.
What have changed with existence of this new project – Fashion.hr Industry?
This year Fashion.hr group consisting out of: fashion portal, PR-marketing agency, organization team for three fashion events per year and trade show – Fashion.hr Industrija following each of the events (SS, FW & resort) have announced that they are attacking the root of the problem of local fashion industry with the industry motivating project objective of which is to connect all the dots – manufacturing & production – design – presentation (via shows) – PR/marketing and most importantly – sales & international exposure via bringing international buyers to local trade show. Project was named – Fashion.hr Industrija.
The idea and theory behind it is just what local industry needed which is why I am really proud and supportive of this young team. So big thumbs up! However, when I have seen the start of the project execution, I had some doubts.
Partnering with local chamber of commerce, selected local clothing company production factories and selecting a decent pool of talented young designers to sign a yearlong contracts and produce capsule collections for mentioned clothing companies, were all good moves.
On the other side, many things stayed undefined and unclear.
For example, I think that it was not a good idea to have both fashion.hr fashion shows and trade show fashion.hr Industrija to run in parallel due to limited capacity of production team as well as designers who will be present for both, this way quality of the events might suffer.
In addition, it hasn’t been defined which and if any real fashion buyers will actually attend, will this trade show showcase the upcoming Fall/Winter 11’. collections or a combination of the SS and FW 11’? Will regular consumers be able to attend and purchase the pieces they see on the spot? What will happen if the buyers make orders from designers who did not sign contracts with local production factories as part of Fashion.hr Industrija project?
All in all, this move is definitely a good move and a move forward for Croatian fashion industry. It will motivate a natural selection among the designers collection, it will give designers insight into what market demand is and it will most definitely make them be more realistic in pricing. In spite of the fact that not all details are clear and polished, I really hope that from the first time around this project will be a success and that strong foundation will be built for upcoming fashion talents, local textile industry will be awaken and more jobs will be open for industry professionals in the future.