Estonian Fashion Design at London Fashion Week

Helen Rits, spokesperson in Estonian Embassy in London

Estonian design deserves to be introduced more widely in the world and many of our designers and design companies have great export potential. Therefore, opportunities must be found to introduce Estonian design and designers at international level. The last few years have confirmed that London Fashion Week is an event worth participating in, because it provides an excellent opportunity for fashion designers to showcase their work.

Photo: Hannah Laycock

Photo: Hannah Laycock

London Fashion Week does not need any further introduction for people interested in fashion. For those who are less fashion-conscious, this is one of the top events in the fashion year, where designers and famous brands present their new collections under the watchful eye of the fashion critics. This is also where fashion houses and buyers establish contacts and look for new emerging talent. Naturally, the entire event attracts great public attention and the journalists and fashion blogs write countless articles and take lots of glamorous photos. Anyone who wants to make an impression and achieve anything in the fashion world needs to attend Fashion Week.

Every year, many auxiliary events take place in London in connection with Fashion Week. One is the International Fashion Showcase (IFS), which was organised for the third time this year. This is an event for beginning designers and is organised by the British Fashion Council in cooperation with the British Council. The IFS takes place at the same time as Fashion Week in order to bring the work of young talented designers to the attention of the talent scouts, journalists and bloggers that attend Fashion Week. Estonia participated in the IFS for the third time and our participation has been very successful.

The Estonian fashion design exposition called “FreshEst presents: Ministry of Creative Affairs” won the top prize in 2013. And this year, the exhibition introducing the work of Estonian designers called “Fashion Now: Estonia” won first prize for its presentation.

The Estonian exposition was chosen as the best from among the 27 participating countries. The judges considered the work of the young designers as well as the general concept and artistic execution of the entire exhibition, which was splendidly blended into an integrated whole. Sarah Mower, one of the world’s most respected fashion journalists and contributing editor of Vogue US, who headed up the panel of judges, called the Estonian exposition “mind-blowing!”

Photo: Hannah Laycock

Photo: Hannah Laycock

This achievement is a great acknowledgement for Estonian fashion design and provides confirmation of the fact that our fashion designers are competitive and able to attract attention on the international fashion scene. Therefore, it is essential that we continue to participate in similar projects and to systematically introduce products and services designed in Estonia to the world.

This year’s prize-winning exposition included Marit Ilison’s coat collection called “I Want to Sleep” (“Magada tahaks”) and her women’s collection called “Other” (“Teine”); Jo Nurme’s men’s and women’s parkas; Sille Sikmann’s handmade men’s shoes; and Kärt Põldmann’s collections of handmade shoes for women and men. In addition to the work of the four young Estonian designers, KAAMOS, a presentation about Estonian fashion design curated by Tanel Veenre, showcased samples of the best work by 20 Estonian fashion designers.  The curator of the Estonian exposition was Tanel Veenre and the design of the exhibition was executed by Hannes Praks Studio.

It is also important to note that Estonia’s wonderful accomplishment is the result of excellent teamwork. The Estonian exposition was organised by the Estonian Design Centre and Estonian Embassy in London, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Development Fund, British Fashion Council and British Council.

Photos from the Estonian exposition called Fashion Now: Estonia: