There comes a time in your life when it is no longer appropriate to literally shout things from the roof tops. Around the age of about three I believe. So what does one do from then on, when one has news that warrants a good roof top shout? There are various options here, one of which is subtle, effective, and oh so stylish. You dress your shout! Hear me out. If you saw a tall woman wearing red lipstick, mega glittery eye shadow, a “KAPOW!” stand-out maxi-dress, and a turban, would you stop and listen to what she had to say? Yes, me too. So when this woman, whose name is Suzanna Vock, presented her new vision for a fashion festival in Switzerland, I was there, and I listened.
GWAND, for those of you, together with me, who do not know much or indeed anything about it, was a large and rather influential fashion festival in Lucerne. A large, influential fashion festival in Lucerne? I hear you say. Why, indeed. It all started in 1993, when a then 22 year old Suzanna Vock had just graduated from fashion school and was looking for an outlet for her and her fellow students to showcase their wares. As this turned out to be harder than she wanted, she and some friends decided to set up a fashion platform from which she and other up and coming designers could showcase their designs. This platform grew from a one to a two day event, from a small-ish showcase of only Swiss designers to a prestigious award with some serious price money (200,000 CHF for the winner) and some of, if not the world´s, then certainly Europe´s most exciting up and coming design talent.
The GWAND fashion festival did, alas, come to an end in 2003. Suzanna needed a break, as, it would seem, did the Swiss sponsors. In 2018, however, is the GWAND reborn. In the meantime, Suzanna has certainly not been lying on the couch doing nothing. She has had two children who have inspired her future direction. GWAND “reborn” will be different from the original in rather a lot of ways. The primary difference appears directly inspired by her having had children, namely sustainability . GWAND 2.0, will be about sustainable design, sustainable materials and sustainable production. On the GWAND advisory board will be, not only Suzanna, but several renowned and well respected people from the sustainability design community, including designers, models and managers. The general idea behind GWAND remains the same; Swiss and international designers showcase their finest high fashion pieces, however, the big difference is that the process, from design, material, production and distribution, should all be sustainable. (How the level of sustainability will be determined and compared is yet to be revealed).
Although a sustainable fashion festival appears quite the undertaking, Suzanna is not rushing things. Not only has she had 13 years to perfect the concept, the advisory board members are already confirmed and may well be added to, and we, the fashion loving public now have a chance to get behind the scenes of GWAND. From now until the launching date, the 8th of March 2018(!), for price tags between 1,000-50,000 CHF you can buy VIP tickets for the big launch for you and some friends or colleagues, and a fantastic opportunity to mingle and tie some seriously high valued connections in the world of fashion sustainability. The festival will take place in central Switzerland, more exact than that no one knows.
Sustainability within design and clothing manufacture feels very much of the time, and I agree with Suzanna when she says that it is high time that the world receives a fashion festival focussing on transparency within the fashion world.
Watch this space everyone, GWAND is back…