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http://www.vblush.com by Simon Dames (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laYdaTV0uwo)
Gone is the black and white.
If you are of a certain vintage, you may still think Poland lives in pre-colour Television days. But forget the grainy 1980s TV images of Warsaw and Gdansk, that place may as well be a different country - a different continent. Poland's Poznan is the place for the sea of colour, which was its Poznan Fashion fair spring 2019.
Three floors of buzz in the city's huge Congress Cente, at the Poznan International Fair, this magnificent old city played host once again to the new dynamic buzzing industry, which Poland has become.
At the entrance of the first morning, one is struck by the intense investment put into footwear. Dozens of Polish home companies vying for their place in the crowded market, there is everything from Artiker to Aspena - and that's just the "A"s!
Evento to Levante, it is still a long march through the shoe displays. Maybe the biggest compliment to Poland's shoe industry is - if you are in the UK and thinking of opening up a footwear company in Poland, then don't!
The market is full, it would seem. for instance, holding court at the welcoming signs for the fashion fair is none-other than the cutting-edge footwear of Caprice. The German-based high range foot-fashionwear is known as a leader in its field for a reason. With a huge showing of their shoewears, Caprice set the fashion tone for the business zone.
Boots, trainers, brogues and more boots, the range reflects the wide variety of weather experiences. Simply put, the boots are needed for the heavy snow and the brogues and high-heels are needed for the business AND the pleasure.
But it's not all about what's at the end of the leg. Fason plays it straight with its name. As Mr Ronseal would say, Fason does what it says on the tin. Magazine intense, it holds to the coffee table splendour of the hard copy publishing tradition.
But for those who are into the fashion industry - but not so much into fashion - then there is the Alphashot XL.
To understand the Alphashot, give a moment's thought to all the preparation required for your photoshoots. It's not just what is being photgraphed that coints but where. And of course there is always a time limit - for minutes matter. But with this device you basically have your own mini-Hollywood film set in your own business backyard. For the conspiracy theorists, it's still someway from faking a moon landing but will place your products any where on planet earth.
Underwear for all bodies to the hiking clothing for everbody, the flow of people, chat and ideas was constant. And then, as if matching the fast moving fast chatting momentum of the visitors, the escalators to the next floor seemed to be sucking professsionals up to the next level line an industrial human-devouring factory line. The sound from one floor up was electric and enticing.
For anyone, professional or personal, who loves the independent experts rubbing shoulders as they hold their display areas like a lion tamer commanding their cage, the first floor was the place to be.
Of course it was not just about Winter and warmth which kept the crowds stimulated and satisfied. With nothing under wraps in the new prosperous Poland, lingerie-galore and beach-special added spice to the range of designs.
On display were the Poland's best, such as Krajewski, Pieta, Syntex and Regina flying big with their smalls. Also on display were Per Te, Estera, AR Fashion, Bratex and Cerber. The lingerie and underwear reminding again that looking good is not just an outdoor pursuit. You name it - it was there.
Although an unusual expertise was found in the area of socks! Colourful socks and more colourful socks. A few medical socks. And then a return to even more rainbow socks. But if you have your socks ready for the following days then you'll have no problem making sure you have the right coats to go with it. As with the huge variety of Polish industry footwear - partly due to the huge variety in weather - the same rules apply to coats. But for the male visitors, it was a case of "don't worry", there is something for everyone. For instance, the name Jani Men offers the deluxe brand of overcoats, business coats and leisure, made very smart viewing - even when they were only on standard manequins.
On the upper floor of the seductively named 'Garden City', a ten-person panel is holding court to a crowd of around 500 fashion professionals. With the concentration levels at peak focus, it's clear that those on stage are held in high regard. However, for the international business of language, it is something which the Poznan Fashion show will probably have to look at in the future, as, without an interpretation facility such as English translations, the communication door remains clsoed even though the physical doors are wide open.
With free coffees, teas and cakes, the sugar assisted energy levels are kept ticking over all day. But the sound, while constant, is on low volume. There is a politiness to the Poles, although it's a no-pushover politeness, which makes the Poznan experience a comfortable experience.
With a series of displays, it becomes clear that trade between the two countries is growing. And with such a highly educated and international population, which the Poles have become since the fall of Communism, maybe the Chinese see Poland as the reliable foothold within the 27-strong EU, now that the UK is involved in its long goodbye.
With a fine new motorway all the way from Berlin, as well as to Warsaw and south to Prague, there is no reason for Poznan not to become the European hub of international fashion meetings.
Again it's a case of forget the stereotypes. For so long the country was seen on the edge of Europe. However, not only is Poland right in the centre of the continent, it also acts as the bridge to the Ukraine, Russia, Belorus, to the North East of the EU as well as to the South and South East of the EU.
With the UK's departure from the European Union, Poland becomes politically, as well as geographically, at the centre of the EU. And with the return of many thousands of young Polish families to their native country - along with the confident fashion and textile trade - there is some money on Poland becoming the next economic power house.
As the fashion trade show organiser, Weronika Vytawa, Visitors Communication Division at the Poznan International Fair, said: "We now have over 200 visitors to the Congress, in which they have discussions regarding fashion."
Weronika was delighted that all the hard preparations had been "a huge success". She added: "The fair and congress is only for professionals, for ocntacts, improve knowledge about fashion business and fashion sector, contracts and making business. We have many professionals from Germany, Czech Republic, Russia and even Japan."
With visitors also arriving from China, it is clear Poznan is not just about Poland
However, weronika is practical when it comes to the dramatically changing market. Ten years ago the Polish market was awash with small independent traders. But now, one decade on, the multi-conglomerate businesses have woken up to the expertise in Poland, and at times it seems they have gobbled up the Polish small to medium businesses. Weronika neither says it is good or bad, she simply says "this is our life."
She states clearly that now "only strong brands are able to be recognised by normal people."
She states that Poland "now has many young fashion designers, with very creative and very interesting projects. Selling on the internet, these businesses are very small and very expensive. In fact they are more like the arts."
Acknowledging the difficulties of challenging China's cost cutting effects of producing goods at a much cheaper rate, Weronika believes the Polish angle on the market is still alive, the production still requires the top level design. Simply put, China could produce an unending suppy of goods but if they are designed poorly then no one will want to buy them and no one in China will then be able to make them."
That's where Polish expertise comes in.
With the business event Cat Walk fashion display lighting up and setting the beat for the coming fashion trends, the seductively beautiful voice and face of Anna Karwan holds the dining throngs of industry leaders in the palm of her famous hand.
The one-time Voice of Poland winner, the now mainstream Anna captures the arena time and time again as the Cat Walk displays the latest from the likes of Impression, Boca, Lidia Kalita, Yvon Kaskada, Feria, Wine & Fashion, Marselini and Semper.
As the fair comes to an end, there is as everywhere, that lull of the party and the excitement having been spent. It's another success until the next get together this coming August 2019. But by which time, Poland may be in a very different place with the re-configured world of politics and fashion.
Either way, the fast motorway from Berlin to Poznan will still be running, and the innovative ideas will still be flowing, be whatever is in fashion in August 2019.