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Elvira Nikitina

Say something about your background

It’s no secret that our business and inspiration often come from our childhood – the main thing is never forget about it when you grow up. My grandmother used to sew, and her apartment had such a true Soviet interior design, a rug hanging on the wall, a treadle sewing machine, and an upper cabinet with a forbidden compartment full of scarce fabrics and sewing patterns from Burda. The closet was high, and it was hard to steal some fabrics from there, but I managed to do that. I used them to make handmade dance costumes for me and my friend. And I used magazines to make collages or wardrobes for paper dolls. Grandma saw that my new clumsy skirt was made from her fabric, the very scarce one that she probably planned to turn into something more wearable, but she never scolded me for that. Since then, a lot of time has passed, I’ve had many different hobbies – music, dance, photography – and Grandma and I always made costumes for my events. It was always somewhere around, but I used to find a million other areas, the profession of fashion design seemed to be for the chosen ones. At the same time, it was the process of creating a costume that was more important and interesting to me than the performance itself on stage or a photo shoot.

Once I was presented with a sewing machine for my birthday. I was terribly angry – why do I need it? I even can’t sew! But this very machine turned out to be fateful in the choice of my activities. It was stayed on the shelf in the closet for a long time, but I got it out one day. First, I learned how to sew children’s toys, and then I moved on to children’s clothes. I first got seriously into making clothes 3 years ago, I got a degree in illustration and tailoring. But the ability to sew and the ability to create clothes are different things. That’s why I studied in the branding and design academy for a year, which allowed me to take a more professional approach to creating a brand and my first collection of clothes.

Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career?

It’s hard to explain, you either feel it or you’ll never explain what it’s about. It’s like a bright dot that illuminates your path in the dark, showing you the way. Fashion designing is not just about composition, or let’s say the combination of colors and textures. It’s such a huge field for development, because fashion is fast-paced – and you, as a fashion designer, always have where to grow and develop; and growth means life to me, it’s a very important driver in choosing my business. If I’m hitting the ceiling, it means it’s not for me. Moreover, clothes mostly help express our life philosophy and speak to the world.

What according to you is a favourite part of being a fashion designer?

Finding the form. That’s probably where it all starts. I can run around a mannequin with pieces of fabric day and night long. Thinking, draping, drawing, cutting. But once you’ve found the form, everything else – the material, the styling, the presentation – appears in some magical way, and you can already see your finished, deliciously presented item on the cover of a magazine.

Who and which things are the inspiration while creating any design?

I know that many designers are inspired by nature, by the culture of their nation, by painting and something outside the fashion industry. As for me, I am inspired by the work of the world’s designers; I love looking at cuts, design elements, lines, decorations. Turning it inside out and studying how it is made. That doesn’t mean I copy them. It’s the development of visual experience, looking for myself and my voice. Couture collections are as much art objects to me as paintings in a gallery. I am also inspired by geometry, especially in contemporary architecture.

What skills according to you are necessary for a successful fashion designer?

I may surprise you, but I’m not going to tell you about the ability to draw brilliant sketches or do stitch work. As for basic skills, everyone uses what’s closest to them, it can be completely different methods of modeling or creating clothes in general. But the skill a designer really needs is a good sense of what the public will want in the next season. It’s the ability to anticipate trends in tandem with creativity.

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?

For me, it’s constant monitoring. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a live show or if it’s social media. It takes regularity to stay up to date. Fashion magazines, accounts of bloggers, influencers, and famous brands. It’s important to track and keep up with world events – what the globe is currently living and breathing. Many people think that fashion is created by a group of people who literally sit around and make up what will be popular in the next seasons. But in fact, fashion is created by the public itself, and we just analyze their desires and try to meet them, let each designer do it in their own style, but the goal is the same. That’s why, in order to keep track of it, we are constantly watching people. And it’s not just about clothes, but art, interiors, politics, news events. I often go out just to see what a group of teenagers on skateboards are wearing, or I attend a charity event to “take a look around”.

Who are your favorite designers or photographers?

If we’re talking about fashion legends, I don’t have any favorites. Everyone is important and awesome in their own way. I equally admire the flamboyant corsets by Vivienne Westwood and the amazing shapes by Cristobal Balenciaga. If we’re talking about contemporary designers and photographers, I have the same opinion. I am always in favor of a designer or any other creative person looking a little deeper than the usual forms, even if it is not a wearable piece of clothing but rather an image or an art object. For example, I admire the work of Rei Kawakubo probably because I don’t dare to step far beyond constructivism myself. These are the designers who are scolded by armchair critics, “Well, how to wear this?” Don’t rush to conclusions, it is the creativity – what seems crazy, unacceptable, and ugly to you now moves the world and will give a lot of brilliant ideas to the public. At the same time, I am wildly attracted to Peter Do’s calm, river-like creativity, where you can see that he doesn’t give a loud meaning to his clothes, but just makes them an extension of your personality.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve heard? And do you follow it?

Once I heard or read a phrase. It wasn’t even advice – it was a sign to me. I don’t remember exactly what it sounded like, but the meaning was, “Dreaming of creating something great will never get you there. And only by doing your work every day you can gradually come to something great.” Many people want to create their own business, but they imagine themselves in the boss’s chair at once, running a big company. And when they estimate how much work it takes to get to that chair, they get scared and give up the idea. And then I thought – let it be 20 spare minutes a day that I can devote to my new business. Having a small amount of time here and now, while the kids are sleeping and I’m free of chores, and the skills I have – what I can do to get closer to my goal. And those regular 20 minutes a day did get me closer to my goal.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

I have many plans, I am not going to make a list of them right now, I will only say one thing – I want to grow together with my brand.

Photographer: Peleviin @peleviin

Model: Evgeniya Budarina @budu.jane

Fashion Designer: Elvira @thevocce WB:

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