Cyprus Mail

Get into sartorial groove at Fashion Fair

A few years ago, we had a good thing going here in Cyprus with local designers, photographers, models and fashionistas all enjoying a local Fashion Week. And it was great – not only for those of us who were invited to sit in the f’row, but also for all the local talent – people who got to showcase their skills to an island-wide audience. Alas, the CFW disappeared into the ether, and with it went many a wonderful opportunity for talented local creatives. Until now, that is. Because one local industry luminary is planning to recreate those opportunities – and more – at the end of March with Cyprus’ first professional Fashion Fair…

Well-known stylist, with a portfolio of work across Europe under his belt, Panos Yerolemides has put together an event which is absolutely unmissable for the dedicated follower of fashion. Taking place at Pavilion in Nicosia from March 30 to April 1, the Cyprus Fashion Fair promises to be all that was Fashion Week – and then some… Designers, shops, catwalk shows, workshops and lectures all under one roof, with the aim of promoting the local fashion industry.

Billed as ‘the biggest fashion exhibition in Cyprus’, the fair is modelled on similar events in Europe: the Tranoi show in Paris, Athens’ Fashion Trade Show, and the Pure London event in the UK. “A Fashion Fair is something that’s missing from Cyprus,” explains Panos, who is co-organising the event with venue manager Alexis Michaelides. “Having worked across Europe, I’ve seen what’s out there in terms of promoting regional brands and shops, and we just don’t have an event of a similarly professional calibre here on the island – something that markets our local designers and boutiques.

“Here in Cyprus, there are a great many fashion creatives, and they’re amazing at what they do,” Panos continues. “You see their work in magazines, in photoshoots, and on television, but what’s lacking is one, large expo where they can all come together under one roof to promote what they do – to introduce their work to the others in the industry and to the general public.”

To this end, the Fashion Fair will boast a number of local design talent (over 30 exhibitors at the last count, including well-known creatives such as Anastasia Lardas, Erotikritos, Elena Andreou and Kika Ioannidou), shop owners, artists, stylists, photographers and models. Booths for designers and shops will be set up across the width of the main hall, while a large catwalk will sit centre stage. “We’ve organised three shows a day, showcasing various exhibitors,” Panos reveals. “We’re also offering several workshops with the designers themselves: tutorials and seminars explaining the creative process, an in-depth look at how the fashion industry really works from those who are in the thick of it.

“I think this will be particularly valuable to younger people who are interested in fashion,” he adds. “Anyone who’s ever dreamt of a career in the industry, be they designer, stylist, photographer or model, will be able to draw on the experience of the professional exhibitors. They’ll be meeting the designers themselves, talking about how it all works, finding out how to market and promote themselves, and discovering the difficulties and challenges involved in such a career path. Plus, they’ll have the chance to ask all their questions which – until now – may have gone unanswered!”

Hoping to create an ongoing event, with two iterations per year, organisers see this first fair as “a way to introduce the idea of a professional fashion trade show to Cyprus. We want to take the industry that step further,” says Panos. “This isn’t just a market where you go and buy handmade necklaces, this isn’t hobbies. This is about the professionals, an official fashion trade expo for Cyprus that will, over time, attract buyers from all over the world – a really big event that will echo down the years.”

All in all, it’s a perfect opportunity for anyone lamenting the loss of our local fashion week (or is too young to remember that it ever existed!) to get back into the sartorial groove; a chance to meet local movers and shakers (and possibly snag a coveted designer discount: prices on most items will be reduced for the duration!). Dedicated followers of fashion: diary this now! One day, you’ll be able to say you attended the very first Cyprus Fashion Fair!

The first Cyprus Fashion Fair
From March 30 to April 1, 11am to 8pm each day, at Pavilion, Nicosia. Entrance costs €5, and includes coffee and cocktails. For more information, visit the Facebook page ‘Cyprus Fashion Fair’ or the Instagram account ‘cyfashionfair’

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