It may not be Paris, Milan or New York, but Fashionphilosophy: Fashion Week Poland bubbled with all the energy of a young design industry demanding deserved attention. Over five days, from April 17-21, nearly 50 shows from established as well as upcoming Polish brands _ with some guests from neighbouring Eastern European countries _ took the runway at two venues in the city of Lodz, 90 minutes from Warsaw.
The autumn/winter collection ran the gamut of themes and inspirations, with Fur Garden taking a leaf from Dostoyevsky's heroines (Grushenka from The Brothers Karamazov precisely), Anniss adopting avant-garde rebellion, Monika Blotnicka drawing from Japanese art, and Kasperska delving into a 19th century sect to create her experimental collection. What was apparent, if not the privilege of recognisable names to non-Polish audiences, was the confidence and bravado to move forward and investigate possibilities, a feeling that can be felt elsewhere in Poland.
The smaller venue of the two _ though more majestic _ is an old aristocratic villa and former bank, which was converted into a platform for debuting designers and fashion graduates during the week. Meanwhile the main tent, dubbed Designer Avenue, was set in a compound of century-old red-brick structures that were once textile factories.
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