VISION is a biannual trade show exhibiting brands, mainly from Europe, that are looking to garner attention in the fashion market. Filled with unique takes on fashion and the future of, it’s a great eye opener as to what is NOT happening in the industry – change.
Each year, we see the same. Same styles, silhouettes and patterns taken from decades before, re-manufactured and called “inventive”. We “ooo” and “aww” over it, call it the “best collection yet” so many times we wind up sounding like drones, repeating the same line time and time again. VISION, obviously, forced me to remove my blinders and see what a portion of the world has to offer.
Trine Lindegaard, alongside her sidekick Maya Barfoed put together VISION with a new theme every season, this year being optimism. From the brightly colored matching attire staff were outfitted in, to the graffiti mural being spray-painted on site by Mikael Brandrup and Robin Dollah, attendees could feel the good vibes. But when I later spoke with these event curators, they too acknowledged lack of newness, even in Denmark. Even for shoots people use the same photographer, stylist, hair designer and make-up artist to a point this team is coined “The Fashion Mafia”. Sounds funny at first, but when you step back and think about it, it’s scary to know that the next Fields, McGrath or Demarchelier is being turned down for a gig he/she is highly qualified for.
And that’s where VISION plays a major role. VISION allows for all outside vendors, editors, stylists, etc to see what’s new and fresh and utilize them. Give celebs a new designer to strut the red carpet in. Give us a new brand that hasn’t overstayed their welcome. Give readers something to talk about, dammit!
One designer, caught my eye from stations away, Łukasz Jemioł. Łukasz has an eye for design that I’ve sort of seen before, but not necessarily executed in the same manner. He takes quality material that some of the luxury houses use and creates quality product. The difference is that some of his pieces, like jackets, miniskirts and dresses, blend 5 different materials to create one substance. Other items are so versatile in looks that depending on how you wear it, will look like two or three different items of clothing. But the most astonishing thing is that he is well recognized in Poland. He has current faces of Dior walking his shows, high-profile model besties on speed dial, and eight stores in Poland yet somehow he can’t crack the market anywhere stateside.
Some are thinking maybe he hasn’t tried. Maybe he hasn’t pushed hard enough. But with all the editions of popular magazines in circulation worldwide, you’re telling me that no one has seen his work? Give me a break.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all chatter about change and the lack thereof. It was about the realization of what VISION really was. Though in an area where minimalism is key and buyers are scared of the unknown, VISION strives to open that Pandora’s Box and show case what Scandinavia is missing out on. No matter how long it takes.
Other exhibitors that really stood out included Afrodane. Designed by a young woman from Cote d’Ivoire, Sara Kobli, she not only creates her own original pieces but can reconstruct your favorite dresses as well as create your own ideas for you. Utilizing native African patterns, Sara currently has a small collection of handbags, dresses and on trend jewelry pieces for every occasion that through proper support, will surely blossom into something larger.
But on the opposite spectrum you have Torben Olsen of Rosemunde. An established brand started with a “basics” concept, grown into a larger collection that is not only wearable, but for the everyday lifestyle. Refusing to bite off more than they can chew, Rosemunde stayed to true a niche of making basics beautiful, of strong quality and easy to wear.
And though VISION is just a platform for these designers to be seen, this year they held the Designer’s Nest Awards – slightly similar to the CFDA awards, but on a smaller scale, allowing for esteemed Nordic graduate students to showcase their talents for a cash prize and exhibition space in one (1) VISION Fair. Supported by HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, it’s a continual effort to bring new designers to the forefront. Like this year’s winner, Mathilde Maalouf. A Kolding School of Design graduate who is also being nominated for a MUUSE x VOGUE Talents Award.
Photo set 1, 2 and 7 taken with Ricoh’s PENTAX K-50.