Now in its 13th edition, Ljubljana Fashion Week is a brilliant showcase of Slovenia’s established and fresh designers. LJFW is an independent fashion platform, headed by the vivacious Melinda Rebrek who aims to put Slovenian fashion on the map. Some regional designers show too with brands and designers from Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, BiH, Czech Republic and Macedonia all presenting their collections. And this season, there was even a London-based Japanese designer. Here is a selection of the most interesting brands who could hold their own on catwalks anywhere and deserve to be better known outside of Slovenia.
Tanja Pađan’s wacky unisex streetwear brand is influenced by science fiction, contemporary culture and experimental video. Kiss the Future’s unique fashion pieces are made in small runs so any purchase is in effect a limited edition work of art. The new collection “The Remains Left After” shown this month at Ljubljana Fashion Week includes garments reminiscent of the futuristic Mad Max films. An orange gas can was attached to one outfit while binoculars and a slingshot were part of others. A collection highlight is a silver bomber jacket with hood, a true statement piece.
Designer Ana Malalan creates vibrant, timeless gender-neutral clothing made exclusively from unused vintage materials, making every piece completely unique. Anselma sources dead-stock 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 one-off piece. Prices for this custom made fashion brand are surprisingly reasonable and fabric is used with minimal or zero waste and everything is made in their store in Ljubljana.
A well-established fashion designer in Slovenia, Ana Jelinic’s ready-to-wear womenswear would be popular anywhere. This season’s collection includes pretty cotton dresses in blue and white, orange and tan frocks with lace sleeves and hems.
As a former professor of aesthetics at the lace school in Idrija, Mojca Celin has a fondness for lace. Her brand is created in Slovenia and Idrija lace is an important segment in her work. Idrija lace is handmade using a traditional artisan process by twirling and crossing threads, wound specially formed wooden sticks. The Principle brand communicates “who we are, where we come from and what our identity is.” The lace is cleverly incorporated in cotton garments giving the spring summer collection “Love Butterflies” a chic contemporary feel. A catwalk highlight was the “giant” white dress. Accompanying the clothes are sneakers or accessories from artpump by Petja Montanez who hand paints designs with professional leather paint that are both scratch proof and water resistant.
It’s not difficult to see why the shiny PVC designs of Sister duo Mateja Lukač and Mia Aleksandra Lukač are popular with a legion of Eastern European performers. Every piece on the catwalk was eye-catching if not downright flamboyant. Contemporary, playful, rebellious and anti-traditional fashion, looks included fantastic floor length PVC trenchcoats in black and red.
Serbian brand Neo design by Nevena Ivanović shows regularly at Belgrade and Ljubljana fashion weeks. The focus is on sustainability with most pieces made of recycled materials or “dead stock” materials from major world fashion brands. The current “OKINEO” collection is “all-season” ready to wear line featuring fresh and vibrant colors. Textures are lighter, airier, smoother and some have a sportswear feel. All pieces from the collection are made in limited numbers and some are unique.
The woman behind this brand is a professor of Textile and Fashion Design, University of Ljubljana, and one of Slovenia’s best known designers abroad. Petja Zorec’s brand features bold, ready-to-wear collections using traditional textile techniques alongside technological innovations. The 2022 collection steps beyond the time frames of traditional fashion collections. No more spring-summer. No more fall-winter. Just clothes for all seasons. White jeans, T-shirt dresses and shirts covered with intricate blue patterns and drawings were standouts on the runway.
Julia Kaja Hrovat uses Slovenia’s cultural heritage: symbols, textiles, and mythology in her designs. The 2022 collection draws inspiration from Slovenian folk art and characters from the stories are in the prints. Clothes made of natural materials are complemented by hand-made straw hats, sewn by Ana Cajhen, on a more than a 100-year- old machine. A tablecloth, rug, duvet, or curtain is upcycled and becomes a coat or jacket with a beautiful heritage pattern. Every single piece is different, has its own color, its own pattern, and shape. Catwalk looks in white and pink cotton featured dragon motifs, the symbol of Ljubljana.
This sustainable, gender neutral label makes garments from natural fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, wool and up-cycled leather with natural dyeing and minimum or no waste in the production cycle. Dragan Hristov’s fine arts background as a graduate at the Academy of Fine Arts – Brera in Milan has clearly influenced his designs. This collection features mostly monochromatic and minimal looks and sculptural silhouettes that reflect the gender shifts of today. Think long shirt dresses with uneven hems and trousers made from 100% Cupro with two front pleats, a wide leg silhouette and loose fit.
Founded in London in 2019 by Jun Nakamura after studying Fashion Design Womenswear at Istituto Marangoni, this innovative brand creates streetwear influenced by traditional Japanese culture and treasured craftsmanship. Drawing on his 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 Japanese traditional handicraft used mainly for kimono. Artisans bind fabrics using a thread by hand and make tiny bits one by one. JU-NNA works with artisans and innovatively processes Shibori onto printed fabrics. The focus is on the 3D shape Shibori creates and the new aesthetics created by combining Shibori patterns and prints.