CONTEMPORARY FASHION: NEW CRITERIA, NEW GENERATIONS
Prof. Lubomir Stoykov, PhD
In the past 2007 the contemporary Bulgarian fashion, or rather the contemporary Bulgarian fashion design, marked its constant pluses and minuses, ups and downs in its growth. This dynamics was not accidental, as the development of the world fashion itself more than ever is held captive by ambiguity and chance, fugacity and irrationality. However, what kind of a fashion would be the rational, unchanging and well planned cultural form of predomination of a given style, taste or norm of dressing? The tastes and needs of people change even more quickly and become more capricious and demanding. And this presupposes new criteria for our fashion industry, which after Bulgaria’s EU accession, has a decreasing right to complain from discrimination, residual approach and bad heritage from the planned socialist economy. The Bulgarian designers, fashion houses, companies for production of clothing and textile, accessories and cosmetics have to be more flexible, pulsating, and at the same time original, of a quality and hi-tech. The small and medium-sized clothing and textile enterprises could survive only this way. However, this requires fresh, versatile and both functional and artistic fashion design rather than only a good investment policy, clever marketing approach, perfect presentation and communication culture. However, only now big fashion companies start looking around for talented young designers, become aware of the fact that outsourcing is already in the past.
The real phenomenon is the frequent change of design – of volumes, silhouettes and topical colours of clothing. Is it possible then for the Bulgarian manufactures of clothing to work after the method and the technique of the so called fast fashion? The realistic answer to this question presupposes discretion and skepticism. The pulsing marketing and permanently changing fashion design presupposes a very professionally developed infrastructure, serious investments in the sphere of market dynamics and taste dynamics and, without any doubts, risky investments. This is not impossible. More flexibility and speed of production, as well as giving priority to cheaper raw materials are tools that might help for the implementation of the fast fashion idea in Bulgaria. The Zara phenomenon would be impossible both without the dynamics of technology and the information about the changes of mass taste and the attitudes of consumers across the world, which was analyzed with the speed of a lightning.
In order to survive, Bulgarian fashion industry has to solve three fatefully important issues:
- To bring its technologies as well as and related quality in compliance with the high European standards;
- To find, as soon as possible, its niches – manufacturing and market spaces, which are not occupied or are not fully occupied by foreign companies. Such niches exist in the field of sport, corporate and uniform clothing;
- To finally learn to work in a correct and far-seeing way with talented young fashion designers (to discover and stimulate them, while they are still students at the National Academy of Art or at colleges, both in the country and in Bulgaria), in the way it is in the United Kingdom for example.
Along with everything else, studies show that independently from the total orientation to more negligent and casual style, the significance of the individual artistic design will continue growing, as people, especially the young generation, will want to be even more different and original in their appearance.