Fashion weeks are highly anticipated all over the globe. They are occasions to pay close attention to what designers have to propose and communicate. The glamour and elegance of the events usually draw spectators and fashion victims from all around. Buenos Aires has a wide offering of fashion shows, but the most famous is Buenos Aires Fashion Week (BAFWEEK).
The first BAFWEEK took place in March 2001, with the purpose of showing Argentina's design identity to the world. The recruitment criteria were creative and artisanal work and the event was a success. British editor Isabella Blow, one of the international guests, applauded enthusiastically from the first row and fell in love with Pablo Ramírez’s collection inspired by Tango music. It also gained recognition and continuity over the years, standing out as a privileged space for clothing and accessories’ author design.
In 2015, the Autumn-Winter season show was skipped due to a restructuring in its organization. “It is really important for us to promote this project because we’re convinced that Buenos Aires should be part of the international calendar. That’s our goal”, declared Julieta Spina, Contents Director. She added, “Renowned designers, new talents, different styles, commercial labels and fashion referents coexist in our line-up”. So, as you can see, BAFWEEK is not just about which local celebrities attended and what they were wearing at that time.
This year’s first edition was dedicated to the Autumn-Winter 2016 season. It took place between March 1st and 4th, in La Rural fairground, located in Palermo. The schedule included author design labels such as Juana de Arco, Blackmamba, Emilse Benitez, Nous Etudions, Hermanos Estebecorena, Cecilia Gadea, Roma Renom, and Juan Hernández Daels. It also embraced commercial brands like Vitamina, Cher, Prüne, Alló Martinez, Garçon García, Complot and Benito. There was even collaboration between Lee and Jessica Trosman.
In addition to the fashion shows, there was a series of lectures: Science Behind Trends, by WGSN, The Luxury Market, by Marangoni Institute,The Challenge for Argentinean Designers and Brands by the BAFWEEK organization, and a seminar on how to make great strides through online channels by BA Moda. With the chosen topics and lecturers, it was a great opportunity to learn about fashion and the local scene to a greater extent.
The National Museum of Costume History presented an installation called Fashion’s Development as well as a lecture regarding clothing design’s history. There were also showrooms from a variety of local brands, which made it possible for the audience to get in touch with their products.
Before the restructuring, BAFWEEK used to include Semillero UBA in its line-up. This was a contest that allowed senior students of clothing design from Buenos Aires University (UBA) to display their graduation thesis on the runway. Nevertheless, the fashion show has not run out of young blood due to Pasarela BA.
Pasarela BA is an initiative organized by the Metropolitan Center of Design (CMD), part of the Buenos Aires City government. Its aim is to favor the growth of local new designers and bring them support and continuity. It gives them the possibility to show their creations to a larger public and offers them personalized assistance in both product development and business management.
For Autumn-Winter 2016, seventeen designers presented their collections before an interdisciplinary jury, formed by professionals in the fashion business. The contestants had to submit their work as a look-book catalogue or ad campaign. This year's winners were Abre Indumento, Maison Nomade, Chain_García Bello and Talitha IND.
Luz Arpajou and María Laura Leiva are Abre Indumento’s designers. Their brand intends to combine fashion, art and nature from their place of origin, Neuquen province. Colectivo is the name of their collection, which offers a perspective on human life and the cosmos through landscape images.
Maison Nomade is geared towards urban dwellers that look for clothes as both functional pieces and tools to construct their identity. Anabella de las Nieves Bergero created Trascendo as an attraction between opposites—the metropolis and the organic being, joined in geometric forms. She used high-tech textiles such as neoprene and spacer, which are fluid in movement, comfortable and waterproof.
Chain_García Bello was created by Lucía Chain and Juliana García Bello. This is the second time they have been chosen for Pasarela BA and their brand has been rising considerably. They seek their inspiration in daily life, expressing their vision and channelling the national identity. Cálido is about warmth and being inside one’s home, so they used cotton and constructive resources from bedding and linens: elastics, mattress gear, matelassé, embroideries, heat-sealed techniques, and a neutral color palette.
Last but not least, Talitha IND, created by Cecilia Hernández, made its third walk on the runway. She enjoys experimenting with molds, taking ludic and surreal elements as her central axis. Her collection, Escafandra articulada, consists of the reinterpretation of scuba divers' suit transformations during the early twentieth century. Hernández relied on new materials and techniques. For instance, engraved leather garments, laser-cut diving suit silhouettes applied on clothes, or hand-woven pieces embellished with wool embroideries.
When thinking about why it is important to be at the fashion shows of BAFWEEK, the first reason is the obvious one: trends. Having a chance to assist in four days of intense runways and then being able to analyze what you have seen, makes it possible to establish patterns behind what the designers have displayed. It is important to be able to read these signs, to know what to expect of the season and to think about possible reactions from consumers.
Another great motive for attendance is the opportunity to soak in information and knowledge at the lectures. For those who see past the clothes, this is an interesting opportunity to hear professionals talk and debate about the state of present local fashion. Besides, it gives you the means to examine the reality and to think about possible scenarios for the future.
Fashion Weeks are genuine demonstrations of talent. On one hand, attending means being a privileged witness of long careers and the evolution of certain designers’ work. On the other hand, beginners are introduced each period, allowing the best of them to set themselves apart and grow in a rough business. As a result, a huge engine of bright ideas and innovation is set in motion twice a year. Therefore, the event can be considered a platform that gives both young and experienced designers a time and place to show their original creations to the world.
A great part of BAFWEEK’s line-up is dedicated to author design. This means that most of what is shown tends to be independent from external influences and trends. Consequently, it is often alleged that this occasion functions as a reflection of Argentinean contemporary fashion. This is why a lot of people choose this particular show and would like to promote this event on an international scale.
Another strategic goal of BAFWEEK is to impel the national fashion industry from its inside by involving all of its professionals: designers, models, stylists, make-up artists, photographers, editors, journalists, textiles manufacturers, consultants, etc. This not only creates jobs and stirs up the industry itself, but is also a sales trigger. It is a fact that fashion shows are seen as an investment by the brands to draw customers to their shops.
Taking everything into account, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to BAFWEEK and to assist and promote it as a window where Argentinean fashion is shown for the entire world to see. BAFWEEK is not just an event to look at beautiful clothes; it is a place to support local workers, industry and commerce.