While election-year battles over American manufacturing, or lack thereof, rage all around, European textile and clothing production has been on the rise. And with it has come a growing wave of new Eastern European fashion — after all, if the infrastructure for making the clothes is there, why not the creative side, too?
LPP, for instance, is Poland’s answer to Spain’s Inditex, which owns Zara. The LPP brand Reserved now has 100 stores in Russia, with more on the way. Meanwhile, in one example of design specifically following available infrastructure, the Hungarian label Attitude was born after the owner of a clothing assembly firm, Kezmu, teamed up with a designer to get into the creative side of the industry. That line is currently only marketed in Hungary.
There is one Polish line, La Mania, available in the West — its designer, Joanna Przetakiewicz, worked for Karl Lagerfeld, and her collection is sold at Harrods. (Oh, and the fashion-forward brand’s ecommerce even offers a virtual dressing room.) As for further expansion, however, she’s aiming at Japanese, Chinese, and of course, Russian markets.
We love La Mania’s feminine tailoring, but for the most part, it’s hard to get a hold of these brands in the West. These new designers are targeting less saturated markets (like their own), along with Russia and China. As of now we’ll spring for Nanushka, which is based in Hungary but ships to the U.S. (and it’s sold at New York’s Pixie Market and represented by Showroom Seven). But here’s hoping that as its former Eastern Bloc brethren begin thriving at home, they soon follow the brand into western markets.