Designers haven’t had it easy this year. With most young talent designing in a vacuum (i.e. their bedroom) deprived of human contact like the rest of us, in and out of lockdowns with no hope of a physical show at the end but left with little choice other than to showcase their designs through a virtual one, least to say, it certainly hasn’t been easy. Albeit, despite not having the power to change the now but only the future, Tbilisi’s young rising designers are keen to keep Mercedes-Benz Tbilisi Fashion week alive; using it to highlight the country’s broader cultural and creative scenes. Refusing to admit defeat in the face of Covid-19, Tbilisi has followed the footsteps of other fashions weeks by staging a digital show this year in the Georgian capital.
‘In times of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the new reality we are living in, the new digital experience serves as a meeting spot for designers. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi teamed up with talented, young Georgian film director Luka Nakashidze and journalist Tamar Meskhi, created a series of short films with Georgian designers and artists, where they talk about their creativity and highlight important topics’, reads the statement of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.
Tbilisi’s designers have been slowly but surely building momentum since the city’s fashion week debuted five years ago this year in 2015. Having started with only 35 international guests then, Tbilisi fashion week now hosts over 100 people including Net-a-Porter buyers, who now sell some of the country’s best fashion talents including, Matériel, Situationist, George Keburia, Ingorokva and Lado Bokuchava.
Available to view online only from 19 November to 22 November on https://mbfwtbilisi.online/, the platform offers one-off multimedia content from backstage including interviews, designer diaries, virtual showrooms and workshops.
To celebrate Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, SHOWstudio takes a look at some of the emerging designers behind this year’s S/S 21 collections.
If you think you may recognise the work of up and coming designer, Aka Prodiashvili, you probably have as his designs have already been seen in Vogue, Dazed, Re-Edition and worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and Venezuelan singer Arca. Having started his career as a stylist 10 years ago when he was just 15, Prodiashvili debuted his first collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with his S/S 19 collection and went on to be featured in Dazed 100 most influential people of 2019 just before he showed his S/S 20 collection last year.
For his newest S/S 21 collection, Prodiashvili centres around the idea of queer culture, exploring drag queen aesthetics, and mixing them with black comedy and sci-fi fantasy. What once were voluptuous dresses are now cut into body-conscious silhouettes, bottom-heavy wide-leg pants are balanced with fitted bra tops both designed in latex which have been mixed with the label’s signature floral capes, inspired by the theatrics of dressing up and drag culture. Joining fashion’s most successful past and present designers in pushing the boundaries of masculinity, Prodiashvili’s collection is a complete gender-blurring interpretation of society.
Like, Aka Prodiashvili, the Situationist founder, Irakli Rusadze, also started working in fashion when he was just 15. Situationist dissects the concept of clothes made for the body and instead looks towards the idea of designing clothes for a character; urging people to step back and re-evaluate the importance of design and what our clothes really say about us. Paying homage to the true beauty of unique and individual craftmanship, Situationist’s design approach is to have each item cut and sewn by one person - leaving a signature on a unique label. The idea is to represent the people that make the clothes rather than just the designers—dedicating appreciation towards the needle-workers and pattern cutters who spend hours bringing the clothes to life.
Considering the monstrous effect caused by the Coronavirus, Situationist decided to dedicate their S/S 21 collection to previous collections; revisiting their past and appreciation for craft. The brand have decided to revive their previous works and reimagine them through changing construction methods yet using original techniques.
There’s not one but three designers at the heart of the brand, Reckless and they’re all an incredible 19 years old: Anka Koiava, Liza Kajrishvili and Masu Mtsariashvili. All coming from slightly different creative backgrounds such as, modelling, painting and photography, the young threesome have an edge that not many others can relate to; differing opinion and multiple perspectives.
With Covid-19 causing people to rethink the old system and start again, Reckless have decided to focus around an escapist theme for their S/S 21 collection; to escape from clichés, traditions and outdated values. The collection pays homage to school life in the post-soviet country by including a series of loosely styled box-cut and oversized school shirts, soft cotton crew-cut t-shirts and bucket hats – longing for school routine and fighting against a system of education rooted in the Soviet Union fighting against diversity and creativity.
New to the schedule this season is the creative director Tiko Paksashvili behind the Tbilisi-based label, Materiel. Paksashvili’s first collection for the brand evolves from the ongoing conversation between geometric and architectural forms and the modern, independent woman. To celebrate womanhood, Paksashvili has made sure to bring back iconic Materiel silhouettes that are rooted in a minimalist approach towards femininity.
Her debut collection for the brand sees an array of organza and silk printed scarfs resting on masculine shoulder cuts, balanced out with cinched waists paying homage to the original Donna Karan woman and the power dressing trend of the eighties.