The biggest international festival of Fashion and Design in Southeastern Europe, Serbia Fashion Week, has officially been opened in the House of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on November 20, in a unique manner – with a conference. “Branding by Fashion” was an opportunity to hear a panel discussion by some of the biggest national and worldwide experts in fashion and ethnology, and supported by Color Press Group.
The first panel discussion was “Branding in fashion and art”, and participating were Donald Potard, former CEO of Jean Paul Gothier and Head of the Fashion Design Department of Paris College of Art; William Arlotti, the expert fashion consultant and director of the French agency House Off, Tijana Palkovljević, director of the Gallery of Matica Srpska, and Robert Čoban, CEO of Color Press Group. The second panel, “The Role of the Fashion Industry in Attracting Tourists and Investments”, was held between Marija Labović, director of the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, Branislav Knežević, director of the Tourist Organisation of the city of Novi Sad, Dr Biljana Chronos Krasavac, professor at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, and Eymeric Francois, art director of fashion events and fairs in Paris and Berlin.
A special part of the Day 1 program included an exhibition of 10 reproductions of paintings by famous Serbian artists loaned from the Gallery of Matica Srpska, along with creations by fashion designers who were inspired by them.
The President of the National Assembly of Serbia, Maja Gojković, opened this conference with a retrospective of some key moments in the history of fashion branding: one of the oldest examples we know of comes from a Syrian sandal maker from around 200 BC, who marked his products so that they would stand out from other makers’ sandals. Branding and advertising as we know it truly escalated during the Industrial Revolution – branding is a brainchild of the 21. century. According to Ms Gojković, Serbia ought to recognize the possibilities that could come from nurturing its own brands, as it would modernize the way it is perceived in a positive light.
The president of the National Chamber of Fashion of Serbia and Serbia Fashion Week, Svetlana Horvat, pointed out that this manifestation is the fifth largest fashion week in Europe. “Serbia Fashon Week is the largest and most significant fashion week in Southeastern Europe. It is through the continuous support from our friends that helped this manifestation became so recognizable in Europe. We are presenting our young talents a chance for success and helping them present their work on fashion weeks around the world. Serbian designers have presented in New York, Milan, Paris, St. Petersburg, Athens, Prague, Budapest, and many more. Thanks to our contracts with 26 international fashion weeks, Serbian designers have traveled all across the globe, taking over runways, as foreign fashion designers have been arriving to Serbia, presenting their work, and introducing us to the cultural legacy of their home countries.”
Also speaking at the conference were Mariana Scognamiglio, representing the Embassy of Italy in Belgrade, and Nicholas Faye, representing the Embassy of France in Belgrade, both recounting their experiences with branding in the fashion industry.
You can see part of the atmosphere from the “Branding by Fashion” conference right here.
The Serbia Fashion Week runways start on November 21 with a special show by Srđan Šveljo, who gathered 25 young regional talents. Traditionally, Serbia Fashion Week opens with a massive presentation honoring avant-guarde art. Following it on the runway will be collections by Vlastimir Jovanov (Serbia), Chuluuntsetseg Choibaatar and Tuya Purvee (Mongolia), Mirna Posavčević (Croatia), and Carmichael Byfield (the Netherlands).
In the upcoming seven days, visitors will view collections by more than 60 designers from 20 countries around the world, as well as a book promotion by Serbia Fashion Week guest of honor, Patrizia Gucci, the biggest name to ever visit a fashion event in Serbia.