Almanac of Bulgarian Fashion


At the background of the apathetic and rather uninteresting fashion shows recently, the bachelor students in fashion from the National Academy of Art attracted the attention of connoisseurs and journalists with their graduation fashion show. They presented their project My Favourite Mouvie in the Sofia City Art Gallery. Being aware how difficult it is to find the point of support of your creativity in a world that is terribly commercialized, the future designers (with a class leader Dr. Mariela Gemisheva and assistant Alexander Gerginov)  showed original interpretations of the cult films  Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Nevena Yordanova), Gia (Naditsa Todorova), The English Pateint (Rossitsa Kumanova), Cabaret (Blagorodna Kotseva), Grease (Elitsa Varadinova), Frida (Daniela Penova), Boy Turns Man (Iva Stancheva), Perfume (Yelena Kesich),  2046 (Maria Momchilova) , Caribbean Pirates  2 (Dimitrina Markova),  The City of Lost Children (Yane Vassilevski), Street Dances (Kristina Moukoska), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Maya Despodovska), Chocolate (Maria Bogdanova), collection after Tim Burton's films  (Boyan Petroushevski), collection after  films of Audrey Hepburn (Miglena Karova) and  A Woman of Paris  (Dilyana Toneva).

THE STRIVE OF THE NEW GENERATION According to the official concept, the My Favourite Movie topic is both individual (MY) and total (FAVORITE MOVIE), and at the same time alluring and uniting the students – bachelors of art, who majored Fashion at the National Art Academy. In order to find a supporting point of its own creativity in the hyperbolization of the commerciality is not an easy task. Two of the most powerful cultural institutions in the contemporary world, producing most of our images, designs and dreams are a challenge, which students meet as future participants in these processes and as creators of the strange logics that manage them. And what else could fashion be but the world of unpredictable accelerations, brightness, a dream for perfection, an illusion, preferences, image, style, power, sharp edge of negotiations, way of self-protection  and/or self-expression, money, markets. And a process, from the personal whim, through considering the idea, establishing an image, technology-building, work, details, building a team, constructing a stage for presentation, a market.

The team of the lecturers at the Fashion Chair of the National Academy of Art includes Prof. Gredi Assa, Prof. Lubomir Stoykov, Ph. D., Prof. Panayot Panayotov, Ass. Prof. Maya Bogdanova, Dr. Mariela Gemisheva, Dr. Yana Kostadinova, Anna Avramova, Katerina Tsaneva, Lyubomir Draganov, Nadezhda Popova and Tsena Milyanova.  The My Favourite Movie diploma project of the bachelors of art, who majored Fashion at the National Art Academy, was supported by the Debuts Fund and by a number of other institutes, authorities, companies and media.

The artistic tandem Bilyana and Peter - Bipone also have something to boast about in the past 2007. The young fashion artists, who live and work in Vienna, opened their first atelier in the centre of Austria's capital. Bipone Design Atelier offers unique hand-made clothes and accessories. During the opening of the atelier, the idea about fashion was artistically recreated through music. A specially invited lady saxophone player presented designs from the collection at the background of jazz performance. The boutique is made in a baroque style in combination with modern elements. Bilyana and Peter prefer clean lines and forms in creating the interior, and the color range varies from light cognac and sunny yellow to orange. The nonstandard idea of the young authors to put a fireplace in the atelier brings additional coziness. Bipone designs are made of natural materials. Ready clothes are offered or they are made according to the customer’s size. Bipone Design Atelier prepares also a complete styling, which includes the whole process of the preparation of a given model – selection of fabric, preparation of design, cut, etc. Bilyana and Peter – Bipone (they are graduates of the New Bulgarian University) have already their own customers in Vienna, as even before the opening of the new atelier they have offered their clothes in various Austrian fashion boutiques. The newest about the Bulgarian designer duo is that it is among the eleven finalists of the 11 Meter Mode (11 Metre Fashion) competition, which took place simultaneously in Austria and Switzerland. The competition was dedicated to the world soccer championship in 2008. The goal was to find out the eleven best Austrian fashion designers. Bilyana and Peter competed with further 1,800 Austrian designers. Their ranking among the eleven finalists provided them the opportunity to participate in one of the biggest and well-known exhibitions for fashion, jewellery and furniture in Zurich at the end of 2007. For three days they had been presenting their own collection, including the design that won the competition.

THE STRIVE OF THE NEW GENERATION The search of new and non-standard materials and techniques of work is among the leading characteristics of the art of Maria Doichinova. Since a long time she has reached to the dictum of “Do not stop experimenting!”, as she is well aware of the sense of a permanent search and testing of fabrics, means of expression, new technologies and non-conventional spatial solutions.  Since tdetergenthe very beginning of her training at the Academy of Applied Art in Vienna she has had the chance to attend classes of famous Belgian designers Viktor and Rolf, who – as a rule – are very keen on experiment in fashion design.  Then Maria remembered a project, which she  had to make using the Austrian flag. She decided to lend colour to the experiment and make a dress of a plastic fabric, which do not let water through. There should have been some liquid in the fabric. What kind of a liquid it should have been was a question, to which the fashion design student quickly found a solution – she decided to use a detergent, which accentuated the fabric.  The problem was to find an adequate technology to paste that fabric. When Viktor and Rolf started viewing the work, the detergent poured over them. “It was very funny and we enjoyed it very much. After that I made a really very good gown”, the young designer remembers with a smile.

THE STRIVE OF THE NEW GENERATION Recently, Maria Doichinova experimented in Vienna with the nylon fabric, of which the car airbags (air cushions, which are automatically activated in a car cabin during accidents and protect passengers from injuries) are made. In her joint project with another Bulgarian – Hristo Delev, the designer makes uniforms of exploded airbags. She is astonished by the very way of selection the materials – going around car cemeteries and car parks, selecting the fabrics (the airbags were mainly from Mercedes) rather than only by their properties – durability, waterproofness, resistance to fire, etc.  The year of 2007 will be remembered by Maria Doichinova with another thing as well. This was her first independent fashion show in Vienna on November 9, 2007 – Doychinoff AW 2008. The leading topic of the collection was Identity, and the event took place at the Gustav Adolf Church. This expressive demonstration of maximal touch to the smallest fragment is unambiguously showing the enviable success of the designer and her capability to think conceptually, unusually and bravely.

Another name, which drew our attention in the past 2007 is Drina Pashova, who graduated the Milan Academy of Fine Arts NABA – Nuova Accademia di belle arti, the department of fashion and textile design, respectively. Last year she made designs for the collection Casual Chic, autumn-winter 2008-2009 for Edoardo Miroglio - Miroglio Lana BG, presented at the fairs Moda In in Milan, as well as at Premiere Vision – Paris, Lille, Monaco, Madrid. Drina took successfully part in Bgate 2007 exhibition (Balkan Exhibition of Clothing and Textile) with a collection entitled Nostalgia and was the face of the Roots and Creativity campaign. 

THE STRIVE OF THE NEW GENERATION For Drina Pashova fashion is the art to be different and is an expression of the individuality of every person. Fashion, understood as a style and a mirror of life is the foundation of the philosophy and the own interpretation of this phenomenon by the young and talented designer. For example, her collection Nostalgia is inspired by the traditional Bulgarian men’s  costume and the nostalgia of the modern Bulgarian women regarding the men from the past, who compete with the men of every day.  Drina herself describes the aesthetics and design of her works in the following way: “Shapes and volumes are influenced by the tradition, the tendencies, the functionality and nature of modern woman. Wearing designs, which are made on the basis of traditional Bulgarian men’s costume, she demonstrates her power and at the same time humaneness, which could also be seen from the used materials – classic men’s fabrics and strongly feminine ones, reminding lace. Colours of the grey and black range are predominant as an expression of nostalgia, as well as ecru as a symbol of hope. The final design of the collection is strongly feminine, rich and colourful as a triumph of the victory of hope over the nostalgia.”

THE STRIVE OF THE NEW GENERATION One of her first expressions is as a trainee in the design of the ladies’ collection Joop – Germany. Drina gains also significant experience when she assists Barbara Brignone in preparing a  ladies’ collection. The young designer could also boast with the fact that she has designed and made four designs ordered by L’Оreal / Aldo Coppola for participation in a show of Fashion World Milan. Her cooperation with designer Laura Peluso in the creation of a fashion collection of the emblematic car brand Lancia has been particularly successful. She also acquired valuable experience when she participated in the design and making of ladies’ and men’s clothes and accessories for: Sempione SEY store, Guido Dolci/ Milan, Adhoc/ Busto Arsizio, Faspea bags/Milan, Giro d’Italia 2007 – the popular cycling tour of Italy in 2007, etc. Drina allocated time and acquired knowledge and practical experience in the field of styling and makeup as well, participating in sessions of photographer Nikola Borissov for Milan agencies Elite, Major, Flash Model Management, Ice Models etc. Especially important for her is also her performance as a sales assistant in the Polo Ralf Lauren showroom in Milan. There she mastered even better the art of marketing and merchandising, as she was employed to clothe and prepare the styling of models, as well as to organize the preparatory works about the collections and the clothes for sale. 

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This very brief and spontaneous overview of the achievements of the Bulgarian fashion design in 2007 shows the changed conditions under which Bulgarian fashion stylists’ work. The challenges of time, Bulgaria’s one year full EU membership, as well as the surprises offered all the time by the phenomenon of fashion suppose a new attitude to this industry and to this type of creation along with the new higher and merciless criteria about high quality, competitiveness, mastering of the newest production and textile technologies, as well as the courage to look at future straight in the eyes.  The new generations of fashion artists, fashion designers are the ones who will raise the Bulgarian style to the required height. Just because of that, the care for them while they are still students, and after that the obligatory protections and stimuli are the real pre-requisites for achieving new, even more aesthetic, cultural and business results in the sphere of fashion and fashion design. Today and forever! 



Contemporary fashion: New criteria, new generations

Bulgarian fashion design - status and trends

The glitter of Zlatna igla (The Golden Needle)

The strive of the new generation

Bulgarian Fashion Directory


11. Collection of Iva Stancheva – Bachelor of the National Academy of Art, My Favourite Movie Collection
Photo: © Alexander Nishkov

12. Collection of Bipone
Photo: © Bipone

13. Works from the Airbag project of Maria Doichinova and Hristo Penev, 2007.
Photo: © Personal archive of Maria Doichinova.

14 and 15. Design sketches of Drina Pashova for the Nostalgia Collection


Copyright © 2008 Lubomir Stoykov

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