Hungarian fashion industry background. - Lakatwalk - a fashion and lifestyle blog.

Hungarian fashion industry background.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

As part of the blog project I am developing with Hungarian tourist board I got a chance to meet a lovely lady Eva Marillai who is managing multi-brand boutique store WonderLab featuring more then 30 young and very talented designers. 

Eva created a very special concept to help young designer to support each other and together market their products towards the end buyer in Hungary and abroad and is teaching them how to publicize their work across traditional and digital platforms. You will get a chance to read more about wonderful Wonderlab concept in one of my next weeks posts.

For this post Eva as an experienced business person and someone who is very knowledgeable on Hungarian fashion industry helped me get the full picture of the state of the fashion in Hugary in this short interview.

How developed is Hungarian textile industry? Is there enough support from government for young fashion entrepreneurs? Is there a good quality education for fashion students available?

Hungarian textile industry used to be significant before the transition in 1989. However after the political and economic transition incoming Chinese dump destroyed the industry. Thus, only few textile factories have survived, and operate today. After all, Hungary is still in good position regarding production capacity.
Right after the transition the government legislated a tax relief for disabled employees.

Some of the manufacturing companies took advantage of this law and become quite significant. One particular company, the state-owned Kézmű Nonprofit Ltd., stands out. This successful company is one of the five biggest clothing manufactures in Europe, French and Italian luxury fashion brands are their customers. Their production is constantly evolving and it's sure-footed.

For many years now, European Union’s support is opened for the fashion designers as well. However, this sector has still such a low capital that in many cases it's not worth of it. On top, even though the fashion designer education program in Hungary runs on high standards, students lack business knowledge. Not only the financial capital is missing, but fashion students are also not familiar with opportunities they have for production, marketing and promotion as business/entrepreneurship part of education is simply not strong enough.

One of the state institutes - Design Terminal offers the most tangible state support a fashion designer can get. Design Terminal’s goal is to support the domestic industry and connect it with international, regional business opportunities and similar events.

Photo source:   Nanuska 

What are the main fashion events, fashion weeks and trade shows or festivals where young designers can showcase and sell their designs in Hungary?

The most important Hungarian fashion event today is Gombold újra! (Re-button!)/ Central European Fashion Days. It has become international as the fashion designers from ex-Visegrad countries (Czech, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic) have been invited as well. Main fashion show schedule had some really impressive results featuring 40 professional partners, 42 models, 57 fashion designers, 60 international guests, 405 dresses, 8300 viewers on the spot, and 7000 viewers via live stream.

There are a few other fashion events during the year such as:

Tony&Guy Fashion Week Budapest which happens once a year. Usually about 4 to 5 fashion designers get a chance to show their collections. This is a high quality event but it hasn't reached international reputation so far.

Marie Claire Fashion Days is really a PR event for Hungarian Marie Claire magazine. It has became quite popular and professionally organized event.

Every fashion design school also has their own year end closing fashion shows.

More and more showrooms and pop-up stores are being opened in Budapest where one can purchase young Hungarian designers clothes. Also, thematic fairs became frequent in the recent years, for example the biggest Hungarian design market, called WAMP. It now became one of the most significant design market in the Center European region.

Photo source:   Use Unused 

How would you describe Hungarian designer / fashion scene?

Diverse and original. Hungarian designers are quite dynamic in development and very innovative but they lack financial investment which could push their happy to become a full-time job or become a brand, they also don't have enough business knowledge often to kick start their business. It is always hard to be a talented, creative designer and a professional manager at the same time, not everyone has it in them. For further improvement and brand development they need to learn how to market and promote their products as well. The other way would be to find the right person or a concept (like wonderLAB) to help them with their business development.

How does the current economic crises across Europe affects sales of young designers clothing and accessories?

These two go hand in hand and reflect obviously negatively on the sales of young designer clothing in Hungary. Generally, the middle class is narrowing and they are those who would be able and are interested to buy this kind of clothes. On the other hand, the richest of the Hungarian society are starting to get to know, love and purchase the Hungarian designers clothes as well. 

However, the main goal for most is to reach the global markets and export. We really need investors and effective communication to make it come alive. In the last two years, more and more fashion designers managed to convince and justify the investors trust and investment in their brands. Three of them gained around 1-1,5 million US dollars and their collections are on the market in various countries around the world. These three Hungarian brands are: Nanushka, USE Unused and Ivanka.

These most successful Hungarian fashion brands are starting to depend less on the Hungarian market and economical situation and they realy mostly on export and international sales, even though fast fashion brands still rule the market in this region and get the biggest part of clothing sales cake. Central European Fashion Days really support and boost the communication of domestic designers, this is the area where the State could help to make it even better and protect and drive local talent.

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