Europe has decided to support young creativity by putting in place a programme conceived by MAD Brussels. Guiding designers are seven organisations, one of which is Maisons de Mode, chosen for France. 150 emerging brands have the opportunity to take advantage of United Fashion until 2021.
Launched at the end of 2017, the European programme UNITED FASHION is composed of seven European organisations guiding young fashion designers. These organisations are based in Brussels (MAD Brussels), Antwerp (Flanders DC), Berlin (German Fashion Council), Riga (Baltic Fashion Federation), Skopje (Fashion Week End Skopje), Lisbon (Moda Lisboa), and Lille/Roubaix (Maisons de Mode).
From its beginning, the goal has been to address the realities that confront young designers, be they problems dealing with production, sourcing or distribution in contrast to their larger, more established fashion industry competitors. Launched by MAD Brussels Fashion and Design Platform, this programme is devoted to encouraging “a culture of designers” in Europe, helping young talents become real fashion entrepreneurs, and improving their competitive edge on the international level.
Over a four-year period, United Fashion’s calendar-based programme has given and will continue to give 150 European designers the opportunity to show their collections while gaining knowledge of different markets and developing their skills in the following areas: fashion technology, sustainable fashion, production, technical expertise, and commercial distribution. In concrete terms, this means the organisations take turns hosting each other at major events in their home countries by inviting two or three designers from each of their counterpart organisations to take part. It was through this partnership that Maisons de Mode designers have been invited to Berlin, Skopje and Riga to represent France’s young creativity. This time, it’s Maisons de Mode’s turn to welcome to Lille 14 European designers within the framework of the 48H Maisons de Mode.
For four days, these designers will participate in events, present their collections to buyers in a designer showroom, take part in conferences, and show their work in the Maisons de Mode Fashion Show before an audience of industry professionals. This will help them expand their networks and get an idea of distribution opportunities, the theme chosen for the designers’ stop in France. Next on the programme are Antwerp and Lisbon, before culminating in Brussels.
In July 2018, the Fashion Council Germany hosted the first United Fashion event allowing nine European designers to acquaint themselves with the German market as well as to familiarise themselves with questions linked to sustainability and fashion tech. The labels invited were able to show their collections over four days at the Premium trade show and they could also take part in conferences and workshops. At the end of this trip, they were also able to meet two consultants who advised them on how to approach positioning themselves on German market, working on the theme of small production and limited editions.
Philippe Périssé and Daniel Essa were chosen to represent France at this edition.
In October 2018, 14 designers were chosen by the Baltic Fashion Federation to take part in Riga Fashion Week as part of United Fashion. Immediately on arrival in the Latvia capital, they were treated to the official opening night featuring fashion shows and performances. The following three days were filled with meeting people and exchanging knowledge and experiences through conferences and workshops on brand identity. There was also as showroom open to buyers as well as the general public coming to attend fashion shows staged for the event.
Maisons de Mode was represented by the Gamme Blanche brand which, as a result of their participation here, is now sold at Bold Concept Store, the largest designer concept store in Riga.
It was then the turn of Sköpje, the capital of North Macedonia, to welcome the United Fashion project for Sköpje Fashion Weekend in March 2019. More than 30 designers (half of whom were chosen by the European project) came together for this four-day event. This time, the designers were familiarised with problems linked to craftsmanship and production, such as the Balkan Basin, which is surrounded by factories producing textiles. Designers were also able to visit businesses and meet local professionals to discuss the possibility of producing in countries on the outskirts of Europe. They were also able to present their collections during the opening fashion show and in a B2B showroom.
Two designers represented France and Maisons de Mode at this event: Oh Suzy! and Hanfaz, a frequent participant in the Marché des Mode.
United Fashion supports designers by helping to resolve their day-to-day problems with support and guidance of partners within the project: Mad Brussels, Baltic Fashion Federation, Fashion Council Germany, Fashion Weekend Sköpje, Moda Lisboa and Maisons de Mode.