''Bright lights, big city.'' wrote blouse singer Jimmy Reed in 1961. Little that he know that those bright lights will shine on gender, race and age diversity in Moscow during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia.
MBFW Russia is held biannually at The Moscow Manege in the center of Moscow. The 2 catwalk spaces can accommodate over 700 seated people each and features fashion shows every 30 minutes. The venue host lectures, hair and makeup section, a VIP lounge, a cafe, presentation space and popup shops area.
I set at the VIP champagne lounge with Russia fashion week founder Alexander Shumsky to talk about his personal point of view.
Tell me about the beginning of Russia fashion week.
In the 90s I used to work with the local fashion brand as a publicist. We had a lot of Russian clients at the time. Russian brands, American fashion brands. Established fashion brands. And they were no fashion weeks. So, There were some events but very low profile but once per year not the created for designers. We had a lot of. Requests. Because we were purchasing shows and so on we decided to unite all that under one roof twice a year. After a couple of years we named it Russian fashion week and it was growing very fast. There's so many designers in Russia and at that time they had no platform to showcase their work to buyers and journalists. Fashion industry. It was a very business event. Now everything is changing and fashion weeks not for businesses at all. Everywhere. Even in Paris it's not for business. Its for Social media, media, creating content. This what we are doing over here.
Tell me about your collaboration with Mercedes Benz.
We've signed up with Mercedes Benz in 2012. And since then we're developing the Fashion Week under the Mercedes Benz family.
What in your openion is Mercedes Benz main Contribution for Russia fashion week?
If we are not talking about business or money. The main point Which Mercedes Benz brought to Moscow to The Russian Fashion Week is International recognition. When we were named ''Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia'' we got so many requests from all over the world. At that time Mercedes Benz were sponsoring over 40 Fashion Week. It's a major marketing platform.
The key point is the concept and the key point is designers and we are discovering a lot of design. Last year we started the Global Talents program which brings here young designers.
We invite them to Moscow from China, from Germany and so on and it creates great hype and it creates communication between all these brands. About 10 or 15 years ago we were focused more on growing and established brands and for me it was very important to bring going here established international brands to encourage local designers to showcase on the same catwalk like Vivienne Westwood, Iceberg, Jeremy Scott and so on. Now the world has changed and to be along the established brands is not so cool . The fashion business, the fashion industry goes to niche. Small brands can be quite small but sustainable. That was actually impossible 10 years ago. If you are small you are not surviving.
What on your opinion is the niche that Moscow is going towards?
I see there's a lot of streets and sportswear. Do you think it's something that Moscow will show more of?
The Fashion Week shows are very different from evening wear to streetwear. We are trying to balance and show different angles of the industry and to select the best designers from different niche. If we will focus on the streetwear It's going to be quite boring because on the after 3 shows, you won't understand what's going on. It will all look the same.
You've mentioned before that whole fashion week platform change and it's more focused on social media and creating content. How was it before? do buyers still come to Moscow?
There were a lot of buyers in Moscow and nobody did a single order. Its not the point. For Russia it was never like that. Fashion week is a convention. 20 years ago it was business to business event. Now it's a convention and everybody goes to the city everybody is going around to the shows. We're trying to expand that to reinvent fashion.
We have lecture and Concerts to create the buzz around it.
Aizel Trudel is the CEO and founder of Aizel luxury concept shop in Moscow. Located in the city center and spread in 4 floors building Aizel sells international luxury designers from Gucci to Balenciaga and local high end brands. The Aizel brand is an official partner of MBFW Russia and sponsor the VIP lounge at The Moscow Manege. I met Aizel Trudel for a talk and champagne at the top floor of her shop during a party she organized to the foreign press.
What inspired you to create this concept shop in Moscow?
It was Italy. About 17 years ago I was there and totally shocked by the way they were treating clothes buy the way that I've seen the new designers buy the mix and mix and match I always say that it was just a pure inspiration and it was always my dream to bring that to Russia.
When did you start working in fashion? Overall I am in fashion for 20 years.
How do you choose the international designers to feature your shop? We go to the shows and we always looking to work with new designers.
How do you choose the local designers?
It's always been my intention to support them and to help them because a lot of them are very young financially and experience wise. We have the Fashion Week that we support aswell and research, we always in search.
What is the next step?
Next step is improve with we have. The online opportunities endless so we really focusing on online now and trying to make it more successful.
Do you want to focus on other countries? I wish, one day. We still have a lot of things to do in Russia. But hopefully one day we will definitely consider to go abroad.
What is the feedback that you get from the Fashion Week and how do you support fashion week?
I think it's great at the Fashion Week is happening that the international media is coming that you see Russia you see how different Moscow is from the perspective of the international press and I think that's what it's so important to invite you here and and just to see that people are friendly the designers are talented and they have a chance and they deserve to be seen and to be known.
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