Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fashion in Minsk

Our ever-stylish friend Tamara told us where she buys her clothes. It turns out that there are a bunch of small-time producers in Belarus that make a few garments at a time and then sell them at periodic fashion markets. I wanted to see one, so Tamara invited me to the next, a Valentine's Day extravaganza that they set up in the corridors of a small (but fancy) shopping mall.

Alla didn't really want to go. She doesn't like to shop anyway, doesn't like crowds, and prefers a more classic look. Besides, she had somewhere else to go, so I set out on my own. Walking to the mall, I enjoyed seeing festive decorations all over the city. Store managers tied vast quantities of balloons to their storefronts, and the City of Minsk set up a stage in a main square and invited vendors to sell snacks and souvenirs, and I even saw a courier delivering a huge heart-shaped box of roses.

I reached the fashion market at opening time, and the last few vendors hadn't even fully assembled their displays. I got to see everything. Most vendors limited themselves to just one rack, and each vendor's rack differed from all the others. It was a festival of originality. Shoppers began to arrive. Stylish shoppers. Interesting people. I had a good time exploring the first floor, and finally reached a caricature artist drawing portraits for free. She didn't have a client at the moment I arrived, so she invited me to sit down. I figured I'd sit still for five minutes and get an amusing picture of myself. In fact, however, I had to sit still for a lot longer than that and she captured me in a way I've never been captured before. She wanted to roll my portrait into a tube and secure it with a rubber band, but I liked the portrait way too much to roll up, so I asked her to hold it until I could go across the street and buy a frame and a plastic folder for safe travel home.

Later, Alla and our friend Elena came downtown and we went out for lunch together. Then I talked them into coming back to the fashion market. This time, the hallways were crowded and we had to squeeze between the shoppers. Only I bought anything (a scarf woven in a traditional Belarusian pattern and some chocolate truffles) but everybody had a great time.

No comments:

Post a Comment