This morning, I ticked off one of the items that are high up on my bucket list: to have breakfast at Tiffany’s. No, I didn’t fly all the way to New York to munch on a danish and sip a takeaway coffee in front of Tiffany’s flagship store. Instead, I went to Geneva’s very own Tiffany Hotel for the 2013 Edelweiss Showroom, a three-day expo and pop-up store featuring 40 up-and-coming Swiss designers.
The showroom concept is indeed taking the world by storm, and Switzerland is no exception. The great thing about it is that it gives young sustainable brands a platform to catch the eye of industry insiders and fashion lovers, the press and bloggers alike.
For example, the Greenshowroom, a sustainable luxury salon show set up by Jana Keller and Magdalena Schaffrin in 2009, has gone from strength to strength and will be held at the prestigious Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince’s Palace) at the upcoming Berlin Fashion Week in January 2014.
Among my favourite finds at the Edelweiss Showroom were accessories by Swiss sustainable brands Royal Blush and T’as pas l’heure?, as well as pret-à-porter designs by Berenik and Ida Gut (both Zurich-based).
One step aHEAD for Swiss fashion
Earlier in the week, on Thursday, I went to the annual fashion show of HEAD-Geneva (Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design), which offers Bachelors’ and Masters’ programmes in fashion and accessories design. The show, a futuristic défilé accompanied by a lights show and a techno beat, featured 15 collections by Swiss and international designers, including women’s, men’s and children’s wear.
In his foreword to the 2013 fashion show catalogue, Jean-Pierre Greff, HEAD Director, comments coyly on the astonishment of the European fashion industry at “these Swiss who come out of nowhere”, asserting that in just six years since the inaugural défilé, the Geneva school has been put on the global fashion map.
Out of this year’s 15 student collections, one was awarded the HEAD-Bongénie Prize for the most promising young talent. Jérémy Gaillard’s “I heard about a shell who wanted to be a molt” featured anatomical and geometric designs that Leonardo da Vinci would have been proud of. “architectural haute couture” was how the jury described it.
All in all, the 2013 Défilé HEAD was a definite step ahead for cementing HEAD-Geneva’s reputation as one of the most advanced art and design schools in Europe.
Designgut: Swiss sustainable design at its best
At the end of this very busy month, I will cross the Röstigraben – the invisible boundary that separates the French and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland – to speak at the Designgut 2013 conference in Winterthur on 1 November.
I am very excited about getting to know sustainable designers from other parts of this relatively small yet very diverse country. I also look forward to presenting about a shift in perception on fashion and sustainability. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on what I should touch upon in my talk!
To sum up, this week’s most important discovery is: Switzerland has a fashion scene. And a vibrant one at that. With several fashion schools vying for young designers’ attention and plenty of events and pop-up stores to choose from, it seems that Swiss fashion is carving out a nice niche for itself in the European market. Up, up and away!