Plovdiv fashion scene

A talk with Patricia Pandeva, the owner of "Gallery 28"

Written and photos by our media partner

Although the Eastern European fashion scene has been on the rise for several years now, and the Bulgarian designers, who have gained recognition beyond the borders of our country are more and more, the fashion scene in Plovdiv seems to be stagnant.

The fashion industry in the city stubbornly opposes the different sides of innovation and avoids possible disapproval. In order to create a space for innovation, it is necessary to oppose the status quo and to step out of the comfort zone in which we are comfortably sitting.

What is needed is something more - a desire for experimentation. Unfortunately, the current trend is for fashion to be based on the conservative and well-known. Our desire to dress trendy and to borrow from the progressiveness of the West often runs counter to our prejudices about the innovative styles that are taking over the catwalks.

Maybe the boutiques with innovative flair and style are not enough, and maybe the people of Plovdiv are not yet ready to indulge in the change and become part of the world of fashion.

To get an idea of what exactly is missing on the fashion scene in Plovdiv, I spoke with the owner of the place for design inspiration in Plovdiv "Gallery 28" - Patricia Pandeva. Her observations help us understand what it takes to spice up the fashion scene here in Plovdiv.

"Over time, I have noticed that there are many artists, but most of them go bankrupt or simply give up. One of the main reasons is the inability to distribute their creative and managerial energy", shares Patricia and continues with: "That's the reason why Gallery 28 was created. The idea is to give space for expression and to make it easier for artists to be engaged only in the creation of their works. In Bulgaria, it is terribly difficult to have a small business and to resist the pressure. At one point, the revenue cannot match the costs, not only as finance but also as energy. Unfortunately, this stops the flow of inspiration and excitement, and it's normal to lose meaning when you see that you get nothing in return.”

Patricia thinks that there is no need to stand and wait for reforms from the government, as well as to complain about laws and rules that may not change anytime soon. "We have to act, look for new options, be awake, despite the obstacles."

Why is it difficult for people to spice up their style though? Patricia finds the reason in the fact that we are a bit conservative: “The people of Plovdiv are vain, but they do not have enough courage to experiment. They dress according to the standard, according to what is trendy. They know certain boutiques and shops only from them. It has happened to me quite a few times to enter a restaurant and see a whole collection of a certain brand scattered on the tables. There is a lack of freedom. The good thing about "Gallery 28" is that each month throws you in a different style. This way it allows people to recognize themselves and find their individuality.“

According to Patricia, the decision is to have more emotion in the clothes, “For several years now, Plovdiv has woken up and become a tourist phenomenon again. I notice that the flow of people on the weekends is mainly from other cities - Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo. We have everything. We don't need to attract more, but rather to follow the needs and act smart, offering people things that bring them mostly emotion and meaning."

One thing is for sure - the fashion scene in Plovdiv needs a cultural transformation. It needs serious tremors and a paradigm shift. After all, fashion and culture go hand in hand, and if we live in the European Capital of Culture, with joint efforts we could turn Plovdiv into the next capital of fashion.

Open Bulgaria and Highstreet Magazine partner up to support creative expression, local talent, and knowledge to the people. All in support of our communities. Originally published on

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