In recent months there have been several fashion events in Romania that have attracted the attention of the fashion professionals and the local media. Some were organised in the spirit of environmental responsibility, and all had at least one moment that focused on the importance of sustainability.
UADFASHIONSHOW 2023 – dedicated to sustainability and critique of consumerism
Sustainability, recycling and upcycling marked, as its characteristic feature, the end of term event of the Fashion Department UAD (University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca). The BA and MA collections presented during UADFASHIONSHOW had – at the level of creative and technical processes – a responsible and interdisciplinary approach. These concepts were most clearly evident in the MA capsule collections, which were made from deadstock fabrics and upcycled pieces sponsored as part of an institutional practice project by one of Romania’s leading brands, irina schrotter. Deadstock materials are scraps or materials left unused due to overproduction, which many consider to be waste and which end up in landfills or are burned. Due to sustainability reasons, their use has become a popular practice, reducing the environmental pollution of the fashion industry’s.
The UADFASHIONSHOW 2023 can be described as a fashion event with social criticism, which through the concepts addressed in the presented BA and MA collections, through the use of deadstock materials and the choice of location, became a manifesto against consumerism. This event dedicated to the graduates of the Fashion Department was held in an alternative space: in the Interlevel Parking of a shopping centre in Cluj-Napoca (Iulius Mall), which was transformed into a creative moodboard thanks to the complex installations of the visual artist Lecturer PhD Daniel Popescu.
UAD’s Fashion Department has been organising fashion events dedicated to its graduates for almost three decades, providing visibility for students and the University. After a break of three seasons (2020-2022) these events have been resumed “under a new name (UADFADHIONSHOW), structure and programme, relevant to the current context”.
Fashion shows and visibility of young designers at national level
These fashion events provide visibility for clothing collections, therefore they are essential in the work of recognized designers, and especially in the work of young professionals. That’s why most Romanian universities with study programs in the field of Fashion Design organise such events every year, giving graduates national visibility. This year, alongside UAD’s landmark event, renowned journalists and influencers/bloggers followed the fashion events organised by UNARTE (National University of Arts in Bucharest) and UVT (The Western University of Timișoara). Both events featured collections that raise awareness of the importance of sustainability. Given the latest FEA-VEE research, fashion graduates’ and young designers’ concern is not surprising: most of them consider sustainability an important issue; survey respondents – students and professors at fashion universities – say they focus on acquiring digital and green skills.
Several major fashion events are organised in Romania, which ensure the presence of fashion graduates/young designers on different platforms.
At the Romanian Creative Week (RCW) in Iasi, traditionally organized at the end of May, within the Innovative Fashion Platform (IFP) section, graduates and young designers can present their latest collections, or even their first collections made after graduation to the general public. IFP – also aiming to build a “responsible future of the fashion industry in Romania” – covers the costs of young designers’ participation in the fashion show (including logistics, group of models, professional hair and make-up, communication & PR). As these are essential expenses, relieving the newcomers to the fashion market of these costs is a considerable help. This platform, thanks to partnerships made with universities with study programs in the field of Fashion Design, also includes the promotion of their students in the final years.
Similar to RCW, the FEERIC Fashion Week in Sibiu (usually held in July) and Transilvania Fashion Festival in Cluj-Napoca (held in September) support young designers/fashion graduates by relieving them of the costs of participation and ensuring visibility in front of an expert audience.
These initiatives are essential in training the next generation of fashion designers, as they help young people understand the fashion system, the needs of the industry and the fashion market. Besides, they offer the possibility of integrating young designers into the textile industry/production.
Fashion university education in Romania
In Romania there are 6 universities that provide accredited study programs in the field of Fashion Design: National University of Arts in Bucharest, University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, “George Enescu” National University of Arts Iaşi, The Western University of Timișoara, University of Oradea, “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad. So far, none of them have included sustainability-related subjects in their curricula, but according to the FEA-VEE project’s research, activities in Fashion Design training are related to digitisation and sustainability.
Fashion students’ collections presented at various Romanian fashion events and diverse cultural/academic initiatives prove that there is an openness towards a more sustainable fashion in Romania too. Universities with fashion specialisations, and the fashion/textile industry, have a significant role to play in this approach, as in Romania art universities with fashion degree programmes are the responsible stakeholders for educational issues in the field of fashion design.
Fashion students’ collections presented at various Romanian fashion events and diverse cultural/academic initiatives prove that there is an openness towards more sustainable fashion in Romania too. Universities with fashion specialisations, and the fashion/textile industry, have a significant role to play in this approach, as in Romania art universities with fashion degree programmes are the responsible stakeholders for educational issues in the field of fashion design.
Designer: Nagy Klaudia / photo credit: Raluca Ciornea / Hair: GETT’s Salon / Make-up coordinated by Angela Kis / Models: First Models / Collection supported by irina schrotter.