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Follow-up exhibition of the ERKI Fashion show in Viru Keskus

Follow-up exhibition of the ERKI Fashion Show 2022 with the works of the five best finalists was opened yesterday in the renovated atrium of Viru Keskus. Eneken Johanson, Mairo Seire, Siim Oja, Ron Jonas Verlin and Laura Luize Valtere are showcasing their creations there. The exhibition will be open to all visitors up to November 9.

ERKI fashion show, celebrating its 40th anniversary, is organised by the students of the Estonian Academy of Arts. It is one of the most significant events for showing contemporary fashion art in the Baltic countries. The ERKI follow-up exhibition is a tradition for showing the creations of outstanding fashion designers after the main event in order to offer a visual experience to a wider audience.

Viru Keskus has been a partner and supporter of the Estonian Academy of Arts for many years. As the main sponsor of the ERKI fashion show this year the centre wishes to show the winning works to a wider audience and thus the follow-up exhibition is brought to the place with the greatest visitor numbers in Estonia.

According to Kristel Sooaru, the Marketing and Communication Manager of Viru Keskus, the ERKI Fashion Show is a springboard for the progeny of the Estonian fashion scene and an essential part in the development of fashion students. “As a fashion centre we have been providing wider support to the activities of the Estonian Academy of Arts and we were proud to be a partner to showcasing the firestorm of ideas. We brought the winning works and the creations of other notable designers to the place with the greatest visitor numbers in Estonia to offer a wider platform for their bold creations. We are extremely happy to see the fresh wave of young talented students. We hope that this is only the beginning and we will have a chance to work with quite a few of them in future.”

Piret Puppart, the Head of the Fashion Design Department of EKA, values highly the partnership with Viru Keskus. “The extremely dynamic and playfully designed environment in Viru Keskus provides many varied possibilities and approaches to displaying creations and naturally it ensures great visibility that can be very hard to achieve for a beginning designer on her own.”

According to Puppart the ERKI core was this time very powerful, but at the same time diverse. In the winning work of Eneken JohansonPuppart highlights the use of construction waste hidden in playful, but wearable shapes with all shapes supported by old electrical wires. Mairo Seire used a completely different approach to the sustainable mindset by turning bright carpet textures woven with textile scraps into adventures worthy of being displayed in the Versaille! The eclectic collection by Laura Luize Valtere also tempts with a play of colours culminating in the stunning play of hymenopteral insects on masks and clothing. In the works of Ron Jonas Verlin and Siim Ojaone can discern highly current post-humanistic notes both in materials and silhouette searches, reaching into the age of computer games. The exhibition is accompanied by videos of the winning collections created by the Latvian creative tandem of Rolands Pēterkopsi (MAREUNROL’S) and Pēteris Vīksna by using special 3D cameras. Video can be seen here.

Who participates in the exhibition?

This year the winner of the ERKI Fashion Show is the third year student of fashion design in the Estonian Academy of Art Eneken Johanson with the collection “Who let the dust out?”. The works of Eneken Johanson combine the reference points of fashion design and sustainable mindset in a surprising way and therefore the Christmas collection “Who let the dust out?” won the main award of the ERKI fashion show 2022 for its special idea and high level implementation as well. Johanson as a fashion design alumnus of the Estonian Academy of Art found the vision for the collection in a rather surprising environment. The creative process started in a commonplace spatial conceptual scope when the artist worked on the renovation of her first home. According to the artist the endless rounds of dust and rubbish caused by the works were exhausting, but at the same time the feeling pushed her to have a wider dialogue with matter. Using electrical wires in her shape searches the creative approach of Eneken Johanson to found materials in surroundings and her capacity to find new applications for them manifested in her powerful collection that has attracted attention in addition to Estonia also at the Milan Mittelmoda international young talent competition. Video of her collection can be seen here.

The second place went to Mairo Seire, graduate student of Estonian Academy of Art, and her massive works. She is an outstanding representative of the new trend in folkloric fashion design. The exorbitant costume drama in Marie Antoinette traditions was called rag rug in Mulgi dialect: “Põmanduvõõva”. It was inspired by grandmother’s rag rugs. The collection combines traditional and contemporary, reticent and experimental in a uniquely striking way. To find answers to existential issues the author turns to her childhood home. In her searches for technical methods and materials the fashion designer turned to the house of her great-grandparents to recall something important to her in her designs. Video of his collection can be seen here. 

The third place went to Siim Oja, second year fashion art student in the Estonian Academy of Art. The concept of the collection “Define: chimera, cute, eerie” is inspired by weird and strange emotions. Although his visual language characterises his concept best, the social philosophical vision of the young fashion designer is individual and supports the integral whole. The approach of Oja is magical: by sensing the modern time as something “liquid”, the fashion designer handles reality as virtual. Besides creative defects the author is also interested in machine-created “errors”, describing his activity as a scanning search. Video of his collection can be seen here.

In addition to the top three Viru Keskus chose two favourites to present their creations at the throbbing thoroughfare of urban life in the centre with the greatest visitor numbers.

Ron Jonas Verlin is a second year fashion art student in the Estonian Academy of Art. Ron has been interested in fashion since high school and by now the young fashion designer has completed 7 collections. His collection “This Is Where The Bloodline Ends” earned lots of attention and recognition at the ERKI Fashion Show for its bold design language. The poetic approach of Verlin to the oppressive side of human existence appears in the powerful, sometimes even striking shape of his designs. The artist has said that he expresses himself exactly as he feels. “This Is Where The Bloodline Ends” is a collection that celebrates both anguishing darkness and sudden light at the same time. The young fashion designer views creation as a mechanism for improving human beings. Video of his collection can be seen here.

Laura Luize Valtere is a Latvian artist and a fashion design student of the Latvian Academy of Art in Riga. Collection “Self-Portrait” is a reflection of her mild character and everyday thoughts and dreams. The creative process turned out to be an art experiment for her, combining it from her childhood memories, traumas and nostalgia. The collection is characterised by an abundance of symbols and bold colouring, above all displaying morphological transformations of butterflies, helping the artist to achieve sensual and at times provocative shapes.

The international jury of the ERKI Fashion Show included Katie Dominy, Tanel Veenre, Liis Eesmaa, Kristi Pärn Valdoja, Rolands Peterkops, Marite Mastina Peterkopa, Annamari Vänska, Johanna Maria Parv, Kristel Sooaru, TITA and Signe Kivi.

Photoes Kalev Lilleorg