10 Things You Didn’t Know About Fashion in Switzerland

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Picture Switzerland.

See the snow topped mountains? Avid Skiers in their designer threads? Or, a few hungry mouths gorging on cheese fondue and champagne in their wooden chalets? Let’s be honest… all three are very true. But, that’s not everything that Switzerland has to offer. Aside from the breathtaking landscapes, you’ll find some well kept fashion secrets hiding among those Alps.

With top insights into the Swiss fashion scene provided by our very own market experts; you could find yourself heading to Switzerland sooner than you think:  

1. Switzerland’s got Talent

We bet you didn’t know that Switzerland has a few future design talents hidden up its sleeves no? It’s true, in fact up and coming menswear designer Julian Zigerli launched his label back in 2010 after designing and producing collections of men’s athleisure. And since catching the eye of Giorgio Armani, Zigerli has gone on to present collections in Milan, Berlin, London, New York, Paris and Seoul. But, like a true Swiss he always comes back to his roots, remaining on the Swiss style chique by using only the finest Swiss and Italian fabrics.

Julian Zigerli runway MFW

A model walks the runway during the Julian Zigerli show during the Milan Menswear Fashion Week Fall Winter 2015/2016 – Photo: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Ever heard of Ginny Litscher? Well, Ginny is one of Switzerland’s top emerging talents, after working closely with the likes of  McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Diane von Furstenberg. Featuring in Vogue; her kaleidoscopic silk scarfs are on the wishlist of everyone worth their fashion credentials and have already gained a huge fanbase in Hollywood… think Lady Gaga, Keira Knightley and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

 

2. Fair Trade World Champion

When it comes to shopping for quality over quantity, the Swiss are all over it! No other nation spends more money on fair trade products than the people of Switzerland. In 2014 alone, over 55 Million Swiss Francs were spent on the fair trade industry, which results in more than 60 Swiss Francs per person. Meaning, you won’t have to stretch your search far and wide to get your hands on sustainable fashion brands or find eco stores like Switcher, Helveta or OC Outfitters of Change. Celebrity favourite and Swiss-born Jana Keller and her conscious accessoires label ‘Royal Blush’, offer sustainable leather jewellery and luxury handbags (Psst,  you might have seen Jessica Alba with some Keller arm candy..)

Today, more and more Swiss designers are switching their trade towards eco fashion and branching out to an even greater international customer base.

 

3. Fashionable Cities

‘Oasis calm’, ‘Most beautiful place on the planet’’ and ‘Love at first sight’ are just a few of the nicknames given to the picturesque skiing resort of Gstaad. From Brigitte Bardot, Madonna and Michael Jackson and even Monaco’s Royal family, the rich and famous simply ADORE this exclusive holiday go-to situated in the Swiss Alps. And besides its celebrity status, the skiing opportunities and its five luxury star hotels, the city hails as a shoppers paradise! Need we say more?

Gstaad

Promenade in Gstaad, Switzerland – Photo: Valentin Flauraud/Bloomberg via Getty Images

However, once you’re in Switzerland, you can not (and should not) miss a visit to the capital Bern. Right here, you’ll find one of the longest stretches of shopping streets in Europe, as well as the infamous pedestrian crossings filled with Swarovski crystals. For safety (and sparkly) reasons of course.

 

4. House of Luxury

Richemont, one of the world’s leading fashion companies bases itself in Switzerland, housing some of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands such as Cartier, Montblanc and Chloé.

The company was founded in 1988 by Johann Rupert, who, funnily enough, started the business after investing in the tobacco industry. Today however, they’re switching their sights to high-end jewellery, clothing, watches and leather accessories and were quite recently ranked as the 6th largest global fashion player by Fashionunited.

 

5. Shopping like a Boss

Swiss street style is defined as casual and sporty. Like we said, quality beats quantity hands down when it comes to shopping, and investments in fashion are almost always long term. So perhaps then, that’s why the Swiss tend not to jump on every fashion wagon sweeping through the internet? You’ll find the big players in Switzerland’s fashion bubble actually consist of deluxe brands such as Strellson, Bally or Navyboot. However fear not, there are some lower-budget brands breaking through the Swiss barriers! Chicorée is growing continuously in popularity throughout Switzerland, catering to those enthusiastic, young fashionistas with a smaller shopping budget but a big appetite for trends. And Tally Weijl holds stores in over 37 countries, consequently ranking as the only Swiss budget fashion brand to go all out international.

 

6. Watch out, this is Switzerland!

No other country holds as famous for its watches as Switzerland. Sure, Breitling, Rolex and Omega will always spring to mind as the most famous luxury watch labels ever, ever, ever! (Did we mention ever?!) Yet, with over 90% of Swiss watches exported internationally, you’d be surprised to find that they’re still pretty hard to get hold of.

Ever heard of the term fashionably late? Waiting list, after waiting list, after waiting list. (But oh so worth the time!)

Strangely, one of the most famous and lower-priced watches also comes straight from Switzerland. Flashback to your childhood and that colourful little wrist number called Swatch. What started out as a disposable and fairly cheap plastic watch, developed into one of the biggest fashion hypes of the 80s. These bad boys started a revolution in the Swiss watch empire, delving into fast-fashion for the first time (no pun intended) rather than exclusivity.

Vivienne Westwood for Swatch

Vivienne Westwood for Swatch – Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Swatch

The (S)watches have kept up with each changing fashion trend but somehow always manage to use the same basic design, as well as collaborating with the likes of  Sam Francis, Vivienne Westwood and Jeremy Scott.

 

7. Miss Blogging Universe

Supermodel, blogger, designer, former Miss Switzerland contestant, oh and singer. Guessed who it is yet? Switzerland’s biggest Superstar Kristina Bazan is the 22 year old founder behind a little blog you might have heard of called ‘Kayture’. Founded back in 2011, in the same year the blogging sensation performed a stint as a potential Miss Switzerland. And since then? Kristina has attracted attention from all corners of the fashion world and has gone on to become the face of Dior and L’Oreal, as well as a Vogue and Elle cover star. Over the past 5 years, she’s gained 2.2 million online followers and was awarded the prestigious Fashion Influencer of the Year Award at ‘Stylight Fashion Influencer Awards 2015”.

Kristina Bazan Stylight Fashion Influencer Awards

Kristina Bazan celebrating her award at the “Stylight Fashion Influencer Awards” last year in Berlin.

Think balancing a world-performing blog, numerous requests and keeping her followers up to date is easy? Just recently, Forbes included the Swiss sensation among the “30 Under 30” Art&Style by Forbes Magazine, leaving stars such as Blake Lively and Emma Watson wayyyy behind.

 

8. Silk City

Switzerland was once the silk centre of the world. No really. From the Middle Ages right up until the 20s, Zurich was known as the silk capital, providing fabrics for Royals and credited fashion designers. During the 80s, the silky fabrics made in Switzerland experienced a huge revival when three unknown Swiss individuals, Andie, Elsa and Maya Stutz founded the silk company ‘Fabric Frontline’ – supplying haute couture design houses like Dior and Chanel with their precious silk.

 

9. Fashion Days Zurich

Everyone, make that literally EVERYONE, is clued up on New York, Paris, London and Milan for Fashion Week. But, how many people know about a little event called Zurich Fashion Days? Switzerland plays host to its very own Fashion Week annually in Zurich, showcasing national and international design talent.

Max Mara - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days Zurich 2014

Models walk the runway at the Max Mara show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days Zurich 2014 – Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Imagesùù

Max Mara and Lala Berlin have already taken centre stage at ZFD, with stars such as Victoria’s Secret Model Karlie Kloss  spotted sitting on the FROW. Unlike its older brother in New York, the guestlist is no where near as difficult to get your name on, with chances to snatch one of the tickets to any of the shows. So, next time you find yourself in Zurich during Fashion Days, who not take a deep breath of that sweet smelling Swiss fashion air?

 

10. Designers in Love with CH

Designers LOOOOVE Switzerland – and not only for their high quality fabrics or even higher quality parties. Coco Chanel swapped the streets of Paris for a little known place in Switzerland called Lausanne, as well as living in the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel at Lake Geneva and at her residence in the upper part of the city. In fact, the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel is still going strong after 154 years, leaving the fashion icon’s spirit lingering. Valentino is also a firm favourite of the Swiss landscape. Making regular visits to his Chalet Gifferhorn in Gstaad together with his partner Giancarlo Giammetti and his petite pugs to retreat and do a spot of skiing. Rumor has it New Years Eve Parties at the Valentino Chalet are legendary each year. NYE 2016 anyone?

If you enjoyed this insider look at Switzerland then follow #DestinationStylight across our social platforms for more fashion, foodie, and lifestyle tips from around the world.

|By Julia Reger|

 

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