Support the scene at events celebrating the best of regional handiwork
It is that one magical time of the year when we are all unduly stressed to find the best presents for our loved ones. We are bombarded by pushy sales staff who harass us into buying the latest perfume by Lagerfeld or the newest “it” blouse in peppermint green. Products’ routes from creation to unwrapping comprise a series of transactions, and sometimes we’d rather give a gift with connection.
We do this all, somewhat patiently, while listening to the same cheesy Christmas songs on repeat. Yes, the holidays are back in full swing.
Keeping the shopping-mall stress at bay will prove to be difficult, though it is possible. Design markets not only offer original handmade gifts, but also give us stressed-out shoppers time to relax during our excursions. Whether you are buying for your picky mother, overzealous brother or your fashionista sister, the four markets listed below will undoubtedly improve your holiday mood.
Grace’n’Glamour: High-end cool, Runway worthy designs
The very chic will squeal with delight at the second Grace’n’Glamour, which promotes some of the best of fashion and accessories in the Czech Republic. On Saturday, Dec. 1, the event returns to the ever-so-swank Mandarin Oriental Hotel, offering a grumble-free shopping experience that reads like a who’s who from Prague Fashion Weekend and Dreft Fashion Week. Kateřina Geislerová, Lenka Štěpánková and others who create women’s clothing will show alongside the milliner Kotábová and the accessories designer Išová. “Each of the designers who present their collections at G’n’G are very talented individuals whose ideas and work prove that Czech designers attain superior quality,” says Petra Kopuletá, Grace’n’Glamour’s enthusiastic PR manager. Grab your partner, bring 120 Kč for the entrance fee and browse the 20 or so designers for the perfect gift for everyone on your list – including yourself.
Holešovice Fashion Market: An alternative to the mundane
The two-day alternative fashion festival returns to the No. 7 hall at Pražská tržnice with the tagline “Don’t rely on Santa.” To accommodate all the eager cash-wielding shoppers, the market has expanded, offering more room to maneuver, but also allowing you a smorgasbord of 110-plus designers offering and local products. Should you become ravenous from your shopping, pick up a nice hot drink, a beer or some food to tide you over until your next round at the stalls.
DesignSUPERMARKET: Festive shopping and cultural talks
The much-talked-about sixth edition of designSUPERMARKET is open Dec. 6-9 near the Florenc metro station. Having developed something of a cult following over the years, it continues to pull more toward a design platform than festival, though nurturing emerging talent is still at the forefront of the aim. Many aspects of the event have stayed the same, but some things have changed. Expect to see design products from not only the Czech Republic but across Central Europe, as well. Cultural talks and programs will also accompany the buying frenzy, with the Polish design expert Ewa Gołębiowska holding an informative session on the Cieszyn castle Dec. 7, and the ever-so-charming Italian Fulvio Ferrari inaugurating the new OKOLO Dec 8. Whether you are looking to pick up some new threads from the likes of Projekt Belka or unique pieces of porcelain or jewelry from Suto ceramics or Janja Prokić, there are certainly enough designers to keep you busy for hours.
Dyzajn Márket: Last-minute goodies
On Dec. 16, this is the market for the holiday-present procrastinators. Started humbly by the designer Tereza Tunková of atelier Mate, Dyzajn Márket has grown into a biannual event on the touristy piazzeta at the National Theater. With more than 90 Czech and Slovak designers present, this promises to be one of Dyzajn Márket’s biggest sales. And just what kind of last-minute goodies are we talking about here? Everything from clothing for children to men’s handbags, original jewelry to meditation pillows and porcelain goods. Of course, this market isn’t just for the last-minute shoppers; those who have secured gifts early can let the children of Chorus Angelus spread the spirit of good tidings and merriment with traditional carols.
For those who still believe that the only Czech-made products worth buying are Ryor, Manufaktura or Botas 66 – all fantastic brands, by the way, but mostly only available in those stressful shopping malls – why not take the leap from your comfort zone and look at the other design talent that is among us? All four markets will have something for everyone.
*Article published first in the Prague Post on November 28, 2012*