Every year at the end of May, Malta Fashion Week brings a sartorial buzz to the island, lavishing the best and the brightest fashion talent from the region on lucky audiences. Many have found themselves enraptured by the frenetic atmosphere of Valletta’s harbour, or captivated by the baroque cathedrals and megalithic temple ruins that can be found across the countryside. Yet the Maltese fashion scene has remained relatively under the radar. With a host of exciting fashion talent showing at this year’s event, now is certainly the time to acquaint yourself with some of the Mediterranean’s rising stars – the sartorial scene promises to command global attention.
A graduate of London College of Fashion, founder and Isle & Aqua designer Giulia Pandolfino has brought playful Maltese spirit to the swimwear scene. The premise of the brand is glamour, offering statement cuts and silhouettes; Isle & Aqua reboots the idea of poolside chic, with sporty designs in bright, punchy colours.
Weaving a Mediterranean aesthetic into the heart of their work, Charles & Ron are a Maltese duo who create bags, lifestyle products and Ready-to-Wear collections. Inspired by Maltese culture, the clothes are bright and often printed, offering customers the luxury of making a statement wherever they go. Make sure to drop by their store when in town to browse through these much-lusted after designs for yourself. There’s no better way to get acquainted with the capital’s local style.
Founded in 1964 by Salvatore ‘Sunny’ Borg, Gagliardi is a Maltese fashion brand that upholds the values of classic tailoring, while imbuing designs with a chic sunny demeanour. Famous for their linen suits and laid-back attire, the brand is a need-to-know name for men searching for smart holiday wear. Make sure to covet the Gagliardi look while strolling around Valletta and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere in the port.
Edgy and adventurous, Parascandalo celebrates bold attitudes and has a design aesthetic to match. Expect cropped shirts, cut out tops and plenty of billowy mesh coupled with layers of fringing. This textured approach invites the wearer to make the clothes unique; the invitation is to own your style – and if you can elicit a little scandal, well, that’s no bad thing.
Created for women that see ‘glamour as a way of life’, Nilara is an innovative Maltese fashion brand that delivers on its manifesto to create ‘million dollar’ dresses for discerning customers. Having established her evening wear offer, Nilara Camilleri consequently expanded to launch Nilara Curve for plus size women, an endeavour which has enjoyed remarkable success. With a full RTW collection on the horizon, as well as store openings, the future looks bright for this brand.
With a passion for graphic prints and striking looks, Maltese designer Ritienne Zammit offers an original take on classic silhouettes. This is a brand for those looking to embrace the decadent night life that Valetta has to offer, with clothes created to command attention. Alongside a dexterous use of materials, colour and silhouette, the brand is also acclaimed for its use of political messaging and use of local influences; previous collections have been inspired by Maltese history, and its abundant churches.