Code:Mode – put your fashion foot forward

Česká Pozice

If your spring wardrobe could use a little freshening, if you are looking for a glimpse into the Czech fashion scene, or if you wish to see some freestyle circus or take part in a juggling workshop, then this weekend was custom-designed for you. Code:Mode, typically a weekend for fashion designers to presents their wares, is expanding this year to a family friendly indoors-and-out event.

“This year, because of the desire for more personal and intimate meetings and contacts with designers we decided to hold Code:Mode in an apartment house and give more say to the designers for exhibiting and presenting,” Jovanka Vlčková, the Code:Mode project manager, told Czech Position. “We have chosen to do freer presentations of individual artists for more quality, in addition to expanding the accompanying program.”
Code:Mode has typically been held in large open spaces, lending a marketplace feel to the event. This year, they’ve chosen to set-up shop in an apartment building in Karlín. Designers will have more freedom to create a personalized space for their designs while the public can wander through the Art Nouveau building, meeting and interacting with the approximately 70 participating designers. Vlčková says the intimate environment is one reason fashion lovers and designers keep returning year after year.

Putting a face to the dress

“By participating in Code:Mode designers have a huge opportunity to acquaint the public with their work and also to come into personal contact with their fans and potential customers,” she said. MiMi Nguyen Hoang Lan, owner of design label and shop La Femme MiMi, has been participating in Code:Mode since 2006 and agrees.

“Events like this don’t just offer designers the chance to be seen but also offers visitors the chance to see something else, be introduced to good designs, good clothes, good people, good designers,” Lan told Czech Position. “And for me, as a designer, I can show them my work and I can meet other good designers, and also buy good and beautiful clothes!”

La Femme MiMi is known for colorful, whimsical pieces and Lan will be showing her newest collection at Code:Mode this year. “The collection is about spring and summer, a lot of skirts and dresses — colors and black, flowers and strips, as well as a combination of materials like silk and cotton. You won’t find any pants in my collection,” she said. “The collection has a retro Asian feel and it will bring you back to the year 1970.”
It’s not just tops, skirts, dresses and other clothing pieces, but accessories, jewelry, bags, hairpieces and more. And men, don’t worry: there will be things for you as well. Design label youngprimitive, for example.

“Every spring we are preparing new stuff,” Filip Urban, from youngprimitive told Czech Position. “New t-shirt designs for men and new cuts of our women’s clothes. This year we chose a diamond as the symbol for our collection. You can see it everywhere if you look properly.”
Youngprimitive has participated at six Code:Mode events and Urban says he is pleased with the changes organizers have made. “This year, there are fewer brands, an entry fee and we have more time to prepare the showroom,” he said. “They are moving towards fashion design rather than a market and for us it is the right way. Code:Mode is fashion holiday for us.”

Another new element is the curator section. Vlčková explained that bloggers from the blog 11 koček chose 11 Code:Mode particpants to be part of a fashion show happening April 20.

“We wanted someone who would have a broad, but deep enough knowledge of things, someone who knows the local artistic and creative scene, but isn’t a part of it,” she said. This and the outdoor program, which includes music, theatre for children, workshops and lots of food are two new elements included to keep the event fresh and welcoming.

Where are the shoppers?

Many Czech fashion designers bemoan the lack of local understanding for their art, wishing Czechs would be more open to innovation in their wardrobes.
“On the Czech design scene the Czech people are missing,” Lan said. “I have a feeling that people here love shopping in shopping centers more than shopping at designers; it’s very sad. And there are more and more shopping centers in Prague … Why?”

Urban would like to see more customers looking for style. “I’m an optimist, so I can see that people are slowly starting to think about what they wear, what they want to wear, what they like,” he said. “They explore, combine and pay for originals. It is still a long journey to catch up with Western countries. But we try!”

If you fancy yourself an original, or just wish you could be, checking out Code:Mode is definitely a step in the right direction.

“Code:Mode is a very friendly and family festival, it is about having fun and fashion is about having fun,” said Lan. “And I am looking forward to having fun with fashion and the others.”