Supporting and enhancing fashion designers across Europe
Fash­ion Week­end Skop­je — One Wolf

Over­all this was an incred­i­bly valu­able expe­ri­ence in every aspect.”

In March, Unit­ed Fash­ion land­ed in Skop­je for Fash­ion Week­end Skop­je, a filled 4 day event in which 28 design­ers were giv­en the chance to expand their busi­ness, meet local and inter­na­tion­al buy­ers and press, attend work­shops and sem­i­nars, and much more. We asked the Lat­vian brand One Wolf, for whom it was not the first time they par­tic­i­pat­ed in Unit­ed Fash­ion, to share their expe­ri­ences with us. 

Selec­tion

My name is Kat­ri­na Butāne and I am a part of the One Wolf team as a whole­sales man­ag­er. This deci­sion was made because our design­er had to be in Riga where the Riga Fash­ion Week was going on at the very same time. That is also the rea­son why I had to bring the Spring Sum­mer 2019 col­lec­tion for the show­room because our lat­est Autumn Win­ter 2019/2020 col­lec­tion was on the run­way. Hon­est­ly, we were quite con­cerned how the SS col­lec­tion will be per­ceived amongst oth­er AW col­lec­tions but as we did not have anoth­er choice we took a risk and brought SS19

At the end every­thing turned out very well and we received very pos­i­tive feed­back from buy­ers and media in Skop­je. I would like to believe it is because One Wolf designs and aes­thet­ics are not about one sea­son or fash­ion whims – it is made to last, both – qual­i­ty and style wise. This is also one way how we try to keep our col­lec­tions sus­tain­able and slow fash­ioned. On the oth­er hand, maybe it is because we clev­er­ly select­ed heavy den­imwear, jack­ets and coats made of thick cot­ton and just few lighter gar­ments, leav­ing more sum­mer­time part of the col­lec­tion at home.

Riga & Berlin Fash­ion Week

Speak­ing about how we found out about and got the chance to take part in in Fash­ion Week­end Skop­je, I must admit that this was the third time for One Wolf par­tic­i­pat­ing in Unit­ed Fash­ion Project. The first one was in Riga, our home, from 23 to 27 Octo­ber 2018 and the sec­ond was in Berlin from 15 to 17 Jan­u­ary 2019, where we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to show our AW19/20 col­lec­tion in Pre­mi­um Berlin Show­room, take part in Neonyt Con­fer­ence and par­tic­i­pate in extreme­ly valu­able work­shops orga­nized by Fash­ion Coun­cil Germany.

What did we expect from Fash­ion Week­end Skop­je? When we applied, I must say, we did not have any idea, because nobody from our team have been in Mace­do­nia, nor explored any busi­ness pos­si­bil­i­ties there, so we were extreme­ly excit­ed! Already from the appli­ca­tion form we fore­saw that the region is quite strong in pro­duc­tion and we were keen to learn more about this aspect and hope­ful­ly estab­lish help­ful con­tacts in this field. Lat­er, when I received the man­u­al and timetable, I saw that there will be a lot more to be excit­ed for – all the offered oppor­tu­ni­ties – work­shops, pre­sen­ta­tions and fac­to­ry vis­its looked very promising.

When I arrived at the loca­tion of the show­room, I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised how del­i­cate yet urban and well put togeth­er it was. Every design­er had sep­a­rate space pro­vid­ed where they could cre­ate their own lit­tle world intend­ed, all the nec­es­sary help was giv­en to assist set­ting up the booth and brief­ing for the show­room was very pro­fes­sion­alas well as the styling and fit­ting for the fash­ion show where each of the design­ers had a chance to show one full look next evening. The whole show­room looked cohe­sive at the end, yet every­one had a chance to express themselves.

Pro­duc­tion summit

The first thing that gave me some clue about the tex­tile and appar­el indus­try in Balka­ns was the pro­duc­tion sum­mit, where the over­all infor­ma­tion was pre­sent­ed. More detailed insight I got when we vis­it­ed the Oki­tex fac­to­ry in Skop­je, which was impres­sive indeed, because it revealed every step of gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing process start­ing from sketch­es and pat­tern mak­ing till the last fin­ish­ing details which includes very strict qual­i­ty con­trol. Lat­er that day we got the chance to meet fac­to­ry own­ers and find out about pro­duc­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties. As most of the design­ers found out at the end of these meet­ings every­thing comes down to min­i­mum quan­ti­ties that fac­to­ry can pro­duce and the price that design­ers can afford to pay and if both can come to terms then busi­ness can hap­pen. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the design­ers whom I talked to agreed that for fac­to­ry pro­duc­tion the min­i­mum quan­ti­ties for accept­able price or the prices for the amount nec­es­sary where too high. As a part of com­par­a­tive­ly small and up-com­ing brand I can very well relate to them. More­over, I must add that we have quite well pro­duc­tions pos­si­bil­i­ties and con­di­tions at home in Riga, and it would not make sense to add more trans­port costs and cus­toms tax­es as Mace­do­nia is not a part of Euro­pean Union. So – no pro­duc­tion for us in Skop­je, at least for now, but it is worth to know for the pos­si­bil­i­ties in the future.

Moti­va­tion boost

The most valu­able part of all the offered learn­ing expe­ri­ences for me was the Lam­bert and Asso­ciates pre­sen­ta­tion, and I was not the only one who val­ued this infor­ma­tion as extreme­ly use­ful, I would say even cru­cial in order to get any suc­cess in the fash­ion indus­try. For me it was a good remind­ing how impor­tant is to be on top of the buy­ers’ sched­ule and have our tim­ing in order. Basi­cal­ly it is every­thing if we as a brand want to close any prof­itable pur­chase deals, because, no mat­ter how bril­liant the designs are, if we can­not get our col­lec­tion, linesheets, markups, pricelists and com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan on time then there is a small pos­si­bil­i­ty of suc­cess in the plen­ti­ful fash­ion scene at all. Per­son­al­ly, for me this pre­sen­ta­tion was a huge moti­va­tion boost for my direct every­day respon­si­bil­i­ties, and I feel very grate­ful for that.

Press and oth­er contacts

Over­all this was an incred­i­bly valu­able expe­ri­ence in every aspect. One Wolf received the best feed­back from the press and media in the show­room – the project that is already com­plet­ed because of the pres­ence in the show­room is the inter­view with our design­er Agnese Narņic­ka by Luca Imbim­bo in Fuck­ing Young!” mag­a­zine, that you find here. Also, I had a chance to estab­lish valu­able busi­ness con­tacts for the future col­lab­o­ra­tion and meet few part­ners that we are already work­ing with – it is always nice to see friend­ly faces abroad. Not to men­tion all the incred­i­ble design­ers and guys from the orga­niz­ing team which I had a chance to get to know and learn from them – it was tru­ly a plea­sure. As I men­tioned above, the busi­ness sec­tion was cov­ered in a very high lev­el by Lam­bert and Asso­ciates pre­sen­ta­tion and the tech­no­log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties were explained in the small­est detail in the Pro­duc­tion Sum­mit, Fac­to­ry vis­its and B2B meetings.

In con­clu­sion I have to say many thanks for this oppor­tu­ni­ty to all FWSK team who made me feel very wel­come and tak­en care of, to the Unit­ed Fash­ion project for select­ing One Wolf for par­tic­i­pat­ing, and to my won­der­ful One Wolf team who trust­ed me to bring back home all the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble. I feel very grate­ful indeed.

About One Wolf

One Wolf is a uni­sex, streetwear fash­ion brand found­ed on 2012 by Lat­vian design­er Agnese Narņic­ka. Its uni­sex, ready-to-wear col­lec­tions blend func­tion­al­i­ty with wit, intel­li­gence, and asceti­cism, por­tray­ing the design­er’s reflec­tions about the sav­age aes­thet­ics of a con­tem­po­rary urban­ite. Exper­i­ments with con­struc­tions and sil­hou­ettes are an intrin­sic propo­si­tion of the brand, thus break­ing con­ven­tions of gen­ders and cloth­ing, while mix­ing up oppos­ing details and con­trary styles of clas­si­cal, casu­al, and sporty garments. 


Text by Kat­ri­na Butane

Pho­tos FWSK by Ani Dimi Pho­tog­ra­phy & Fash­ion Week­end Skopje

Pho­to One Wolf by Andis Jurjāns