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Moldova-in-Fashion. Welcome to Moldova, a small country in the far east of Europe world-renowned for its excellent wines, unique manufacturing, and traditional artisanal crafts. As a result of these factors, Moldova’s fashion industry has embarked on a journey of sustainable development. And this is it’s only way forward.
Moldova’s tumultuous political past has contributed to the country’s cultural richness. So, by combining and drawing inspiration from a blend of European and Slavic-Asian cultures, Moldovan designers are unique in their couture designs. Certainly, their creations adorn the wearers and mesmerize the onlookers.
The Danger of Fast Fashion
However, Moldovan designers are in danger of focusing on mass production, copying Western styles and trends. And, in the process, cause irremediable social, cultural and ecological damage. In other words, they do that by ignoring the rare arts of local craftsmen and highly skilled seamstresses.
The apparel manufacturing industry in Moldova makes up 5% GDP. It employs more than 27,800 people, with over 90% are women. Thus far, it focuses on providing low paid manufacturing services for overseas fast-fashion brands. In fact, a direction that has indirectly contributed to Moldova’s ongoing migration crisis.
Thankfully, Moldova is stirring the boat in the right direction. To explain, this is achieved through well-placed investments, strategic support, and critical conferences. The latter aim to preserve the country’s rare heritage, eco-friendly stance, and sustainable development in the fashion industry.
Right Expertise, Right Direction
At the centre of this fashion revolution is ZIPhouse – an innovative public-private partnership, driving technology and innovation across the sector. It is funded by USAID, Sweden and UK aid, and managed by the Technical University of Moldova along with APIUS, Moldova’s fashion industry association.
ZIPhouse is a premier platform for fashion acceleration and entrepreneurial development in Moldova. It has put together a dedicated program that supports young designers, startups, academics, businesses, innovators, fashion designers and other creative individuals operating in the apparel and footwear industry.
Part community hub, part training centre and startup accelerator, its flexible infrastructure provides multifunctional co-working spaces, design and fashion accelerator workshops, as well as fashion shows, photoshoots and other related events.
Moreover, the platform provides unique opportunities to enrich knowledge and technical abilities, develop entrepreneurship skills. It also allows you to gain access to production facilities, inspirational resources and industry collaborations. However, Ziphouse’s most powerful medium of nurturing and communicating the country’s pro-sustainable fashion direction is its annual global fashion conference – ‘Moldova-in-Fashion’.
‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ Conference, 2019 Edition
Taking place on 16 November at TEKWILL, str. Studenților 9/11, Chisinau, Moldova, the fourth successful run of ‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ is titled ‘Innovating for Sustainability’. It focuses on innovative concepts, emerging technologies, and out of the box solutions that can create and support a more sustainable fashion industry.
The 2019 conference has an excellent line-up of international speakers and experts in consumer behaviour, sustainable fashion development, innovation and sustainability, 3D design and printing such as:
Ricardo O’ Nascimento – Wearable technology and smart materials designer (UK).
Giovanni Ottonello – Art Director at IED – Istituto Europeo di Design (Italy).
Anna Shoykhet – Computer-Aided Design systems expert (Israel).
Philippe Pourhashemi – Image, Artistic Direction and Communication Coach at MAD Brussels, and Editor at Large at BehindtheBlinds (Belgium).
Geta Rasciuc Gka – Maker of smart baby carriers that improves health (Netherlands).
Nicholas Opopol – CEO & Founder at Fennec&Finch, a one-stop shop to ideate, manufacture and sell new fashion collections (Moldova).
Amnon Shalev – Fashion technology and marketing expert, founder and CEO of virtual fashion prototyping company virtuality.fashion Ltd. (Israel).
Laurenti Arnault – CEO of WTVOX Magazine and Wardrobe of Tomorrow, PhD researcher in consumer behaviour in luxury fashion, and Innovation Lab Founder at Oxford Brookes University (UK).
‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ – How Did We Get Here?
‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ 2018 Edition
The third edition of ‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ Conference had captured spectators’ imagination by including emerging fashion topics. Correspondingly, those included smart garments, wearables, ultra-customisation, and digital fashion systems uncovered by speakers from Holland, Romania, Italy, Dubai, and Ukraine.
Coupled with some of the esteemed speakers attending the 2018 conference were Andrea Galuzzo from Polimoda, Italy; Nicoletta Pezzoli from Instituto Europeo Di Design, Italy; Mirela Bucovicean from Romania; Yana Chervinska and Iana Buchko from Ukraine; and Ricardo O’Nascinmento from Holland.
‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ 2017 Edition
The second edition of ‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ had raised and tackled global issues affecting the business of fashion. This was thanks to a growing pool of experts from France, Italy, Sweden, Estonia, and Ukraine. The topics covered included slow fashion, marketing, sales, exports and development. More technical topics were covered too, e.g. capsule collections development, and automating in fashion.
In addition, some of the international keynote speakers there were Johanna Nilsson from Sweden; Polina Stepanova and Filippo Fanini from Polimoda, Italy; Reivo Kuivjogi from Estonia; Marina Loseva from Ukraine; and Olga Vladimir from France/Moldova.
‘Moldova-in-Fashion’ 2016 Edition
As Ziphouse’s first ‘Moldova-in-Fashion event, it was surprising to see how successful it is. Markedly hailed by local media as a trendsetting fashion industry event, critical to Moldova’s sustainable development, the event was seen as a key source of knowledge sharing, community building, networking, and development.
Indeed, the event has successfully connected people behind the Moldavian fashion scene, like designers, technologists, local marketers and brand developers, with speakers from Nederlans, Italy, Russia, and Belorussia. The speakers included Dmitry Ditchkovsky from Belorussia, Marian Spier from Nederland, Alexander Zaikin from Russia, and Giusy Cannone from Italy.
Moldova-in-Fashion Conference – What Does The Future Bring?
Over the years, Ziphouse has developed vital collaborations with leading international fashion schools like Polimoda, Italy and the Academia di Belle Arti “Aldo Galli”, part of IED Instituto Europeo di Design in Como, Italy.
So, the aim was to design short-term tailored courses on fashion design and fashion management topics and allow Ziphouse to identify Moldova’s emerging fashion talents. Not to mention, it helps them to ‘break the ice’ on the global market.
In fact, thanks to these collaborations, ZIPhouse has uncovered over 80 young fashion designers in Moldova for the ‘Fashion Acceleration Program’. So, with a duration of six months, the program is dedicated to emerging fashion designers and provides intensive support from a team of international experts in design, business, manufacturing.
Coupled with over 35 startups have graduated with great success to this day. Furthermore, 18 of them now showcase at London, and Paris Fashion shows.
‘Fashion Acceleration Program’ – Graduates
‘Constanzia Yurashko’ – the first Moldovan designer to have been selected to showcase at Fashion Scout during the London Fashion Week. In fact, as a premium fashion brand, it uses 100% natural and organic fabrics, leveraging sustainable fashion to grow value-added for Moldova’s light manufacturing industry.
Similarly, ‘MOVE’ is another highly successful graduate of Ziphouse’s Accelerator. It now presents its collections in showrooms at Paris Fashion Week. Undeniably, this unique womenswear brand creates ethereal hand-painted silk garments within the ‘wearable art’ concept.
Last but not least, ‘Lavielace’ and ‘Ciresel’, both transposing rare craftsmanship techniques. Specifically, these include putting Romanian lace and handmade embroidery, inspired by local fairytales, onto natural fabrics.
The 2019 Moldova-in-Fashion conference is organised by ZIPhouse’s Center of Excellence in Design and Technologies at the Technical University of Moldova. Of course, they do that in partnership with the Employers Association of the Light Industry (APIUS). Furthermore, it is also supported by the Competitiveness Project in Moldova. Furthermore, the project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Sweden, as part of Moldova Business Week 2019 in collaboration with the Investment Agency of Moldova.
With this in mind, the team at WTVOX, would like to thank you all for your invaluable support in pushing for a cleaner fashion industry and a better world.
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