This year, the fashion week featuring the spring-summer collections of 2023 was held once again in the impressive building of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, where more than thirty brands presented their collections designed for the next season. This time the Hungarian brands shared the spotlight with their Ukrainian counterparts.
Between 9 August and 4 September, the Museum of Fine Arts was once again bustling with the trendiest event of the year: the Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency organized the Budapest Central European Fashion Week for the tenth time. The opportunity is of great importance to the representatives of the industry, as in the last nine fashion weeks, one hundred and thirty Hungarian and regional fashion brands have been featured on nearly two hundred catwalk shows, which attracted a total of twenty thousand people.
“We are proud to organize Budapest Central European Fashion Week for the tenth time, where we help fashion companies not only to perform well in the Hungarian field but also to enter the international market. We place immense emphasis on building international relations and cooperation opportunities, as well as on sales promotion so that our designers can present themselves from season to season to more and stronger professional and business partners in order to increase the economic results of their businesses,” said Anita Forintos-Szűcs, Deputy of CEO at HFDA.
The Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency’s stated goal is to make Budapest the fashion center of the region, so after the previous successes, several foreign brands presented their creations on the runway of the Museum of Fine Arts. However, this year, like most art institutions in the world, the organizers paid special attention to Ukraine, so they worked closely with the Ukrainian Fashion Week, where local designers have been presenting the following season’s trends every February and September since 1997. The agency also helped the country financially: the HFDA has been giving the money from ticket sales to the Hungarian Interchurch Aid for years, which will use it specifically for their Ukraine-aimed program this year.
Seven Ukrainian fashion designers’ 23 SS collections walked the runway in Budapest. Lisabo often works with animal patterns and textures, which are not used as raw materials but as inspiration, as the designer Alina Luchynska’s core approach is ethics and closeness to nature. The new pieces bear the collective name Bloom and are inspired by the folk tradition of Ivan Kupala, which celebrates the relationship between man and nature.
Kyrylo Kharitontsev, the founder of Kir Khartley, grew up in the now Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, and although he founded his brand in Kyiv, his designs still pulsate with South Ukrainian seaside energies. Not surprisingly, next year’s collection is called Freedom and starts with the primary experience that losses only further increase the desire for a better life in people’s hearts. This is symbolized by the bright red that appears between beige, black, white, and grey colors. With her debut, Yadviga Netyksha immediately won the most promising young talent award at the Ukrainian Fashion Week in 2016. With a background in psychology, she has always been fascinated by the personalities behind silhouettes. The greatest inspirations for her brand are characters such as Forrest Gump and Rain Man. The 2023 Red Is Love pieces are based on Ukrainian traditions and feature a modern interpretation of the national costume, the vyshyvanka shirt. Starchak defines its style as intellectual fashion, and its founder, Maria Starchak, likes to provoke with her clothes. Her designs for next year’s collection were determined by fear, just like the everyday lives of Ukrainian citizens, so they became bluntly honest, with plenty of military references.
GUDU was founded by Lasha Mdinaradze, originally of Georgian descent, and defines his ideal audience as “blue-blooded punk.” Accordingly, dramatic lines and sculptural creations characterize the brand’s next season, focusing on jackets. Darja Donezz is quite the opposite: she tries to appeal to the senses with her feminine, romantic style. Her new clothes were most influenced by the Greek heroines of ancient mythologies. Igor Sidletskiy has been passionate about fashion design since childhood and held his first real catwalk show in Kyiv in 2020. Like many of the above brands, he places great emphasis on complementing modern designs with Ukrainian artisan traditions.