In these last two decades, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia has seen many international designers present their collections – among many others, Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott and Jenny Packham. However, it’s been a while since the organization shifted its focus towards more independent, emerging names. “Now, we understand that we don’t need celebrity designers”, Shumsky affirms. “We need international designers from the same generation as Russian designers so they understand that they’re not different from others”, he continues. “It’s the same bunch of new fashion around the world. The only things that differ are talent and creativity, so designers should sharpen their skills to gain exposure”, he concludes.
That’s why, among many other projects, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia launched the Global Talents contest last season, which this time received more than one hundred applications from all over the world. An international jury is responsible for choosing the ten best that will be presenting their collections in the runway – this time, the jury included industry heavyweights like Sara Sozzani Maino, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Vogue Italy and Head of Vogue Talents, or Lucien Pagès, founder of his communication agency that works with the likes of Jacquemus. This season, the winners of the Global Talents programme came from nine different countries, including Belgium, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Switzerland. “We sponsor their visit here: we pay for the travel, accommodation, the models, and we stage their show”, explains Shumsky. So, despite many of the designers are putting their first runway show together for the first time, they can do it in very professional conditions.
One of them is 21-year-old Spanish designer Alvaro Mars, who presented a beautiful and rather shocking collection focusing on upcycling, layering and out of proportion clothes. Or Swedish designer Linus Leonardsson, who presented his graduate collection. However, there were a bit more experienced designers as well, like New York-based Chinese creative Leaf Xia, whose pop, colourful and super fun collection wowed the audience because of its mix of original prints and comfortable silhouettes and fabrics; or MLTV Clothing, a Swedish brand that conquered the audience’s hearts because of its minimalism, simplicity and understated elegance.