A new generation of Czech fashion designers is fighting for a place in the sun - but they say it is an uphill struggle. The twice yearly "Prague Fashion Week" now attracts plenty of potential clients whose purchasing power has climbed in the last decade, but designers say that only a small elite is willing to spend larger sums of money on clothes - and often the well-off turn their attention to established Western designers. The majority of Czech women - not to mention men - are still pretty conservative in how they dress and very pragmatic, a trend that designers ascribe to the "uniform" communist era. While two out of three Czechs claim they want to wear something original, in reality few of them head for fashion boutiques, preferring to spend their money on sports clothes in one of the many department stores. As Czech designer Daniela Flejsarova says - "A Parisian woman who wants to give herself a treat will buy a new coat - a Czech woman will buy a new washing machine." Maybe Czech women should start putting themselves first for a change.


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