WHERE BUSINESS MEETS FASHION – ADRIAN J MIZZI

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Who is Adrian in the eyes of Adrian?

Many people know me within a professional context, where needs must that I take on a can-do and pragmatic attitude with people and the job at hand. Therefore, I may often come across as someone who’s a little unapproachable at first. However, what a lot of people don’t know about me is that despite my involvement in a very opulent and glamorous business, I seek simple pleasures in life. When not at work, I can be found having a beer with the average Joe at a local bar, and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing a suit and tie. I’m also very passionate about the local product created by our local fashion designers and the talent we produce, so in that respect, I’m very much a patriot, which is part of my drive to maintain the standards of the Malta Fashion Week.

What are we to expect from this year’s Malta Fashion Week?

One of the challenges of the Malta Fashion Week is keeping the bar raised. Past audiences are always wowed by what we organise and stage, and so every year, expectations get higher. However, I can confirm that this year, we’ll be extending the Malta Fashion Week’s presence beyond the city walls of Valletta and into the bastions of Fort St Angelo. Our audience will be able to simultaneously view diverse exhibitions and catwalk shows, while the usual International Designer’s Day will this year be instead spread over the entire Week, where both local and overseas designers can share the Malta Fashion Week platforms.

What are the essential elements of a successful collection?

I myself am not a designer, so my outlook from the business side of things can come to this conclusion. A good designer must be ambitious, but not get carried away, both in terms of his/her capital and his/her attitude. They must be responsible with their earnings and must also know how to prioritise, in order to maturely plan the growth of their career and their brand. They must remain humble and be aware that there’s still a lot to learn when they’re just starting out. Lastly, they must know their clients, what the local demand is and work with it and around it, without jeopardising their creativity, of course.

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What does the Malta Fashion Week seek to achieve?

Years ago, when I had come up with the idea of Malta as a fashion hub, I was laughed at and ridiculed. However, my perseverance proved me right and look where we are now. It may not be on the same scale as other fashion weeks across the globe, but we’ve nonetheless planted our own mark in the industry, and its members’ growing interest in our island is proof that we have the potential to sustain this presence. It seeks to open doors for new designers and to showcase local talent. Not only that, but we also endeavour to kill two birds with one stone by exporting the Maltese landscape for the purpose of tourism.

How would you describe the quintessential Maltese style?

Unlike other nations, we’ve never had a set of established designers shaping the population’s sense of style. The UK’s had Vivienne Westwood; Italy’s had Valentino; France has had Coco Chanel. We, however, have had to borrow ideas from these countries. Therefore, very much like our heritage, which is a result of a hotchpotch of cultures, so is our sense of fashion. You can’t really pin down the overall style of the Maltese women, as we’re quite individual in our choices and our influences.

Having said this, there is a worrying trend that’s making an appearance in a few people’s sense of style. There is an insistence on wearing clothing that is a few sizes too small or just not suitable for the individual’s figure. It’s important that we dress the bodies that we have and work with what we’ve got.

What’s the biggest challenge in the day-to-day running of the Malta Fashion Week?

After every fashion week, we always hold a post-mortem to assess what worked and what could be improved for future shows. We take on board feedback and look at logistics. As I’ve said before, the main challenge lies in upping the overall standard. However, a recurring obstacle is personnel. Sometimes, we’re not able to supply enough models because locally, there aren’t enough people available as our Mediterranean genes do not correlate with Northern European measurements. There are also, as ever, budget issues which we have to work around, but this comes with any venture such as this. Nonetheless, we’ve always managed to deliver a string of highly successful annual shows, and we’ll keep working to overcome any hurdle.

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