Ten great brands to discover
Now in its 13th edition, Ljubljana Fashion Week is a brilliant showcase of established and new designers from Slovenia. LJFW is an independent fashion platform, led by the vivacious Melinda Rebrek that aims to put Slovenian fashion on the map. Some regional designers are also exhibiting with brands and designers from Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic and Macedonia all showcasing their collections. And this season there was even a Japanese designer based in London. Here is a selection of the most interesting brands that could stand out on catwalks anywhere and deserve to be better known outside of Slovenia.
1.embrace the future
Tanja Pađan’s wacky unisex streetwear brand is influenced by science fiction, contemporary culture and experimental video. Kiss the Future’s one-of-a-kind fashion pieces are made in small batches, so any purchase is actually a limited-edition work of art. The new collection “The Remains Left After” presented this month at Ljubljana Fashion Week includes clothes reminiscent of the futuristic Mad Max films. An orange gas can was attached to one outfit while binoculars and a slingshot were among the others. A highlight of the collection is a silver bomber jacket, a real showpiece.
2.Made in Anselma
Designer Ana Malalan creates vibrant, timeless and gender-neutral clothing made exclusively from unused vintage materials, making each piece completely unique. Anselma sources unused fabrics from forgotten warehouses, local flea markets and from relatives of retired seamstresses. The quantity of each fabric is limited, most of the time it’s just enough for a unique piece. The prices for this bespoke fashion brand are surprisingly reasonable and the fabric is used with minimal or zero waste and everything is made in their store in Ljubljana.
An established fashion designer in Slovenia, Ana Jelinic’s womenswear would be popular anywhere. This season’s collection includes pretty blue and white cotton dresses, orange and beige dresses with lace sleeves and hems.
Former professor of aesthetics at the lace school of Idrija, Mojca Celin has a penchant for lace. Her brand is created in Slovenia and Idrija’s lace is an important segment of her work. Idrija lace is handcrafted using a traditional artisanal process by twirling and crossing threads, wrapped around specially formed wooden sticks. The Principle brand communicates “who we are, where we come from and who we are”. Lace is skillfully incorporated into cotton garments giving the “Love Butterflies” spring-summer collection a chic contemporary touch. A highlight of the catwalk was the “giant” white dress. The garments are accompanied by sneakers or artpump accessories by Petja Montanez who hand paints designs with professional leather paint that is both scratch and water resistant.
It’s not hard to see why the brilliant PVC designs of sister duo Mateja Lukač and Mia Aleksandra Lukač are popular with a legion of Eastern European artists. Every piece on the catwalk was eye-catching if not downright flamboyant. Contemporary, playful, rebellious and anti-traditional fashion, the looks included fantastic floor-length PVC trench coats in black and red.
The Serbian brand Neo design by Nevena Ivanović is regularly presented at fashion weeks in Belgrade and Ljubljana. The focus is on sustainability with most pieces made from recycled materials or ‘dead’ materials from major global fashion brands. The current “OKINEO” collection is an “all-season” ready-to-wear line in fresh, vibrant colors. The textures are lighter, more airy, smoother and some have a sportswear spirit. All pieces in the collection are made in limited numbers and some are unique.
The woman behind this brand is a professor of textiles and fashion design at the University of Ljubljana and one of the most famous Slovenian designers abroad. The Petja Zorec brand offers bold ready-to-wear collections using traditional textile techniques as well as technological innovations. The 2022 collection exceeds the deadlines of traditional fashion collections. Spring-summer is over. Fall-winter is over. Just clothes for all seasons. White jeans, t-shirt dresses and shirts covered in intricate blue patterns and designs stood out on the catwalk.
Julia Kaja Hrovat uses Slovenian cultural heritage: symbols, textiles and mythology in her designs. The 2022 collection is inspired by Slovenian folk art and the characters from the stories are in the prints. Clothing made from natural materials is complemented by handmade straw hats, sewn by Ana Cajhen, on a machine that is more than a century old. A tablecloth, rug, duvet or curtain is upcycled and becomes a coat or jacket with a beautiful heritage pattern. Each piece is different, has its own color, its own pattern and its own shape. The catwalk looks in white and pink cotton featured dragon motifs, a symbol of Ljubljana.
This sustainable, gender-neutral label makes clothing from natural fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, wool and recycled leather with natural dyeing and minimal to no waste in the production cycle. Dragan Hristov’s fine arts training as a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts – Brera in Milan clearly influenced his designs. This collection primarily features monochromatic, minimalist looks and sculptural silhouettes that reflect today’s gender shifts. Think long shirt dresses with uneven hemlines and 100% Cupro pants with two front pleats, a wide leg silhouette and a loose fit.
Founded in London in 2019 by Jun Nakamura after studying women’s fashion design at Istituto Marangoni, this innovative brand creates streetwear influenced by traditional Japanese culture and precious craftsmanship. Drawing on its past working in the Japanese kimono industry and Tokyo fashion, the brand combines traditional Japanese techniques with modern design. The ancient technique of Shibori is a traditional Japanese craft used mainly for kimono. Artisans join the fabrics with thread by hand and make tiny pieces one by one. JU-NNA works with artisans and innovatively processes Shibori on printed fabrics. The focus is on the 3D shape created by Shibori and the new aesthetic created by combining Shibori patterns and prints.