Slovenian fashion - Cliché: From Ljubljana to New York
What led to a fashion show for the Cliché brand, held two years ago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York? According to Pirkmajer, it was all very spontaneous. "I responded to an invitation by the organizers of the International Fashion Day (IFD). In March 2016, I presented a part of my collection at the same event in Bratislava. Many buyers, agents, and the media praised my collection. A day before the fashion show, models were trying to convince me to sell certain creations to them." The general opinion of fashion critics was that her collection was "deeply fascinating."
However, it did not stop with words as it often does in the industry. After the fashion show, Pirkmajer was invited to the NYC Life! at Fashion Week. "In two days, we had a meeting at the famous Fifth Avenue, at the headquarters of the Empire State Building. The meeting was a success and two days later, we had another fashion show at a hotel near Bowery Park. The audience, which was composed of numerous fashion editors, journalists, buyers, models, stars, stylists and designers, gave us a roaring round of applause. Then came interviews for various newspapers, blogs, local televisions, etc."
Cliché at Flying Solo in SoHo
But Pirkmajer's most notable success was opening a store in New York. "I searched for districts that were most fitting for a Cliché store. I opted for SoHo, which is a highly popular part of New York among fashion buyers. I was on the hunt for so-called multi-brand stores and showrooms, which is how I soon found Flying Solo."
She immediately booked a meeting with the managers, even though it normally takes weeks or months to get such an appointment. With her collection, the owner of the Cliché brand convinced the managers in record time. "We signed the contract the very next day."
This is not the first success enjoyed by Cliché. The founder has been presenting collections at fashion events in New York, Tokyo, and Paris for eight seasons now. According to Pirkmajer, the greatest response was received in the USA and Canada.
"Recently, however, the financial crisis has caused the sales to develop too quickly on the one hand, and too slowly on the other. A decade ago, and before that, today's way of selling was not the best business model. But the times have changed and so have I, as well as sales itself. Everything has become very personal, which is what I always wished for."
The apparel she sells at Flying Solo brings together two distinct fashion worlds: Ljubljana and New York. With her clothing, Ljubljana is presented as being gentle and adorable, while New York takes on the vibe of a megapolitan melting pot.
So considering the differences, what are the prices of her clothing in the USA? First come the finest materials available and highest-quality production, then comes the price. As she explains, the prices are somewhat higher than in Slovenia.
"All my collections are backed by Slovenian knowledge and made with love. I believe in Slovenian production which-when it is good-is more expensive. Each special material also comes at a special purchase price. I do not want my apparel to only be worn by the wealthy. I have dedicated it to active and open-minded women who are well-informed and not interested in showing off their wealth."
Among her best-selling pieces of clothing are trousers, coats, bombers, skirts and gowns. Her collection presented at the penultimate Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Ljubljana (MBFWLJ) was elegant and sensual. Cliché apparel is made of soft and light fabrics. "I select materials that are made in ways friendly to both nature and people. How clothing fits the body and how it behaves during movement are important."
Cliché for men since last year
For several years, Jelena Pirkmajer has been drawing in her sketchbook and running out of pages. Last year, the time came for her designs to be brought to life. As she explains, this was a big responsibility for her because expectations for men's apparel are high. "The first men's clothing," or male clichés as she calls them, "have made quite an impression with their minimalism, usefulness, and high-end materials. In men's apparel as well, a designer must pay attention to comfort. Thus, the choice of fluid fabrics is important. The predominant color is black, but blue is featured as well since she has also designed men's jeans.