Along with 25 other British brands, we at Bernshaw were invited to the Best of British design showcase in Russia last month.
The brands involved ranged from fashion to giftware to interiors specialists, all showcasing their luxurious designs. The event, supported by UK Trade & Investment, capitalised on Russia’s growing appetite for luxury goods and all things stylish and gave us the chance to engage with new business partners and to take part in an exclusive showcase at the British Embassy.
Despite the temperature falling to -15C, the Russian market has huge potential and the response to the brands was really encouraging. The British Embassy gave each brand the chance to have a stand at the event. They invited VIPs to the reception, including members of the press and potential buyers, and then arranged meetings with agents and distributors. Anything that is carried through the embassy bears a lot of weight and the British brands had the ability to really stand out.
We visited a store called Tsum, which had a Selfridges-inspired style, housing British designs from Matthew Williamson, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, who proved to be big names in the Russian market. There’s clearly room for more British labels in this kind of store.
The good-quality, innovative designs from British designers stood a cut above the competition and their growth in this market was really notable. Previously, the Italian brands led the way for design inspiration, but now the British brands are really starting to come through.
The Moscow mission was a great chance to grow our brand in a new market. And, with the love of British apparent, it really helped us fly the flag for British brands.
Alex Bernstein is the director of occasionwear brand Bernshaw