Fashion is an industry that seemingly never stops. There are only two seasons per year and yet there seems to be a constant output from luxury houses from all over the United States and Europe. But in the background, there are some emerging fashion markets that you may have never considered. They might not make it into Vogue or Elle, but there are so many fashion events that still deserve your attention beyond New York and London. Here are five fashion events full of talent that you’ve probably never heard of.
Beginning in 2012, the Barbados International Fashion Festival is sort of a cross between a fashion week and a trade show. It features fashion talent from all over the Caribbean showing off their skills in runway shows, workshops, and trade exhibitions. Unlike your typical fashion week, the Barbados International Fashion Festival is not separated by the type of collection. This means that you’re able to see womenswear, menswear, bridal and resort collections all in one place. The 2019 festival showcased tons of beautiful designs in bright, eye-catching colors and prints with light and breezy fabrics that just make you want to pack your bags and run off to live there! While doing some research on Barbadian designers, I stumbled upon this festival which put me in contact with some amazing designers that I’m still obsessed with to this day. If you’re looking for great pieces to add to your closet, Fluorescent Black and Tialani Luxuries are just two brands among the treasure trove of talent exhibited at this festival. This one is pretty accessible as far as price-point goes so if you’re looking to gain some skills, the workshops here are a great place to start. Even if you won’t find yourself in Barbados anytime soon, this one still deserves a follow on Instagram. These designers really bring it and it’ll freshen up your feed and provide some inspiration.
Out of all the diverse, multicultural cities people usually associate with fashion, Buenos Aires doesn’t get its fair share of credit for its rich history or influences on fashion. All the design talent that fills the boutiques in Palermo Soho have a variety of cultural inspiration to choose from, whether it be from the Polish immigrants in the 40s or the Spanish colonists from centuries ago. What results is a rich and kaleidoscopic fashion landscape that even Anna Wintour can’t help but keep an eye on. In addition to its amazing textiles, Argentina is also the world’s fifth-largest producer of leather goods, so this show is fantastic if you’re looking for new accessories. Last season featured some pared-down minimalism along with bold prints and 1940s silhouettes that were absolutely gorgeous. There’s something for everybody here and it’s definitely worth checking out. Matías Hidalgo has some especially amazing pieces if you’re looking to add a quirky and bright vibe to your wardrobe.
One of the newest entrants to the industry, Windhoek, Namibia had its first fashion week in 2016. Five years later it’s still making a splash with talent from all over the African continent. According to co-founder Luis Manana, the event was founded to give Namibian designers a platform for their work closer to home since they’re normally forced to showcase in other countries. Judging by the resulting creations and the ever-growing list of designers, it’s working like a charm. Established and emerging Namibian talent in every niche from women’s formalwear to suiting to men’s lingerie have gotten their start thanks to Windhoek fashion week. If you want a prime example of Namibian talent, check out Ingo Shanyenge
This small event which showcases only 16 designers might seem too small to be of note, but you’d be sorely mistaken to cast it aside. There have only been two Zanzibar fashion weeks so far, but based on the gallery, future editions will continue to brighten modern closets with beautiful pieces from a burgeoning luxury market. In this day and age, it’s so important to support smaller fashion businesses and give them platforms to showcase their work. If you want to support a new fashion event like Zanzibar fashion week, you can support its designers directly or become a sponsor. You can read about all 16 of the designers featured on the website, all of whom do amazing work that would look wonderful in a spring or summer wardrobe.
Not where you might expect the fashion capital of Brazil to be, but just as fabulous as Rio, this fashion week has been turning out talent since you were still in your grunge phase. São Paulo fashion week is generally considered one of the most prominent fashion events in Latin America, lurking just behind the likes of Paris and Milan. When it’s the dead of winter here in the US and you’re desperate for a pop of color, São Paulo is a breath of fresh air. Brands like Osklen and Lilly Sarti showcase great uses of texture, color, structure and even smart fabrics that deserve to be recognized. Keep an eye on this one, and you might just meet some designers you’ll fall in love with.