Karabakh Collection by Leonie Mergen represents Azerbaijani heritage at the Berlin Fashion Week

Press Release: An extraordinary event within the scope of the MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK in Berlin took place on 18 January 2017 under the patronage and with the support of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) Germany. The Berlin-based young, fresh designer Leonie Mergen presented her new outstanding Karabakh Collection on the runway, which features the themes and culture of Karabakh, an Azerbaijani region in the centre of the South Caucasus.

With the rich cultural heritage of Azerbaijan as her inspiration, Leonie developed her current collection, a series of pieces inspired by the traditional attire of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. The ensembles feature patterns reminiscent of the country’s famous tapestries, with signature necklines and sleeved capes making an appearance in both menswear and womenswear. Azerbaijan’s legacy as a hub on the historical Silk Road and as a leader in horsebreeding can be seen in Leonie’s designs, with equestrian-influenced leather accessories and sophisticated silk elements playing an essential role in her collection.

In the presence of over 500 fashion industry professionals, fashion reporters and international guests, the highly atmospheric show took place in the historic Kaufhaus Jandorf in Berlin-Mitte. The collection presented on the catwalk in 26 distinct looks, whilst traditional Azerbaijani Mugham and instrumental music played in the background. Leonie Mergen’s unusual, intercultural and technically-skilled approach was highly appreciated by the attendees. The audience was enthusiastic, and celebrated the Karabakh Collection, which represents a further milestone in TEAS’ continuous efforts to raise awareness of the ongoing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions by Armenian forces.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was fought from 1988–94 between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Azerbaijani territory in the west of the country, populated by both Azerbaijanis and ethnic Armenians. However, the history of this dispute stretches back centuries. As a result of this one-sided illegal invasion, Armenia still occupies Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions, altogether accounting for approximately 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory, and nearly one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been forced from their homes. Nagorno-Karabakh is universally recognised by the international community as being part of the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the ongoing occupation in four resolutions, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces.

Tale Heydarov, Chairman and Founder, TEAS, commented: “The Karabakh Collection is a very interesting project for TEAS, and we were happy to give Leonie Mergen, a young Berlin designer, the chance to present Azerbaijan-inspired fashion to a worldwide audience and to support her during her inspirational journey through our country.”

He continued: “A fashion collection with this degree of international coverage and attention helps a great deal in showing to a wider public that there is an occupied Azerbaijani region called Nagorno-Karabakh and that steps have to be undertaken to protect our national heritage in all areas of culture and civil society.”

The fashion show was followed by a press conference and chance to revisit the Karabakh Collection, where further details of the collection were revealed. Visit www.karabakh-collection.com for further information.