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Apparel brands from Moldova and Belarus exhibited their wares at the Who’s Next and Première Vision trade fairs in Paris with the support of the Ready to Trade project being implemented by Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) and International Trade Centre (ITC) under the EU4Business initiative.

ITC and CBI have focused on the apparel industry in Belarus and Moldova, specifically to develop the capacity of local SMEs export their apparel and fashions to Europe. The apparel sector in both countries was identified as one of the most promising sectors in this respect. Participating SME labels make a range of clothing for women, bridal wear and kids' clothes, including knitwear.

Selected SMEs received coaching, advice and training that made it possible for them to introduce their clothing to the European market. While working on their collections, they were updated on EU market requirements, the latest fashion trends, and sustainability standards. After three years of active learning and preparation, the 11 companies showed their latest collections at two top French trade fairs—Who’s Next and Première Vision 2021.

Who’s Next from Belarus and Moldova

At Who’s Next, the labels were presented at separate country stands under the slogans “Made in Belarus” and “Made in Moldova,” to promote both the brands and their countries. CBI`s apparel experts represented all the brands at the fair, promoting them as leading forces in their national apparel industries and providing information about designs, techniques and production standards.

In the women’s wear category, the fair saw Balunova Fahion Design Studio's designer offerings (https://balunova.by), Lakbi (http://www.lakbi.com), which started with business suits and has expanded to dresses, trousers and other categories, and the family-owned Vladini brand (www.vladini.by), which has been in the business since 2007 and now offers City Chic styles from Belarus.

Moldovan labels at Who’s Next included Julia Allert with its geometric shapes and coordinated capsule assortments (https://juliaallert.com/ru/), L. Storojuc, whose designs are all its own (http://dininima.md/LIUDMILA-STOROJUC/), and Amarena Secret, a 20-year veteran in making women’s clothes (http://amarenasecret.com/).

Also at the fair, Belarus’s Lea Lea started as a small fashion studio in 2013 (http://lealea.by/en/about-us), while Nikolay Morozov’s Morozov brand focuses on free-thinking and energy (https://morozov.com/). Moldova’s Vistline has been making women's coats and jackets since 2001 (http://dininima.md/VISTLINE/).

The results have been very promising. The companies all gained from the unique experience of presenting themselves to European buyers, and were able to establish the necessary contacts to start doing business on the EU market.

Première Vision 2021

Première Vision being more focused on knitwear, it was represented by two Belarus brands, Bonadi and Oval, who exhibited their offerings at their own stand, guided by a CBI expert. Bonadi has been producing knitted women’s wear in a variety of fabrics since 2007 (www.bonadi.ru), while Oval’s makes men’s, women’s and children’s wear, and produces orders for private labels (http://oval.by/en/home/).

Première Vision proved very successful for the Belarus participants. With EU brands looking for sourcing opportunities closer to home than Asia, there was great interest in taking advantage of the industry in Eastern Europe. “We can already tell that we can definitely export to the EU,” said one participant. “I felt that there was serious interest in our type of product.”

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