ROMANI Design
Country/Town: Hungary
Topic: Design & Fashion

Hungary’s first

Roma Design Studio

Why?

Simply put, because through the brand’s work, the world can meet with fresh, modern interpretations of Roma folklore. Erika Varga and Helena Varga, the designers of Romani, adapt their collections to the language of contemporary fashion while remaining true to their Roma traditional value. Having achieved outstanding reputation in the Hungarian fashion and design industry, Romani Design is highly committed to social responsibility. Romani Design works for the peaceful coexistence of the Roma people and their neighbors, that is why their mission is to be present in every aspect of society in order to decrease social conflicts and prejudice towards the Roma people.

The aim

Romani aims to defy stereotypes and prejudices against Romani people while building on the aesthetic roots of Roma communities and representing their embeddedness and deep connection with Hungarian culture. Founded in 2010, Romani Design has been since Hungary’s first Roma fashion studio and an enterprise of exceptional social value as well as the first internationally successful Roma fashion brand. Erika Varga, the initiator of the brand, comes from a tradition – following Roma family and she learned the rich world of colours and forms in her childhood, she believes it’s her mission to pass on this heritage and build bridges between cultures.

“For me, fashion is like words to poets, colours to painters. I’m able to articulate myself through my clothes and create a world I would gladly live in.  (Eriga Varga)

Project

Timeline

My Identity, My Freedom collection was launched, celebrating conscious women who freely embrace their identity, creativity and joy for life.

started with the creation of a capsule collection and a fashion show to commemorate and celebrate International Roma Day: 1956’s Roma Heroes – Today’s Icons. Also, Romani Design attended with workshops, pop-up stores, fashion shows and exhibitions multiple locations all across the world: MQ Vienna Fashion Week Sziget Festival, Marie Claire Fashion Days, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace, Kuala Lumpur.

marked another year of travelling across the world to share with others the colours of Roma culture: India Day in Fono, British Embassy in Hungary where a women’s day speed mentoring took place, team building at Erste Building Bridges and also a creative workshop for decorating the children hospital at Fest a Kerulet. They were followed by fashion shows at Sziget Festival, Brussels Fashion Days – and a cooperation with The Balassi Institute Brussels. In Portugal, at the Hungarian Embassy, Romani Design contributed to country promotion and image building through a fashion show in Lisbon, in cooperation with AMUCIP (Portugal Women Civil Organisation Fashion Show). Back to Budapest, Romani Design attended Marie Claire Fashion Days and Folktrend Fashion Show.

Collection Heart is launched, designed for women who want to embrace their femininity and reveal their inner values to the outside world through their unique style. Heart was inspired by the atmosphere of fairs, which are events connecting Roma and non-Roma communities.

Important people

and resources

Romani Design

received overwhelming support from the local Roma communities, who have felt that their culture and traditions finally received the appreciation and spotlight they deserve. Many expressed that they felt supported and empowered by Romani in exploring their identities through experiencing the encounter of modern fashion with Romani traditions.

Hungarian intellectuals and the fashion industry

have been also supportive since the very beginning. Glamour magazine awarded Erika Varga, the designer and initiator of Romani the ‘Woman of the Year’ award in 2012, furthermore Romani Design has been invited to the Marie Claire Fashion Weeks with a special show since 2014.

Romani Design

is proud to have Romani ambassadors, who represent the brand at prestigious events, including celebrities, actors, actresses, singers, and songwriter

Achievements

“Our biggest achievement is our ability to support the development of a new and modern Roma identity among young Roma people and the development of unique visual tools to promote Roma communities and their culture in Hungary and beyond.” (Romani Design team)

Challenges

Mission

To achieve Romani Design’s mission is already a great obstacle as a lot of deeply-embedded prejudices against Roma people need to be rewritten by fair and true representations of Roma people. While it is easy to admire the fashion of the Roma, few understand the culture behind it. Romani Design’s goal is to bridge the gap between admiration of the clothes and understanding of the culture through fashion, thus becoming one of the greatest challenges as well.

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