The Moscow Practicum: British Fashion crew in Red Square. All photography by Amelia Gregory. (unless I am in the pic that is)
Just over a week ago I travelled to Moscow with the British Council to talk to a group of young fashion designers from across Europe as part of a educational program called Practicum: British Fashion. I travelled from the UK with Toby Meadows, pilule who offers advice to fashion designers with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, sales and with Janine Passley, approved an expert in buying and sustainability practices for EI8HT who consults for ASOS.
With Toby Meadows, Janine Passley and Michael Salac.
It was the first time that I have flown in nearly three years. R/H the label travelled from Finland by train to reduce their carbon footprint, but unfortunately it was just that little bit too far for me to do the same…
With Janine Passley and Clare Lopeman
It’s the second time I’ve been to Moscow: the first time having been in 2007 when I went there to discover up and coming creatives for issue 8 of Amelia’s Magazine. It takes under 5 hours to fly there, which seems remarkably close for a culture that is so very different from our own.
Practicum: British Fashion 2011 was put together by Evgenia Gerasimova, seen here introducing the programme.
Kristian Steinberg gives us his pitch.
Toby Meadows in front of a giant plastic bag sculpture in the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.
Michael Salac of Blow PR joined us the next day, as did Clare Lopeman, a fashion designer and head of fashion at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Practicum: British Fashion took place in a wonderful old industrial complex known as the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, a huge hall that was built in 1926 as a bus garage and that now houses exhibitions, a cafe, lecture halls and a fantastic bookshop.
Moscow’s The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.
We ate a lot of canapes!
Together we made up a hopefully non scary panel of “experts” who listened to short pitches from the designers, who came from Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia. We then offered our opinions and advice on how to improve their businesses – in my case this invariably meant encouraging sustainable practice and prompting them to improve their online presence. The next day it was our turn to lecture on our expert subjects, in my case, How to produce good promotional material that will attract editorial coverage in magazines, and how to promote your brand successfully on social media. Just some of my favourite subjects!
Practicum: British Fashion lecture with Michael Salac
Hede Kerstin Luik from the British Council in Estonia
I like teaching and lecturing so I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it was lovely that so many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how inspired they were. I took loads of postcards with me and they all got taken which I take as a good sign!
But what was undoubtedly the most brilliant part of the whole experience was the opportunity to meet lots of wonderfully talented people who are doing really interesting things in their own countries. Sitting at my computer all day every day I sometimes forget that I am very much a people person at heart, and I enjoy hanging out with other people. As is often the case at these kind of events some of the most important networking was done outside of official hours, when we were chatting at the hotel bar or exploring the extremely expensive rooftop bar at the Radisson Hotel which is housed in one of Moscow’s famous Seven Sisters – laughing as we all squished into the tiny lift to zoom up to the 29th floor, and then coming straight back down again when we discovered how expensive it was.
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square
The incredibly fancy Radisson toilets…
We also got the opportunity to attend one of the many Russian Fashion Weeks, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, for which the British Council had flown over Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East to showcase three of her star designers: Marios Schwab, Louise Gray and James Long.
At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, sponsored by, ahem, Tupperware.
Partying after fashion week shenanigans.
I’ll be writing up that experience in a separate blog post. In the meantime here are a bunch of pictures from my time in Moscow… fun times indeed. As a result it looks as though I will be attending Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland in Lodz in early May 2011. Thankyou so much Evgenia Gerasimova and the British Council!
Soldiers in Red Square.
Giant Dior advertising.
My legs in the lift.
Michael of Blow and Emilia of R/H
Lovely knitwear in the shop at the Solyanka nightclub.
Lots of Russian dolls
Toby Meadows on the Metro
Michael Salac and Janine Passley on the Metro
Enjoying an EXTREMELY expensive Cherry Pepper cocktail – like a meal in one!
- British Fashion Designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011: Marios Schwab
- British Fashion Designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011: James Long
- Russian Fashion: RGataullina and Poustovit at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011
- London Fashion Week A/W 2010: Long Live McQueen
- R/H Label, fashion design from Finland: meet Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi