Malta Fashion Week is back tomorrow after a forced hiatus imposed by the pandemic. And while it is four days shorter than usual, it promises to be an exciting and intriguing fashion moment in history despite many setbacks. Founder and executive producer Adrian Mizzi tells Anna Marie Galea about the highs and the lows of organising such a people-based event during an ongoing pandemic.
“Last year, we were able to do very little online,” Adrian Mizzi says with his customary passion.
“Fashion is not something static: it is something living and breathing. It is the atmosphere that helps make the show. It is about seeing the different clothes up close, meeting people and making new friends. It is about being part of something with a vibrant, beating heart. It’s also about creating a vibe and this can never be translated online.”
As excited as he sounds when speaking about what Fashion Week means to him, Mizzi openly admits that this year’s road has been a hard one fraught with obstacles, many of which he feels could have been avoided with better communication and planning.
I know of designers who wanted to take part but felt that it would be too financially taxing
“I have always tried my best to stay very positive for my team and will continue to do so but I am not happy with the way things have been handled by the Health Department. It makes absolutely no sense to me that people can have weddings for 300 guests and that they do not even need to present a vaccine certificate while the entertainment industry has been crucified,” he says.
“It feels very much like a two weights, two measures situation to me. Of course, we must all be careful, I do not think anyone is debating that, but I do not feel that the situation is a fair one. Not only are many of our younger audience not going to be able to attend but, on top of that, we have several people who want to attend who didn’t take their vaccine in the EU and, therefore, won’t be able to come.”
Mizzi also feels that some companies have taken the opportunity to hike their prices up and cripple the industry even further.
“The rental prices of things have gone up and it is truly shocking. My team and I are trying so hard to put up a wonderful event but the amount of stress and energy needed is tenfold more than what I usually invest and everyone who knows me knows that I always give more than a 100 per cent to the things I do.
“Organising events is my entire life but it is upsetting that I must work under such circumstances when I keep seeing beach meet-ups for hundreds. Where is the enforcement? We are either all in this together or we are not. I want the same rights for my sector as everyone else. We can’t impose one thing on one group of people and not on another.”
Speaking about the future of the fashion industry, he is deeply concerned about the direction in which things have gone.
“I know of designers who wanted to take part but felt that it would be too financially taxing. The inconsistency and lack of planning have choked many in this sector, yet I am grateful that we could procure some government funding and still hold the shows.
“I will continue to do my best to make sure that this year is as showstopping as ever. It will be different yet unique and elegant – perhaps our most creative offering yet! I am very proud of both my team as well as the designers.”
A sneak peek of what to expect from some of the designers
Much-awaited, Blakkript’s debut is one that will be followed by many of the island’s fashion lovers. Entitled Shadows and Silhouettes, Jeremy Vassallo promises that his pieces will bring together the perfect balance of minimalism and boldness. Intent on immersing the viewer in a nocturnal world, Vassallo used quality fabrics which he has come across on his trips to Paris and Italy to put together a unique collection that is big on luxury and attention to detail. Expect to see bomber jackets in silk-blend Italian velvets and biker jackets in embossed croc leather.
JAY earned a place in Malta Fashion Week after an extremely promising burst onto the local fashion scene in 2019. Dedicated to his late grandfather, CARMELO will not only explore the aspects of pain and despair that dotted his grandfather’s life journey but will also focus on the bright and lively character of the subject. Working on the collection alone for a year, JAY has not only injected his collection with feeling but he has said that CARMELO is his boldest, brightest collection to date.
Charles & Ron
Needing no introduction, Charles & Ron are titans of the local scene and have also garnered a growing number of international fans. Their first time showing at Malta Fashion Week in the last few years, GOIA promises to be a literal tapestry of colour. From velvet to jacquard to mikado to brushed cotton fabrics, this autumn/winter collection promises to be nothing short of an opulent ride through a rich part of Malta’s history.
A household name for his attention-grabbing streetwear pieces, Parascandalo’s TRIP collection is a journey from underwater to land and ends with the nightlife that Malta is particularly renowned for. Inspired by Malta but not constrained by the direct symbolism usually relating to it, Parascandalo seeks to rework the Malta motif in a new, vibrant and not immediately recognisable way. Always seeking to grow and innovate, TRIP promises to offer Parascandalo’s most ironically nationalistic collection yet.
Other designers showing at Malta Fashion Week 2021 include Yana’s Jewellery, Eversince, Ritienne Zammit, Fiona Couture and Gagliardi. For a detailed programme, visit www.fashionweek.com.mt.
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