Russian Fashion Week: Interview With Martyn Roberts

Sightseeing in Moscow
Just before the show

Martyn and the panel at the Practicum: British Fashion event, as part of British Day at Russian Fashion Week

Now back from Russia and laden with all the gossip from Fashion Week, Fiona Anderson caught up with Fashion Scout’s Martyn Roberts to get his thoughts on the Russian fashion industry, the talent and, most importantly, the clothes!

FA: Tell me about Practicum: British Fashion and why you were keen to get involved?
MR: I was so excited when the British Council asked me to go to Moscow as I would get to scout some new Russian fashion designers and hopefully give some friendly advice. It was organised to promote the British fashion industry and help Russian designers build their businesses. British designers including PPQ, Osman Yousefzada and Eley Kishimoto held catwalk shows, and experts from Central St Martins, Tank, Machine-A and Not Just A Label gave talks and answered questions.

FA: What was your impression of Russian Fashion Week having just been involved in Paris and London Fashion Weeks?
MR: Russian Fashion is still a very new concept so designers are still developing the skills and networks they need to build their businesses. There were some exciting ideas on show, but the designers need a lot more support and advice to help them grow.

FA: Did any exciting new designers catch your eye whilst you were there?
MR: Many of the bigger designers were quite ‘bling’. People who have money there seem to have a lot of money and like showing this. But while I was there I met a lot of new artists and designers who were creating interesting ideas. One who jumps to mind was Masha Reva, who creates an imaginary world around her collections – it reminded me of Peter Jensen.

FA: What kind of support is there for new designers in Russia at the moment? Could a mentoring scheme like Fashion Scout work there?
MR: There is very little support for new designers there. They were so happy with the talks that we gave as nobody else has done this for them before and they are very keen to learn. When I spoke about our mentoring programme they were keen for one to start in Moscow. Does anyone know a company that would sponsor us – I would be more than happy to pop over to Moscow once a month to run mentoring events out there!

FA: Describe the essence of Russian Fashion Week in three words.
MR: Art vs Bling
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