bulgarian FASHION 2003-04
Observations, Impre ssions, Reflections

What do some most general observations on the development and the manifestations in the field of clothes design in Bulgaria for the last twelve months show? Can we talk about specific tendencies, symptoms and syndromes in the fashion creation and in the fashion business in our country? In the one hand, in purely cultural, and more precisely - in aesthetical aspect, the greater part of the leading names in the Bulgarian fashion reoriented towards the application of more practical and even sporty cuts, silhouettes and visions in their collections, putting an even greater accent on the supplementing components - make-up, hair design, body art, musical and scenic effects, multimedia, etc. Partially this is the unavoidable echo from the invasion of the casual style in the world fashion and the strengthened influence of the new generations of designers on the unshakable until several years ago statute of the haute couture, and why not - of the French fashion. Partially, all this is a result of the even greater opportunities offered by the new technologies, the virtual and computer science, the new media and the noble invasion of youthful values.

On the other hand, the organization itself of the events on the catwalks is as if it marks a trend to a better logic, order and co-ordination. However, taking into account the fact that this tendency is rather shy, it could not be mentioned that together with the traditional autumn seasons of Bulgarian Fashion Forum, other group events, such as Visage Prete-a-porte, the reviews of TZUM Trade Centre, which is known as the Bulgaria Harrods, the ones of Moden Salon (Fashion Showroom) (referring to school-leaving ball garments), Moden Spektar (Fashion Range), Moden Buket (Fashion Bouquet) as well as Modna Fiesta (Fashion Feast), which is still seeking its real marine and summer niche. However, quite often these collective events are competed both by the quality of the staging and the presence of VIP guests and by the perfection of the shown design of the one-man shows of Evgenia Zhivkova for Jeni Style, Zhana Zhekova for Lavazza, Maria Micheva for Nedelya (Sunday), Albena Aleksandrova for Roshavata Garga (Tousled Crow), Maria Nedkova, Milka Alexandrova - Buchi for Roca, Fani Papadopulu, Darina Manchenko, Yordanka Chernaeva, Dora Momekova, Virginia Zdravkova, the fashion houses Galinel, Irida, etc.

Third, the prolonged collapse, into which the Bulgarian fashion experiment has been for several years now is outlined as specifically negative tendency. With the exception of a few events, including Mira Bachvarova's show Spirit and Body after the idea of Silvi Aleksiev (accepted in a quite controversial way by the media because of the too much nudity as an end in itself) (1) and the fashion show of Mariela Gemisheva Fashion Fire (also offering abundant body nakedness, but accepted positively as a whole in the public space), almost no other worth remembering vanguard and experimental events took place. The reasons include the current crisis of the world fashion experiment, as well as the traditional weakness of our vanguard designers not to experiment in the sphere of fabrics and technology, but rather seek the scandal, the unusual, the uproar. The lack of money, of enough sponsors and funds for promoting the non-ordinary and innovative in the new fashion design also represent a negative factor for fashion experiments.

How was the Bulgarian light industry and the fashion business in particular, including the production and export of textile and clothing developing in the last year? And what does the fact that our trade balance in the trade with textile and textile products is positive in the recent years mean ? Although indirectly connected to the fashion design, the Bulgarian economy and textile and clothing sector in particular, are indicative for the serious potential of our country in this respect. What do the statistics and economic analyses show? The industrial output has increased in 2002 in comparison to 2001 as follows: production of textile and textile products - 109,7%, and the production of clothes, including leather and fur clothes - 113,0%. This makes the specialists and experts to conclude that "the branch is of positive production dynamics as compared to the other sectors of economy." (2) .

Yordan Vassilev, Chairman of the Association of light industry companies, points out in his special report to the European Organization on Textile and Clothing (headquartered in Brussels) how inspiring is the contribution of the Bulgarian textile and clothing industry for the Bulgarian economy recently, especially bearing in mind the indices for export and employment shares. "155 934 people were employed in the textile and clothing sector in 2002, which is a 14% increase compared to the previous year and represents the greatest share (29%) of the employed in the processing industry. The branch retains its place of the greatest employer in the processing industry…The sector has become one of the most attractive fields for investments and employment with a good growth potential. The biggest invenstors are Miroglio Group, Italy - textile, Rollmann, Germay - clothing industry, and many Greek companies, Maser Holding, Turkey - textile" (4).

The Bulgarian Exhibition of Clothing and Textile, organized between October 10 and 12, 2003 at the Inter Expo Centre, Sofia, may be appraised as a positive fact and unmistakable contribution to the efforts for the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union. It was organized by the Association of Clothing and Textile Exporters, whose manager is Robert Aleksandriiski. Along with the great number of stands of Bulgarian and foreign designers, fashion houses, companies, specialized in the trade with fashion goods, the exhibition also carried out a significant programme for exchange of information, opinions and proposals for the development of this so important branch of our light industry. The leading topics were Bulgaria - Textile Manufacturing Centre in Europe, Key Factors for Attracting Investments in the Sector, The Challenge of 2005 and Balkan Response (a round table with representatives of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro), Clothing Market in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Manufacturer Principles of Behaviour and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies.


1. Introduction
2. Bulgarian FASHION 2003-04
3. The Young Generations
4, The Premiere
5. Charity Mission of Bulgarian Fashion
6, Golden Needles
7. Bulgarian Trace Around World

1.Design of Evgenia Zhivkova for Jeni Style, spring-summer 2003
Photo: © Dilyan Markov

2.Design of Zhana Zhekova for Lavazza collection
Photo: © Moni Frances

3.Nona Iotova with a model of Albena Aleksandrova, Fashion house Roshavata Garga /The Tousled Crow/ for Mirror Collection
Photo: © Moni Frances

4.Gala with a model of Darina Manchenko, autumn-winter 2003-04
Photo: © Konstantin Velkov


Copyright © 2003 Lubomir Stoykov

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