Start a conversation about Georgia today, and the topic will quickly shift to war and political unrest, which have been the country’s major issues for the majority of the post-Soviet era. These factors have colored opinions of Georgia’s vibrant startup culture and fashion traditions. Many don’t pay attention to the Georgian creative industry’s progress in the global market.
Despite the drawbacks, Georgia has given birth to some of the world’s most recognizable fashion labels, including George Keburia, Situationist, and Vetements. Two major fashion events have significantly aided the success of such brands and the numerous renowned designers emerging from the country. This article examines how fashion weeks have transformed Georgia’s fashion industry.
What are the issues confronting Georgia’s fashion industry?
To understand how far the industry has progressed, we must consider the challenges that creatives faced before and after the arrival of fashion events. Of course, the major distraction undermining key economic sectors is the political tug-of-war between the government and democracy advocates. However, Georgia’s small size and geographical location have made it less visible in the global context.
Visa issues had also hampered the country’s fashion industry’s ability to enter foreign markets and challenged incoming audiences. Tbilisi Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi have turned the tables by attracting large foreign audiences and exporting Georgian fashion culture to other parts of the world.
Tbilisi Fashion Week
Tako Chkheidze founded Tbilisi Fashion Week during the Tbilisoba festival in 2009. The event takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall, and is held in various locations such as the streets, art galleries, museums, and nightclubs.
The event, along with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, has brought international attention to some of Georgia’s biggest names, including David Koma, Demna Gvasalia, Lako Bukia, and Tamara Kopaliani. Georgian designers based in other countries also attend the event to share new ideas and recognize local talent.
During Tbilisi Fashion Week, adjacent showrooms showcase Georgian startups, educational programs, and initiatives. Tbilisi Fashion Weeks also honor fallen Georgian heroes in order to honor the creative spirit that lives on.
Tbilisi Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFWT)
According to the founder, Sofia Tchkonia, persuading the supercar brand to hold the event in Georgia meant putting her finances at risk because the country’s fashion industry was little known internationally. Since its inception in 2015, MBFWT has elevated the careers of designers such as Lako Bukia, Anouki, Tako Mekvabidze, and Avtandil. The event, which also includes the BENEXT International and ARTGeorgia art exhibitions, takes place in the country’s capital, Tbilisi.
The MBFWT is currently Georgia’s most visible fashion event, exporting the country’s rich culture and talents to international celebrity spaces and other interested parties. It provides a venue for buyers, media, influencers, and recruiters to meet local creatives and get a first-hand look at Georgian fashion.
How Georgian Fashion Has Been Promoted Through Events
The Georgian fashion industry was not as vibrant before the events because creatives were separated and left to experiment without a competitive ground. That has drastically changed over time. Events have exposed Georgian designers to various ideas that are valued in other parts of the world, which they have combined with their distinct styles to create a new identity.
Today, fashion designs from the country sell extremely well in various parts of the world, including Hollywood and London. They have also inspired creatives to develop distinct styles, as opposed to the past, when there were more similarities than differences.
Events have also made it easier for fashion designers to break out of the local market and experiment with new ways to express their culture by fusing it with cultures from other countries. For example, it aided in breaking the dark color monotony that has centered on blacks and grays for many years. A new generation of Georgian fashion innovators is more inspired than ever before, which can only help to propel the local industry forward, making it an even larger behemoth in the Eastern European region.
Georgians have always been known for their distinct style and elegance, in addition to their underlying fashion vigor. Aside from the fast-paced fashion world, Georgian designers have fought to preserve their traditions while also experimenting with new ideas. With the attention to detail that goes into every successful Georgian trend, it’s easy to see why Tbilisi is known as the fashion capital of Eastern Europe. Besides, if you’re looking for a cultural melting pot, there’s no better place to go than Georgia, where East meets West.
Georgian fashion weeks continue to inspire and support other economic sectors, including the hospitality industry, which must embrace elegance in order to attract a fashion-conscious market every fashion week.This article was written by guest author Victoria Janashvili, a popular fashion blogger from Georgia, bringing Georgian fashion culture to the rest of the world.