From September 2 to 5, we travelled to the Hungarian capital to attend the tenth edition of the Budapest Central European Fashion Week. An event that has become an essential point on the industry map in which, on this occasion, a total of twenty-four brands presented their latest collections to the thousands of people who attended this season. It is worth noting the presence not only of local designers but also of Polish and Ukrainian creatives, these ones now revealing their work in different fashion weeks in Europe as a result of the war that is shaking their country. An important boost that has been possible thanks to the Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency, the fundamental engine of the platform.
Anyone who has visited Budapest already knows that we are talking about one of the most spectacular cities in Europe. In addition to having several places considered World Heritage Sites, the city attracts almost five million tourists each year, who are surprised by the uniqueness of its architecture and art. And of course its leisure offer and its incredible ruin pubs. Within the creative range that the Hungarian capital offers us, fashion could not be missing. Budapest Central European Fashion Week has been promoting national and international talent for years, bringing press and buyers from the five continents to discover the value of its participants first-hand and making the city a hive of creativity for several days twice a year.

In this latest edition, the tenth in its history, the organization acknowledges having exceeded its expectations. The work of the Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency (HFDA), an organization founded in 2018 to support every actor in the fashion and design industry in an efficient and structured way, has an effect and translates into very positive results. All this with the indispensable coordination of Zsófia Jakab, CEO of Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency (HFDA); Anita Forintos-Szűcs, deputy CEO; Viktória Tolnai, Marketing and Communications Director, and every one of her team members. From outstanding collections (below we highlight those that have caught our attention the most) to a program of activities and presentations throughout the city. An effective formula that makes fashion not stay in the Museum of Fine Arts, the main venue of the event, moving to different corners of the city.

It is an experience in which the talent of designers, young and established, goes hand in hand with culture, gastronomy and art. And it is that right in the adjoining room of the museum, just ten meters from the stellar location of the shows, an exhibition of the French painter Matisse was hosted. One more sample of the synchrony of different cultural disciplines that Budapest Central European Fashion Week defends. Now it's the designers' turn, so we’re selecting those collections that have pleasantly surprised us the most.


We could see the brand led by Eszter Áron, one of the best fashion ambassadors in the country since its foundation exactly ten years ago, in Copenhagen just a month and a half ago. There it presented its inaugural runway show, showcasing its Spring/Summer 2023 collection during the Danish capital's official bi-annual fashion week. But far from being enough to reveal their novelties in what is the epicentre of Nordic style, they decided to participate in Budapest Central European Fashion Week, demonstrating an intact connection with their roots.
Aeron, a brand founded in Hungary which makes timelessness its best ally, achieves a perfect balance between design and functionality. And the result is a knitwear-led collection of best-in-class staples that over time expands in range. Its aesthetic draws from minimalism while being easily retractable, but on this occasion, it acquires important notes of colour that invite optimism and hope. Exploring different techniques each season, their garments are designed for all body types. A collection that cannot be faulted, accompanied by an efficient and decisive communication team, makes it one of the essential brands of this edition.
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I would dare to say that all of us present left with a very good impression after the Gudu show, a brand that is not unknown to many. The Ukrainian brand founded in Kyiv in 2015 had already consolidated its presence on the fashion scene at Ukrainian Fashion Week – we highlighted its Fall/Winter 2020 collection when we saw it there for the first time. Now that the tense situation in the country prevents the celebration of its event, one of the longest-running in European fashion and which we attended for the last time in September 2021, they are now joining forces with BCEFW and HFDA to unveil their work in Budapest.
A collection that reconnects with the DNA of the brand that the clientele and the press liked so much, leaving aside the palette of bright and intense colours that we could see in the previous months, and refocuses on what the designer calls his mute, “a blue-blooded punk.” Championing female empowerment and the confidence that garments turned into a second skin can give to those who wear them, their Spring/Summer 2023 collection returned to the jackets around which they built the entire collection. Black becomes the protagonist par excellence in a job in which everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail, and in which we perceive how the creative projects an exercise in introspection. “The last six months have shown that being honest with yourself is the most important thing,” adds the designer. “This collection is about that.”
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“I always wanted to live and create in Budapest as this is the city that constantly inspires me and also where I grew up and my family is,” replied Nanushka founder Sandra Sador when we interviewed her at METAL in 2019. Her hometown has always been very present in her work, one of the most celebrated in national fashion and possibly the one that has achieved the greatest projection beyond borders in recent years. Their half a million followers on Instagram, their conquest of New York or London and their presence in some of the most important department stores in the world such as Selfridges and MyTheresa are good examples of this. But possibly the formula for their success has more to do with the coherence of the message and the construction of a solid aesthetic.
More than fifteen years guarantee the trajectory of Nanushka, a womenswear, menswear and accessories brand founded in 2006. Now they present Analogy, their Resort 2023 collection, which opts for communicating a refreshing acceptance of ‘flaws’ and definitively annihilates gender barriers. “Now we're celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Imperfection is present throughout nature, except it's defined simply as existence. Analogy is a blend of artistic and personal reference points that explore material and design juxtapositions to evoke a sense of authenticity in the wearer,” says its creator, who is dedicated to preserving the Traditional Hungarian needlework and lacework as a testament to heritage.
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Ukrainian Collective Show

Before delving into the five Ukrainian designers who presented their work in the joint show hosted by Budapest Central European Fashion Week, I would like to highlight the impeccable work of the team led by the Head of the Designer Department and the Head of the International Communication Department of Ukrainian Fashion Week. Being both of them present at the parade after having travelled to the Hungarian capital to promote their country's talent and support their creatives in these difficult times, their commitment to enhancing Ukrainian fashion is, together with the support of HFDA and organizations from other countries that are also inviting their designers to participate in their fashion weeks, the engine for their voice to continue to be heard on catwalks around the world.
Starchak, Kir Khartley, Sidletskiy, Lisabo, and Yadviga Netyksha were the five brands invited to participate in the Ukrainian Collective Show. We could see this last one the last time we travelled to Kyiv before the war began, being one of the projects that most caught our attention then. Now, the subjects they address in their collections and the messages they send through their meaningful garments are very different and leave no one indifferent. The names of some of the cities hardest hit by Russian attacks, such as Mariúpol, appear inscribed on the pieces, along with elements such as bullets or fringes of intense red colour. Now more than ever, fashion is a tool to communicate, regardless of origin or language.
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Kata Szegedi

Having presented their collections in Helsinki, Milan, Berlin and Paris, among others, the brand founded by Kata Szegedi and her best friend Daniel Benus 13 years ago is one of the most respected in the Hungarian fashion scene. The independent, Budapest-based label's vision contains innovative, modern design for a cosmopolitan individual who is self-assured and proud of their individual image of her. And that premise is visibly transferred to their clothes, which can be perfectly identified with just a glance. Quite an achievement in a scenario in which many brands are struggling to make some characteristic or style their representative symbol, as the only way to differentiate themselves in the frenetic fashion scene.
Now they present their Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Budapest Central European Fashion Week, once again betting on wearable collages that have become a symbol of their brand. Made of upcycled denim, sheer silk, poplin and organic cotton mixed with sequin textures, the garments passed through as if they were a second skin. A skin that does not hide what is hidden behind it, the body and the human silhouette. Looks for daring people who are not afraid to show themselves as they are. Because all the designers who have presented their collections in this edition of BCEFW seem to have something in common. They all make fashion a powerful vehicle for transmitting messages built on self-love and self-confidence.
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