Last October’s appointment of 35-year-old, Georgia-born Demna Gvasalia as creative director of the Paris-based fashion powerhouse Balenciaga is helping to put the South Caucasus country of Georgia on the international fashion map.
But despite the opening up of international possibilities, some Georgian fashion designers are choosing to stay in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. They are staying because they feel there is greater room to experimentation at home than in the West’s established fashion hubs.
The former Soviet republic’s fashion scene is still embryonic. Yet, Georgian designers, adept at navigating the country’s intricate social and family networks, say they can more easily find their niches in this visual bohemia than in the establishment meccas of London or Paris.
The decision to stay close to home, however, is not always easy.
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Monica Ellena is a Tbilisi-based freelance journalist.