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Adidas collaborations and an abundance of flowers: Exploring Baltic fashion at Riga Fashion Week

By Alicia Reyes Sarmiento


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Iveta Vecmane (Latvia) and Riga Fashion Week Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento // FashionUnited

Latvia's capital became the epicentre of Baltic fashion from April 8 to 11 for the 33rd edition of Riga Fashion Week, bringing together designers from Lithuania, Estonia and, of course, Latvia, and even Uzbekistan and Finland.

The first day's shows were held in the Office Complex Verde, a modern building in the city's business centre, before moving to the RFW Hall in the Hanzas Perons, a former railway warehouse in Riga. The presentations were joined by exhibitions and educational events throughout the city.

The collections presented on the catwalk showed women - as the presentation of men's proposals was extremely limited - taking time and care over their appearance, carefully selecting feminine outfits that often incorporated glitter, metallics, leathers and vinyl in an elegant way, using generally colourful garments that highlighted their cool but enigmatic femininity.

Anna Kruz at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento // FashionUnited

Located a mere 1,000 kilometres away from the conflict that has been raging in Eastern Europe for more than two years, the Baltic countries have a very strong cultural heritage after years of a policy of Russification that profoundly affected the culture and society of the region, an influence that can be seen in the aesthetics of some of the proposals and the predominance of the Russian language in conversations among attendees. A significant part of the population in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia speaks Russian in addition to the language of their region.

Powerful partnerships

Between Adidas Latvia teaming up with the local brand Baé by Katya Shehurina and Stockmann Department Store partnering with the Finnish designer Miia Halmesmaa, collaborations played a leading role in this edition, in which Western ready-to-wear fashion, bridal fashion, swimwear and proposals aimed at conquering markets in the Middle East were also presented.

Adidas x Baé by Katya Shehurina at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento // FashionUnited

The collaboration between Baé and Adidas, which closed the last day, put the finishing touch to the event. It stood out from the rest by gracefully combining the dynamism of the sports giant with the distinctive aesthetics of the Latvian brand, giving shape to a modern and casual proposal.

A model takes off her heels while walking the runway for Adidas x BAÉ by Katya Shehurina en Riga Fashion Week Credits: Mark Litvyakov
Adidas x BAÉ by Katya Shehurina en Riga Fashion Week Credits: Mark Litvyakov

"Our aim is to support the Latvian fashion industry and to showcase the perfect combination of local talent and Stockmann's fashion collections."


Stockmann - which has eight department stores in Finland and the Baltic region - has been incorporating emerging designers into its offer for 10 years, organising pop-up showrooms and supporting them with communication activities.

As part of its collaboration with Riga Fashion Week, established in 2023, and in addition to bringing a brand to the main catwalk, they also organised a pop-up store to bring their collections to customers.

Stockmann X Miia Halmesmaa (Finland) at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Mark Litvyakov

"This season, we are getting closer to our Nordic roots" and "we are proud to present a designer from Finland at Riga Fashion Week for the first time" the company said about Miia Halmesmaa.

Stockmann X Miia Halmesmaa (Finland) at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Mark Litvyakov

Striking for its colourful dresses, Halmesmaa's collection was presented at Riga Fashion Week alongside Stockmann's latest fashion and accessories collections, as well as an amalgamation of everyday products such as oranges and breakfast cereals, and graphics that positively stood out.

When it comes to choosing who to support, Stockmann is guided by two main pillars: the affinity of the designers with the brand's values, such as sustainability or respectful design, and their acceptance among customers, Stockmann told FashionUnited.

The kingdom of peach blossoms

Moel Bosh (Uzbekistan) and backstage at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento // FashionUnited

The designer Moel Bosh, originally from Uzbekistan but now a long-time resident of Latvia, stood out with her collection "Kingdom of Peach Blossoms", which evokes a Mediterranean atmosphere and is distinguished by its meticulous attention to detail, especially in the hand-embroidery that dominates her high-quality garments.

After a somewhat longer than usual runway show, the designer explained to FashionUnited that this is because, true to the timelessness of slow fashion, they only present one collection a year, thus breaking away from the traditional seasons.

Flowers to celebrate spring

Iveta Vecmane's spring/summer 2024 proposal won the attention of the attendees from the moment it was unveiled, many of whom did not hesitate to take pictures as the show began under the veil of rose decorations hanging from the ceiling. Once the show commenced, the collection didn't disappoint either, featuring soothing neutrals contrasted with lush reds.

Iveta Vecmane (Latvia) at Riga Fashion Week Credits: Mark Litvyakov

The link between Latvia and flowers was clear from the very first show after which some attendees lined up on the catwalk itself to congratulate the designers with (perhaps too many) bouquets of flowers.

Designer Anna Kruz (left) at the end of her show at Riga Fashion Week. Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento // FashionUnited

Putting sustainability on the agenda

Sustainability is becoming increasingly relevant in the Baltic's fashion world. More and more designers and brands are adopting ethical and more environmentally friendly practices in the production of garments. This involves the use of organic and recycled materials, as well as responsible manufacturing methods.

Over the past three years the organisation claims to be continuously striving to promote sustainability. An example of this was the "Responsible Fashion Today" panel that opened the week and focused on the ecosystem of the fashion industry.

Seminar and round table "Responsible fashion today". Credits: Riga Fashion Week

Most fashion week participants have embraced slow fashion, prioritising quality over quantity and promoting a more conscious approach to consumption. In addition, almost half have adopted zero waste principles in their design processes and more than half have chosen to produce in Latvia.

The use of sustainable materials, and aspects such as offering sustainable packaging or being cruelty free have also been relevant.

Lack of diversity

Una Berzina (Latvia) at Riga Fashion Week. Credits: Mark Litvyakov

The lack of diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry has been in the spotlight for decades, yet Baltic women are portrayed tall and slim on the catwalk by light skinned and light haired models.

According to EU data, less than 10 percent of the population has an ethnicity other than Latvian, Russian, Belarusian or Ukrainian.

FashionUnited was invited by the Baltic Fashion Federation to attend the event.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.ES. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

Riga Fashion Week