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Ostblock: Eastern European Designers in Zurich
Freitag, Nov. 19, 2010, 13:15 / Zurich, Switzerland
Founded by Vanja Mesko Russenberger in Zurich, Switzerland in 2005, Ostblock is the destination for discovering up-and-coming design talent from the former Eastern Block. Vanja, who is also a designer herself, comes from humble beginnings, having initially found work as a cleaner to support herself and her passion. In her native Ljubljana, Vanja worked as a selector for the fashion department of the international festival ‘break 21/dvor 21′, a career move that would secure many of the contacts necessary to start her boutique years later.
Housed in a former butcher’s shop, Ostblock exclusively carries Eastern European designers such as Inshade, Rozalb de Mura, Aleksandra Wisniewska, Andreja Bistricic, Je Suis Belle, Alter&Kiss, Dora Mojzes, m*faganel and Nioka among others. “I got the impression that there is quite a big interest in the up-and-coming cultural scene of Eastern Europe. This impression was confirmed by many articles about Eastern European fashion designers in both Swiss and Central European fashion magazines.” Indeed, one can see that there is a great deal of creativity and artistry emerging from the formerly communist cities, though Vanja is quick to point out that the garments she sells are in no way “nostalgic of the Communist-era”, however “they do provide a comprehensive selection that reflects modern Eastern European fashion”.
In addition to her everyday business, Vanja also hosts exhibitions, shows and presentations at Ostblock: “Each season I have a project called ‘Ostblock Opens Borders’. With this project I give two Western labels the possibility to present and sell their collections at Ostblock.” Vanja uses her blog to publicize her events and announce her new wares, and when asked how important communicating with her customers through social media is states: “these days you just have to do it.” When asked who she buys for and how she wants her clients to feel when they visit Ostblock she announced “I expect my customers to be interested in a special and individual style of fashion. [And quite simply], I want them to feel better than before”.
Sophie von Oswald | TribaSpace
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