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5 Reasons to Pay Attention to Russian Fashion Week

...which starts today!

Fashionista is in Moscow for the first time for Russian Fashion Week, which kicked off Wednesday. (Full disclosure: We have been sponsored by the organizers to go.) I admit I don't entirely know what to expect: Russian Fashion Week is not covered nearly as heavily in the U.S. as its counterparts in New York, London, Milan, Paris or even Tokyo. But that doesn't mean it's not worth paying attention to.

The event has gotten significantly bigger and more credible since its founding 14 years ago, and some very cool designers are making names for themselves in Moscow and beyond. It would not be outrageous to say that the city could soon become a hotbed of talent the way cities like Copenhagen and Berlin are. How could a country that produced the likes of Natalia Vodianova, Miroslava Duma and Aliona Doletskaya (who was once even rumored to be replacing Anna Wintour) disappoint?

But aside from them, read on for five good reasons to pay attention to Russian Fashion Week, and stay tuned for our coverage from the front lines.

It's the largest fashion week in Eastern Europe.

That includes places like Ukraine, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, etc. (in case you didn't know what Eastern Europe was). There is also an event called Aurora Fashion Week in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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It's now being sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

There's nothing to legitimize a fashion week like the name "Mercedes-Benz," also the official sponsor of New York Fashion Week. IMG helped negotiate the deal, which is good for at least three years and means the event is now called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.

"Russia is a fast-growing market for our cars, and Moscow -- the next hot fashion destination. Our participation in fashion week is vivid proof of these two axioms," says Juergen Sauer, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Russia.

There are eyes on Russian fashion right now.

Ulyana Sergeenko, known both for her street style omnipresence and her namesake couture clothing line (often worn by her fellow street style star friends), launched said clothing line at RFW, and is now internationally known, having recently made the Business of Fashion 500. Vika Gasinskaya is another Moscow-based designer/street style star making a name for herself internationally.

Russian street style stars and personal style bloggers are becoming increasingly influential. They have a style that is distinctly Russian -- bold, glamorous and feminine -- which we hope to get a more thorough sense of this week.

These designers.

Osome2some, Yasya Minochkina and Julia Nikolaeva are some of the brands we have our eyes on this week. Stay tuned for more.