A fashion exchange of local, global talent

Following the fifth edition of Greek fashion week last March, a new fashion effort hopes to make its own mark next week. The Athens Xclusive Designers Week aims to establish itself as an international fair with a view to export Greek fashion, with a first edition scheduled to take place at the Megaron Ethniki Asfalistiki in Athens from May 3 to May 6. Do not to confuse the two events. Greek fashion week, known as the Athens Collections, is organized twice a year by the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association at Zappeion Hall. The Athens Xclusive Designers Week, on the other hand, is looking to establish itself as a fashion fair presenting both local and international designers, in which the fashion exchange includes foreign designers and brands showing in Athens and local talent traveling to other countries to participate in other fashion weeks. «The Athens Xclusive Designers Week is an international fashion event. The idea behind it is to promote Greek designers abroad through exclusive collaborations with other organizations, such as Russian Fashion Week, for instance,» said organizer Ioanna Darakli to Kathimerini English Edition. It is also the new face of Moda Athena, a fashion event which took place in 2004 and 2005. Benefiting from the fashion exchange so far have been designers such as Angelos Frentzos, who participated in the Russian Fashion Week, and Yiannis Karitsiotis, who took part in the last edition of the Bucharest Fashion Week. Meanwhile, ongoing collaborations with foreign fashion weeks include Mexico and South Africa, among other countries. While next week’s event brings to Athens prominent fashion names such as Italy’s Krizia, for instance, it appears weak on the Greek side. Though a number of local designers are participating – including strong names such as Christoforos Kotentos – the Athens Xclusive Designers Week will not be presenting the work of any of the 44 members of the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association. «I don’t see the two events as being competitive,» noted Darakli. «We are open to possible collaborations with the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association; we are not competing with each other.» The Athens Xclusive Designers Week hopes to attract its own audience, with buyers traveling from France, Dubai and Italy. On the media front, the organizers are focusing their energies on foreign press based in Greece. Next week’s event will give catwalk access to a group of aspiring fashion designers, all graduates of the AKTO School of Art and Design who will present two group shows. Meanwhile, University of Thessaloniki students will present an installation on the opening day. On the local creative level, participating designers include Kotentos, Marcello Nyktas, Timis Parissis, Miltos, the Alexander Collection by Natalie Mignone, Yiannis Karitsiotis, Elena Vorrea, Melina Pispa and Laskaris. Besides Krizia, international presence includes Roberta Di Camerino, Russia’s Masha Sharoeva and Cyprus’s Mitsu-Mitsu. Besides apparel, the four-day event includes catwalk presentations by luxury brands such as Mont Blanc and watch specialist Franck Muller. Can a small, relative newcomer on the international fashion week agenda like Greece attract members of the global fashion industry four times a year? The Hellenic Fashion Designers Association and the organizers of Athens Xclusive Designers Week might deem it necessary to explore the possibility of finding some common ground.

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