Mill grinds fashion

Collections by young fashion designers awarded at 24th Republican Fashion Mill Contest of Fashion and Photo

Collections by young fashion designers awarded at 24th Republican Fashion Mill Contest of Fashion and Photo

The show featured diverse genres, techniques and styles, avant-garde trends, and elements of luxury and practicality; the collections awarded were certainly original, although perhaps not to everyone’s taste.

Designer Svetlana Gnedenok, who headed the jury, admits that prints and patterns are currently in vogue, with young designers using hand-painting technique and embroidery which are not always easily replicated on a larger commercial scale.

Young designers’ diverse collections awarded at 24th Republican Fashion Mill Contest of Fashion and Photo, featuring avant-garde, luxurious and practical pieces, as well as fashion as pure art, with designs ready for mass production

Foreign guests praised the talent and mastery on show, especially considering that most entrants were aged around 20 years old. Dzhemal Makhmudov, from the Russian Silhouette Charity Foundation, admitted, “I love what I’ve seen. When I visited the Fashion Mill last, most collections were haute couture; this year, they are far more functional. The level of the competition is definitely being raised, with higher standards. Moreover, there is respect for our national cultural heritage and various hand-made elements. Such skills are often forgotten abroad but Belarus is promoting the trend, which is much to our advantage.”

Among the hand-made articles were fairy-tale style dresses by Gomel’s Sergey Kurokhtin, thick felt and embroidered images by Slutsk’s Oksana Pikhterova, motifs inspired by artist Gustav Klimt, impressive applique prints from Vitebsk’s Maria Lukashuk, hand-embroidered silk clothes for children by Baranovichi’s Polina Khotkovskaya, and complicated models by Minsker Olga Chugueva.

Grodno’s Darya Gaiduk presented a wonderful evening collection for girls, devoting much time to decoration. She tells us, “It took me three months to realise my dreams, with most time devoted to embroidery.”

This year, the Fashion Mill brought together many participants and laureates of past shows: Barbara and Katarina Bylevskaya brought their bright new collection, as did Anna Zhuk, Sergey Drachev, Diana Kozharnovich, Maria Kutsko and Natalia Kostsova. All received awards (some for the second time). Naturally, the prizes brought great pleasure, helping encourage them on their fashion path, rewarding their persistence.

Sponsored by the Education Ministry, the Fashion Mill is unique in being open to all, and offering support to up-and-coming designers free of charge. Nadezhda Vasilchenko, the Director of the National Centre for Children’s and Youth Art (which annually contributes to the Fashion Mill), explains, “Dedication and industry are vital to gaining success in the fashion industry but our Fashion Mill helps young designers become familiar with foreign fashion schools. Successful contestants gain the chance to visit international fashion houses. We are open to anyone whose ideas prove interesting.”

This year, 400 people applied for selection rounds, with 88 reaching the finals. It’s unlikely that all will become great designers but if even a dozen create names for themselves, the event is a true success.

By Irina Ovsepyan
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