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As a Design and Merchandising major at Drexel, I was intrigued to see what Czech fashion consisted of. I always had this idea that European style was classy and sophisticated, and everyone always looked presentable. Well, after being in Prague for a few weeks, my Prague 20th Century Art and Design teacher informed me the Czech fashion is an oxymoron, meaning that Czech fashion is non-existent. Prague is city full of tourists, and actual locals are hard to come by. Although I have not witnessed the cutting edge fashion I assumed all Europeans possessed, I have stumbled upon my own findings for shopping and authentic fashionable Czech clothing.
My first day in Prague consisted of exploring the city and picking up a few necessities for the next few weeks (soap, towels, dishware etc), and while running these errands I naturally came upon the Czech Republic’s largest mall, the Palladium. The Palladium was recently constructed in 2007, and consists of four levels, boasting over 200 shops and roughly thirty restaurants and cafes. It is located in Náměstí Republiky, and it's easy to get to by taking the Metro. The Palladium has many stores that we have in America, such as Guess, Calvin Klein, and The Body Shop. Other familiar stores include H&M, Lush, Sephora and TOPSHOP. The Palladium is so massive; we have visited a few times and have yet to find time to see everything at once.
Also on the Metro, the Můstek stop offers shopping geared more towards tourists, with large popular chain stores such as The New Yorker, another H&M, Zara and United Colors of Benetton. While these stores are still great and have a lot to offer shoppers, I personally was on the search for apparel that was different and unique, and made by Czech fashion designers.
Last week when I had time to explore, I found two great boutiques, both selling clothing, accessories and jewelry all created by designers that lived in Prague and/or were Czech! Both stores were really unique, and I was happy to find something that was original. The first store is called Leeda, which is a fashion brand created by Czech designers Lucia Trnková and Lucie Kutálková. The boutique carries their clothing line, as well as a few styles of footwear plus an assortment of accessories including earrings, bracelets, headbands and necklaces. The clothing was ready to wear sportswear with a trendy twist, and all the clothing had a bright color palette.
After leaving Leeda, just a few stores down the block I found another great Czech fashion store called Nakoupeno, which carried Czech fashion and jewelry designers. This store was similar to a funky vintage shop, it was strategically cluttered, and one could spend an hour walking around and still not notice everything on display. The clothing sold at Nakoupeno was bit more eccentric than what was Leeda. There were a lot of skirts made of metallic spandex, dresses with a large bubble skirt full of fake sunflower heads (or other flowers), and striped parachute pants. Although I couldn’t picture myself being able to pull off some of these really interesting outfits, I did manage to find a black and crème striped turtleneck dress, with lace trim on the hem and sleeves, and to add a bit a punch, banana appliqué patches around the collar. It’s a great combination of the everyday, with a little something extra. Nakoupena also carried quite a few jewelry lines; all in all, there was something to be found there for everyone.The most prominent ones, in fact, even sit in the first row at New York fashion shows, and get freebies from popular brands. Here in the heart of Europe, it is not quite like that – few individuals in the industry realize the potential of involving bloggers in their PR strategies.
Despite that, there are a few influential youngsters whose readership rises every day. What is their impact on a country like this one, which is widely considered unfashionable? We spoke with two of them to find out.
UNYPRESS: A lot of Czech people who love fashion say that overall, Czech people don’t know how to dress up. It has become sort of a cliché. Is the statement justified, or is the fashion situation better now?
Zuzana Hnídková: Czech people generally do not care so much about clothes. Just l
ook around and you find immediately that for the majority, clothing has only practical significance. Yeah, of course there are exceptions, and the intensity of those is rising. But if we wanted to sum up Czechs as a nation, linking them with the word “fashion” would not be in place. It is rather “beer.”
Lucie Ehrenbergerová: I think it is more like a cliché. As time goes by and options arise, everyone slowly finds their way to distinguish themselves from the rest, or at least get inspired a little bit!
UNYPRESS: Do bloggers get enough spotlight in the Czech fashion industry? What is the next level?
LE: I would say that bloggers are starting to receive attention. Surely it cannot be compared with other countries, but given how slowly everything develops in the Czech Republic, it is definitely a great start. What would be the next level? Perhaps when they start to perceive us as celebrities and we get invited to parties and fashion shows!
ZH: I think it is getting better. Of course it is different compared to Western countries, as Lucie said, where bloggers are recognized as respected fashion icons. But that is because the whole fashion blog thing got here with much delay. We will see what happens in a few years, whether the Czech bloggers will also appear in the front row of fashion shows and design their own collection of shoes. I myself am very curious about this.
I would say that generally, fashion blogs do have a chance to influence people, but only in the sense of inspiring someone to wear a daring combination of clothes, for example. Because if someone does not care about fashion at all, the blog can hardly have any effect on them, as they would not browse it on their own.
What were your blogging beginnings like? Was your readership rising steadily, or did you struggle at first? And what kept you going?
I started blogging over a year ago. At that time, I tried to get noticed mainly by commenting on other blogs. I also used to write my posts in English only, because I thought that Czech would be useless – there were very few Czech blogs and potential Czech readers. But later, with the development of the Czech blogosphere, I began to write in Czech, too. I did not give up English and I’m happy about that, because I have more options in terms of cooperation with various international e-shops and so on.
A good way to raise awareness about your blog is to join different online fashion communities, such as lookbook.nu, where I find new, inspiring bloggers. And from time to time, someone finds me there, too. Then the readership rises pretty sharply. Last time I posted a popular photo, I got 100 new followers a day!
I have been blogging for six years, and it took a lot of effort to get to the point where I am now. I gradually changed the focus of the blog, and the amount of readers has [risen], too. Today I think I have found what I like, and the main interests that I would like to pay attention to in the future.