Young Designers at Paris Fashion Week
13 November, 2018


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Rahul Mishra SS19

  Whether in Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Namibia, Sweden or the USA, Paris is brimming with initiatives that present their young talent. The British Fashion Council has been showing the “London Show Rooms” here since 2008 (financed, among others, with EU funds). Who visits these showrooms is heartbroken: all the young designers look at you with big eyes full of hope. Also important decision-makers come, such as Antonio Cristaudo, who is on the lookout for talent for the men’s fashion fair Pitti Uomo. Only for a few, very few will this dream come true.

By Joachim Schirrmacher

Young designers are presented at every corner. In the Palais de Tokyo alone, there were over 20 young designers full of hope at the “Designer Appartment” and one door further at the “Culture(s) de Mode” conference. In addition, there are installations in the lobbies of big hotels like the W Opera or the Westin. But no one has time alone to research all the names on the numerous invitations. Even the most beautiful of the most talented gets lost in the masses. Who knows Marine Serre (LVMH Prize 2017), Antonin Tron (Andam Prize 2018) or Anthony Vaccarello? But everyone knows Saint Laurent, whose Creative Director Vaccarello is.

Germany is competing with itself
In the middle of this shark tank, the Germans have been trying to gain a foothold for six years, now for the third time together with Austria and Switzerland. In the five days, 179 visitors came to the “DACH-Showroom” in Marais, 102 of them buyers. Germany is competing with itself, the lobby association German Fashion Council is doing its own thing, but contrary to its own claim, it is far from representing the entire industry. The “GFC” presents its supported labels Horror Vacui, Steinrohner and William Fan in Rainbowwave’s 8-day showroom near Gallery Lafayette. “No one has time, established networks like Rainbowwave help, that gives a leap of faith,” Fan said during our visit. He was satisfied: “There were already customers from the USA and Russia”. The conversation ends when four young buyers introduce themselves: “Hello, we are from Bejing”.

Sweden is aiming to be the world’s market leader
The Swedes approach of promoting young talent in a more structured way. “We have a different approach to the German Fashion Council,” says Jennie Rosén, Managing Director of the Swedish Fashion Council, during a soirée in the Swedish cultural institute Suédois. “Just as Nokia has changed Finnish culture, we are building on the foundation that Hennes & Mauritz has created. In fact, according to Rosén, H&M generates 55 percent of Sweden’s total fashion turnover of 326 billion SEK in 2017. The fashion industry has been growing for seven years in a row, and exports have increased by nearly 90 percent since 2010. Fashion is thus one of the fastest growing export industries for Sweden in general. And ambassador Veronika Wand-Danielsson makes an announcement: “Sweden is aiming to be the world’s market leader in sustainable fashion and tech”.
That this is possible was also demonstrated by the “Swiss Textile Award”, the most successful international promotion of young talent to date, which won Raf Simons (2003), Haider Ackermann (2004) and Christian Wijnants (2005) before the award was discontinued. All three show that consistently good design finds its place also in a saturated industry.
Christian Wijnants presented last week in Paris a dream journey along the Silk Road in Stock Exchange: oversized trousers, shirts and wide skirts – in strong blue, light green and pink as well as prints typical of Wijnants.

The most important milestone of my life
Currently, is the “International Woolmark Prize” is one of the most important awards, 2014 won by the Indian Rahul Mishra: “That was the most important milestone of my life. The trust that went with it enabled me to start my international career,” says Mishra backstage shortly before the start of his show.
His luxurious collections focus on traditional Indian craftsmanship with precious embroidery and hand-woven fabrics. The embroideries of his prêt-à-porter are so fine that they meet the couture standard (he presents his couture line in India). Mishra has not only made a name for himself, his work is development aid for the families in the villages of his homeland, who receive about 70 percent of the turnover.

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