Brussels fashion show presents young Czech and Belgian fashion designers

A joint show presenting the youngest generation of fashion designers from Czechia and Belgium is due to take place in Brussels on Saturday. The event, called WE’RE NEXT BRUSSELS, is part of a day dedicated to Czech culture and is organised by Czech Centre Brussels. I asked its director, Jitka Pánek Jurková, to tell me more about it:

Jitka Pánek Jurková | Photo: Viktor Daněk,  Czech Radio

“The idea really is to help and promote young Czech fashion abroad. We have been working with this team in the past five years that I spent in Brussels organizing one activity every year that hopefully helped young Czech fashion or product designers to establish themselves in Brussels and in Belgium.

“This year, since it’s the Czech presidency of the Council of the EU, we decided to go slightly bigger than usual and we opted for a fashion show. We partnered up with We’re Next Prague and we decided not to present only Czech fashion designers, since that wouldn’t be that much of a dialogue or international event, but bring together Czech, Belgian, and other European fashion designers.”

As far as I know this is not the first WE’RE NEXT fashion show. That is a project that started already in 2016. Who is behind the project?

“Exactly. WE’RE NEXT PRAGUE is a project that was started by Lukáš Spilka, a Czech fashion designer who is, very conveniently for us, both an alumni of the University of Arts and Design in Prague, UMPRUM, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

“So he is very well rooted in the fashion themes in both Czechia and Belgium and every year, he organizes the WE’RE NEXT fashion show in Prague, that is mostly featuring young fashion designers, either students or fresh alumni of the best fashion schools in Europe.”

Can you mention at least some of the Czech fashion designers that are taking place in Saturday’s show?

“Of course. We were really glad that we were able to pursue collaboration with some of the regional fashion incubators, so we went beyond Prague. We do have several names from UMPRUM, such as Linda von Drasek and a few others, including Lukáš Spilka.

“However, we also are working with schools in Brno, for instance with the Ecotextile School, or with the Sutnarka Academy in Plzneň and the Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín. So we are happy that we could bring a large spectrum of Czech schools to Brussels.”

Can you also tell us more about the venue, Gare Maritime, which really looks stunning?

“I think the venue is a perfect match. It’s a beautiful former freight train station that has been just recently reconstructed. Since it’s a new Brussels venue, their programme is not yet that full and they have been very forthcoming with their conditions for collaboration.

Gare Maritime | Photo: Viktor Daněk,  Czech Radio

“Not only were they very generous with providing us with a large enough space for the fashion show, which turned out to be important because at this moment we have received over 1,000 registrations, but they also let us organize a DJ session after the fashion show.

“They are also collaborating with the City of Prague on an exhibition on art in public space that is taking place there right now. The Czech artist Tomáš Moravec created a site-specific sculpture for Gare Maritime that comes alive in augmented reality.

“So there really is a very complex programme that we are preparing for tomorrow with our partners and I believe that the venue plays a very important part in that.”

Author: Ruth Fraňková
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