Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service (VGUES), where SRAS study abroad programs are held in Vladivostok, is a relatively new institution with an ambitious and modern outlook. Cultural events are regularly held, including, occassionally, fashion shows. Most such events are either very inexpensive or free.
Pacific Style Week Fashion Show
By Jordan Bryant
Living there from day to day, it is often difficult to picture that the Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service is a happening place with lots going on – that is, until something like Pacific Style Week comes up.
Being the location of what is arguably the most well-respected school of modeling and design in the Far East, VGUES was the natural host for many of the events that comprised this fashion week, and one that particularly stood out was the дефиле (defilay; fashion show) that took place in the events hall of the Чемпион (Chempion; Champion) gym connected to the university. The very professional show (which was quite surprisingly free and open to the public) took place on a legitimate stark-white catwalk and showcase a full lineup of designers, many of whom were homegrown, a few of whom were even representatives of VGUES’s own design department, and at least one of whom was a critically recognized designer from Moscow. There was also a very wide variety of clothing types showcased, including several children’s lines and a specialized maternity collection.
The event was well-covered by the media, with coverage from all of the major local channels as well cameramen from the national stations. The portion of the hall that was not covered in stage and catwalk was not only hung with chic advertisements and decorated with fashion-forward mannequins, but was also the backdrop for a lively bazaar, as several of the designers presented some of their wares for sale. I myself was struck by the quality of the pieces displayed by one of the VGUES student designers, and purchased several (very reasonably priced) pieces myself!
All in all, the event was a banner one for the university and the city of Vladivostok at large! I had a great time, was very impressed, and actually became quite interested in the fashion scene in Vladivostok. Had I had more time in the city, I certainly would have attended more Style Week events, and when I return to Vladik (as the city is affectionately called), I will most certainly delve deeper into the fashion culture of which I just scraped the surface!
Pygmalion Fashion Show
By Ian Blair
I finally made it to the Underground Theater! The Underground is the theater at the bottom of VSUES and is where all the cultural events of significance happen. I got to see the artistic skill of fashion design and beauty of the Russian Far East. With representation from cities all over the surrounding region of Primorye Kray, this is an experience I recommend to all!
First off, I recommend you dress up. I had been walking around Vladivostok all day (and it had been unpleasantly warm), so I was wearing cargo shorts and a Nike athletic shirt when everyone else was wearing their Sunday best. I was told the cost of admission was 200 rubles, but I ended up talking with a model and she gave me a ticket for free! I was given a seat in the balcony, which was great because I took some nice pictures, though it took me awhile to figure out the ticket said “балкон”.
The show is internationally attended and nearly sold out. There were also guest judges from China and Japan. Like your typical fashion show, models do individual catwalk entrances, then stand in stylistic stances while the rest of their set come out. After everyone finished their individual walks, they all make a line down the catwalk and slyly scurry off to prepare the next set. You’ll hear some excellent remixes of English pop songs while the models walk and you will see some truly beautiful pieces of fashion. I couldn’t really hear the announcers because the mastering was off (music was too loud, microphones were too soft), but there were television screens with the names and artist renders of the fashion sets. I stayed for an hour and a half and saw 56 sets; the show was stilling going strong when I left to eat.
I don’t possess a repertoire to speak about the nuances of fashion, what is “good” and what is “not,” but I can speak about what I thought were strong sets! Disclaimer: Strong sets, in my humble opinion, were sets that possessed an aesthetically pleasing theme, but enough diversity within individual fashion pieces to not commandeer over the rest; essentially, the perfect balance of unique individual pieces complementing the overarching theme set. My favorite (and what seemed like a crowd favorite based on the crowd response) was “Мои ночи прекраснее твоих дней” (My nights are more beautiful than your days). An elegant, all-black set of high fashion dresses. Check them out for yourself!