There’s a lot of cool work out there that’s hugely inspiring. New designers use their youth, ambition and talent to invent the fashion of tomorrow, and it feels wonderfully refreshing in a world with conglomerate fashion companies that are so powerful that it seems like there’s no place in the world without a Louis Vuitton store. Don’t get me wrong; I love the big brands – but I also love something more special and original. Wearing something interesting, and something not everyone has, makes you feel very special. Farfetch is an online fashion boutique with a nice variety of new fashion brands, and otherwise these new designers are mostly available in their own mono-brand store in their country of origin together with a few selected multi-brand stores. Therefore you need to be very well informed, when you visit a new place as a tourist, if you’re going to dig out any of the cool designers in some of the concept stores.
I came across new designer Irina Krasilnikova during Kiev Fashion Days in Ukraine. There are many good things about these events, but one of them is that you have all the new talent collected in one place. Krasilnikova’s design struck me as being both feminine and modern, and having a silhouette, which seemed like a mix between a lady and an animal and all in a beautiful colour palette of sophisticated colours. There was a strong attention to the surface, and she used smooth leather, both plain and laser-cut, together with fancy yarn creating fun and fluffy surfaces. All of these rather different components were mixed together skillfully in a collection named ‘Transitions’.
Krasilnikova is a petite woman with slightly red hair, and there’s something both modern and mythological about her. On her profile picture she’s posing in front of a dark, black background, which makes her look both fragile and powerful. The illustrations seem to empower some of the same characteristics as herself and her work, and at the same time they seem graphic, as well as so light and airy that they may not be real. With Krasilnikova, things are never simple and obvious.
Having a strong, personal and secure style is one of the hardest things to achieve, and is something that’s developed over time. It’s also something that comes from within, though it can be stimulated through great education and training.
Krasilnikova has been working as a designer since 2009, and her work has been featured in Vogue, Marie Claire and on Style.com. She’s Ukrainian, and a refreshing entry in the fashion world from a place outside the big, notorious fashion cities. She’s currently doing an MA program in KASK, Gent, Belgium, and has previously studied in Central Saint Martins, London, and National University of Technologies and Design, Kiev, Ukraine.
What is it like to be a fashion designer?
I don’t think being a fashion designer is different to most other occupations. You need to learn skills and have knowledge about things. And then of course paying attention to what is happening around you.
What are you inspired by, and how do you find inspiration?
In my previous collection ‘Patina’ for example, I saw an old patina-covered cup, and it made me curious about what time did with things… The idea behind the object… I was not inspired by the actual cup, but the idea of time passing by.
What’s the most important lesson, you have learnt studying fashion?
I think, it has been a life lesson rather than a fashion lesson. You will go mad, if you try to compete with the world. What you have to do is to try to become better than you were yesterday. This will be a great victory.
What’s the biggest challenge for an upcoming designer?
Of course it’s very hard to keep a business alive, while you are a small brand. What I try to do is staying honest to myself, defining my work and have trust in my project.
See more of new designer Irina Krasilnikova and her work here.