Last week was Moscow Fashion Week, one of the most highly anticipated dates in the Russian fashion calendar. In the past the event has received much less attention than the fashion weeks of New York, Paris, Milan, and London, however since becoming sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and attracting some of the biggest designers, celebrities and models from all over the world, Moscow fashion week has raised its profile significantly.
One of the reasons for increased coverage has also been the big statements that designers have made in the collections they have showcased throughout the week. Russia has always been a controversial political environment causing many designers to make a political statement in their artistry. This year has been no different, however many of the designers used their catwalk shows to promote important social causes and information in a more positive way.
Red came to Moscow fashion week, with many designers choosing to open their shows with bright red top-to-toe outfits. But this was not just because red is in fashion, the red which graced Moscow’s catwalks was for a good cause. The Russian fashion event collaborated with the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and ten fashion designers to raise awareness of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in Russia and help end the stigma the disease has. The designers who participated in the awareness campaign included menswear designer Artem Shumov, whose opening piece in his SS18 show was a bright red boiler suit and was intended to publicise the Russian AIDs crisis.
Other designers who took part in the campaign included Gala Borzova, whose outfits included bright red dresses with sequins, ruffles and frills. Speaking of this look, Borzova stated “I’ve created this extraordinary bright look to draw attention to HIV/AIDS issues. There is not this ‘risk group’ term any longer, anyone can get this virus. A healthy lifestyle is a trend today, like think not only about your good looks but about your well-being, too. It is important to understand that you can’t be sure of your HIV-status if you don’t take HIV tests consistently. This is what really matters! However, we need to remember that being HIV/AIDS-positive does not rule you out from social life.”
Alexander Shumsky, President of Russian Fashion Council and founder of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Moscow said of the Russian show “All the events that occur at catwalks of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia always receive wide public response both in Russia and worldwide. The involvement of popular fashion designers will deliver the message about the risks of contracting HIV to various age groups”. With over 900,000 people in Russia being HIV positive and someone being affected every 10 minutes by the disease, high profile events such as this are paramount in raising awareness and ending the stigma.