Russian fashion designer Irina Shaposhnikova is the latest designer with visions for the different, the bold and the impacting. She’s gained worldwide recognition amongst her peers.
Producing outfits with an almost architectural eye and seeing design as more of a structure than just a simple piece of fabric has helped her along her path. Her dedication to detail seems evident in every seam. Irina has certainly kept the industry buzzing with her fresh approach to pattern work and design.
Now working on a new set of innovative designs for her up-and-coming collection, which is still to be named, Irina is a designer that is reinventing fashion. How we look at fashion and how we will wear fashion in the future.
WUW: Hello Irina! How are you today?
IS: I’m fine, thank you.
WUW: What have you been up to lately?
IS: Well, I just cam back from Moscow, my hometown. I haven’t been for about a year.
WUW: You studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. How did you go about choosing to study there?
IS: Before I cam to Antwerp, I studied on the foundation course at London College of Fashion. It was there that I heard about Antwerp Academy being a highly regarded school, so I decided to take the entrance exam. It was the first time I went and I really liked the city and people. I was very happy when I knew I was accepted in.
WUW: I read that your father owned his own sewing atelier. This is where you discovered your talent for the fashion, discovering and learning about materials and stitching etcetera. Did this help you to understand a lot more when starting the RAFA course?
IS: it was a good experience for me. I had a chance to see how the production actually works; from choosing and ordering fabrics, developing designs and also marketing and sales. You don’t have these kinds of experiences while studying. Then again, at RAFA you have a chance not to think about the commercial part. That gives you freedom to experiment, which I think is very important for a designer.
WUW: The overall shapes and patterns for your designs are vivid, sharp and a completely different approach to regular feminine and flowing gowns and garments seen on today’s catwalks. Did you deliberately try to create something more interesting than the norm? or did your ideas just develop from all sorts of walks of life?
IS: It’s difficult to say. The simple answer is ‘both’.
WUW: Your graduate collection ‘Crystallographica’ created quite a storm at Fashion Week, with such stars including Kanye West blogging about it. How did this make you feel?
IS: I was very happy. It means that people like what I am doing and for me it is very important. I really appreciated that.
WUW: ‘Crystallographica’ is the name of the collection. Could you tell us more?
IS: I had these ideas from the beginning. The inspiration for my collection comes from geological forms of crystals and minerals. I was interested in the shape and cut of the stones and tried to recreate it in the garments.
WUW: The collection is made up for hundreds of triangles and diamond shapes. Was this process time consuming?
IS: (Smiling) I must say, it took quite some time. I cannot say exactly how long it took. Every piece of my collaboration is unique. For each garment, I made several tryouts, or maquettes, before the certain shape is found.
WUW: The fabrics used in the designs look very soft and wearable, yet the designs are very sharp. What fabrics and process did you use to structure the outfits into staying stiff and prominent?
IS: I had to find my own techniques to create these effects. I used plastic pieces, which I put between the layers of fabric. Depending on the fabric, the thickness of the plastic was also different. I liked the effect of transparency and lightness combined with structure.
WUW: Fashion Week Daily stated that the collection “managed to defy the clichés and put out looks worth remembering”. Do you agree with this?
IS: I hope so; it is difficult for me to judge my own work.
WUW: I know that we can’t wait to see what you do next with designs here at WUW. Could you let us know of any new and exciting collections coming our way soon?
IS: Thank you! I am working on it, but cant tell you much yet as I have just finished working on ‘Crystallographica”.
[ See the full collection of Crystallographica here ]