Young designers in Russia forgotten and underfunded

Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:23am EDT
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By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Underfunded and lacking encouragement, Russia's young designers say they are struggling to break into the country's fashion circles, which are still ruled by Soviet-era big wigs.

"Fabrics are unavailable, we get minimal material to work with and young designers don't have money," said Aminat Kaaeva, a 26-year old native of Russia's troubled Chechnya region.

At a recent fashion show in Moscow, Kaaeva showed off ankle-length dresses inspired by Middle Eastern designs as part of a show dedicated to eight young designers.

"It's no surprise that the level of our fashion weeks is below the European bar," she told Reuters. The young designers' show was one of almost 50 at the fashion week.

Though Russia has access to Western fabrics, ideas and inspiration made available since the fall of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, its gurus lament a stagnant industry which limps behind its European counterparts such as Milan or Paris.

Top designers like Slava Zaitsev, a 73-year-old Soviet icon, have complained that the government does not give enough funding to new designers, especially to the young.

However some purposely avoid the lure of the West, despite scholarships and more promising audiences.

Female designer-duo -- Moscow students Anastasiya Seregina and Tatiana Reznik -- have taken inspiration from Russia for their latest collection of winter sportswear.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations by Russian designer Maria Rybalchenko during fashion week in Moscow, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin</p>