Why You Should Keep an Eye on Georgian Designers

Circle your calendars: from October 18th to 21st, Georgia will be on the fashion map. In fact, Tbilisi Fashion Week (TFW) will offer the very best of Georgian fashion design, therewith giving a voice to talented Georgian designers and fashion influencers that have an international potential. 

Launched in 2009, TFW, the initiative of model and entrepreneur Tako Chkheidze, is a bi-annual fashion week event which aims to bring young Georgian designers to the forefront of the local and regional fashion scene, while introducing them to professionals of the international fashion industry.

Next to local all-stars – such as the brands Elenny, Ani Datukishvili, and Keti Chkhikvadze – that will hit the runway this season once again, Tako Chkheidze's aim is to not only promote established Georgian fashion designers and brands, but to discover young, up-and-coming talents and to give them a platform to showcase their very first collections with the "NEW TALENTS competition" that regularly takes place on the first day of the fashion week. Ahead of the upcoming competition, NOWFASHION sat down with Tatuka Machavariani and Mariam Turmanidze, two of the most promising young designers discovered during last edition, and discussed the meanings behind their debut collections and hope for the future of fashion in Georgia.

Tatuka Machavariani

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

On her current Fall/Winter 2018 collection

"I wanted to merge different styles, to combine sports and classical styles, and to have a color palette that focuses on soothing pastels and dark hues. The theme of my collection is based on the notion of "duality" and emotions. As you can see, most of my pieces feature printed faces that represent different emotions – on the light pink fabric, a face with a negative expression is featured and on the blue one you can see a happy looking face. With this concept and duality of emotions, I wanted to express the idea of emotional balance, where disturbing negative thoughts can be outweighed by joy. It sounds a bit schizophrenic, but it isn't (laughs)! In the end, it's all about human nature and the way our surroundings and society shape us."

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

On drawing inspiration from Georgia's society 

"I get my inspiration from observing people, from observing and analyzing what happens in our society, really. Georgian people are facing a lot of challenges today: there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor, and we are all struggling with a lot of corruption in this country. And yet, those very people affected by all of this, myself included, don't lose hope in our society and continue to move on. I wanted to reflect this duality within my collection, both the sadness and the joy of being a young designer and professional in Georgia today. Social awareness is very important for me as a designer."

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

Mariam Turmanidze

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

On the relationship between mental illness and fashion 

"Clearly, most of the people working in the fashion industry know that mental illness is part of a designer's creative process (laughs)! Fashion design is therapeutical to me: it allows me to not only face my fears, but to express them and transform them into something tangible, desirable, and positive – a piece of clothing, for instance. Basically, it's about turning bad energies into good ones. It's a form of creative escapism that allows me to stay sane. My first collection is an expression of all the fears that I have faced in my life so far – and by completing this debut collection, I was able to get rid of those fears and move on."

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

On her collection's name "Patient 44"

"For some reason, the number 4 was always related to very negative events in my life…bad things happened to me on the 4th of the month or at 4pm, etc. I consider my collection to be an asylum and myself to be the so-called "Patient 44" (smiles) – it's therapeutical to me. The five looks that you saw on the runway are just the beginning: I want to produce 44 looks in total in order to break the vicious circle that has been related to this number throughout my life. Fashion design is a true healing process."

Photo by Adlan Mansri for NOWFASHION.

Follow TFW, and discover the fashion week's updates here.