Associate Arts Editor
Before we begin talking about Estonian fashion, let's first clarify where Estonia is located and a bit of its history. Smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined, Estonia resides in Eastern Europe between Latvia and Russia, near the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. For centuries, what now constitutes Estonia, was ruled by the Danes, Swedes, Germans, and Russians. It wasn't until 1918 that Estonia gained its independence. However, in 1940, the USSR forcibly integrated Estonia into its socialist state. With the Soviet Union collapse in 1991 and the removal of Russian soldiers in 1994, Estonia regained its independence.
So what does Estonia's geographical location and history have to do with fashion? Well, both of these elements have influenced the development of its fashion industry. It's recent liberation from a communist state and the disenfranchise of its small fashion industry have limited the number of fashion designers visible to the global fashion community.
Estonian fashion, once known as an underground outlet of creativity, is now a public display of "spicy fashion" that has the European fashion powerhouses talking. Many of Estonia's neighbors are intrigued by the local designers fusion of traditional Estonian culture with modern aesthetics.
The Estonian fashion industry promotes their local designers' vision of presenting their "wildest fashion fantasies" to the mainstream. They are edgy and nüüd (Estonian for "new and trendy"), bringing a bit of Slavic eastern flare with contemporary designs.
In the future, do you believe Estonia's capital, Tallinn, will be the next fashion capital of the world? Let us know what you think.