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LVIV INSPIRED: Unexpected Hub of Talent

Three designers to watch discovered at LVIV Fashion Week sit down for an exclusive introduction.

FRBTK
Courtesy of ©FRBTK

The end of 2019 brought us unexpectedly to the Ukrainian city of LVIV and the head turning LVIV Fashion Week which is surprisingly a true hub of unexplored young designers on the rise.

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With an exclusive interview after seeing their shows in Lviv our Fashion Director KATARINA DJORIC talks to three inspiring women designers – Marina Forbatok who her family business turned into contemporary label FRBTK., Maria Starchak founder of namesake STARCHAK, and Nadia Kovalchuk the founder of ZELESOVA. These three determined young designers talk about their beginnings, inspiration and future plans. 

FRBTK
Courtesy of ©FRBTK

MARINA FORBATOK

Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?
Since I can remember, I was always related to the fashion industry. My grandma Maria spent all her life and resources to put the foundation of our family’s business in the fashion industry. I remember the story about how she started her journey. She used to tell me me how she was knitting mohair berets while all the children were asleep. And I remember her happiness when my mom decided to continue building our brand. She started modernising our business processes and design. In that way for me, It was impossible not to be related to fashion. While growing up, I always had a desire to create. Today as a third generation of fashion designers I never felt like a fish out of water, this truly is my calling. My mom and grandma have well-trodden the path for me. If you were born in Forbatok family, then you’re a fashion designer! 

Besides your family did you have also any designer inspired you to pursue this career?
I’m very inspired by our Ukrainian Fashion Designers Ruslan Baginskiy and Vanya Frolov.

What should we know about Ruslan and Vanya?
They produce a high-quality Ukrainian product. Also, they are down to earth with no pomp that many people “suffer” from today. I look up to them and hope to have such a successful brand as my colleagues Ruslan and Vanya. I’m very happy for them and following them because they truly are the best!

What are your personal sources of inspiration?
My inspiration is my self-motivation at the moment. I really would like to do something beautiful, something that attracts people’s attention. My passion is not just to produce a quality product but to create garments which make more sense.

FRBTK
Courtesy of ©FRBTK

Could you describe your design process to our readers?
Firstly, my initial focus is the range of colours that will be in trend in the coming season. Mostly, I come up with ideas with models in my head mixed with some kind of styling or accessorising. The main challenge is to come up with the first 5 models and combine them into one concept. After that you need to turn into a true tailor with a feeling for construction. Sometimes you need to re-sew entirely or to alter a garment. Often to only add or remove a couple of centimetres. For me each piece is like my child, and I am wanting it to be the best. And, the last stage is my favourite, photographing the collection. Then you see how everything came together and you feel that you spent your time in the right way.

If you could describe your design aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
Freedom, assurance and sexuality

Tell us about your SS20 Collection?
Spring Summer 2020 collection is very important for me as it’s my first major step into the fashion industry. My goal was more than just to show people what will be fashionable next season, but to do something bigger for our society. I was depressed because of the problems with rubbish in our city and country. That’s why I decided to show my guests the reality of what awaits us! Respirators and gas masks which we need increasingly due to pollution and even radioactive particles. Rubber boots are a grim visualisation of what will be wearing to walk through tons of rubbish. With the threat of bacteria and viruses we are to increasingly face more serious health problems and pandemics. As a result, we’ll not be able to wear beautiful open shoes. 

FRBTK
Courtesy of ©FRBTK

What are the key pieces?
Coarse wide zips, elastic bands, snap clips and coarse belts in combination with lightweight fabrics. The restrained image that looks in a totally different way of wearing accessories.

What does the F on each model stand for?
It’s my lucky symbol. And I would like to share it with my clients who automatically become a part of our Forbatki family.

Do you have particular pieces you enjoy designing and making more than others?
I can tell you that I’m falling in love with suits. I wear them all the time. However, my idea was to create something different this time. A suit which you can wear both at work and at a party.

Do you think today’s fashion can still influence society?
Of course, I believe that fashion can affect society. It all depends on what designers are going to give to people. People who still appreciate the beauty and the design of a garment are also on the lookout for soul and sense. Therefore, I would like to do something more than just give well made clothes. I try to attract the attention of society on important things that we always forget in our fast paced world.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I wish to build a brand that will make someone happier, someone more confident in themselves, someone a bit more motivated in some important steps. My dream, I don’t know if I should tell you about it, but I would like to take part in Paris Fashion Week. I got my last name from my lovely grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side. My desire is to continue the life of our family name. It was a dream of my grandma that Forbatok’s becomes a cherished part of people’s wardrobes and I want to make her dream come true. Thanks to my mother this path is much easier for me and I’m not starting from scratch. She taught me a lot and always helped me to avoid mistakes.

Finally, what is your motto?
Nothing can change us. I have those words tatted on my right hand as a reminder.

Keep up with Marina Forbatok and the latest from her label on Instagram @forbatok

STARCHAK
Courtesy of ©STARCHAK

STARCHAK

Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?
I think I have always wanted it, despite my mother wanting me to be a musician. However I followed the steps of my grandmother who used to sew for the whole countryside. I think It’s genetic

How did you come to start your own label?
While working with individual clients I came to understanding that I want to bring to life my own creative ideas. Winning the National contest for young designers gave me more confidence and strength to create “Starchak”.

Which designer inspired you to pursue this career?
Since my teenage years I used to admire the amazing personality of Coco Chanel which inspired me with her story of success and unique combination of simplicity and sophistication.

Who would you consider to be the most inspiring person in the fashion industry today?
I admire Phoebe Philo for integrating into women wardrobe pieces with man’s cut. By doing so, she gave them a comfortable future. This is the base of modern fashion for me.

STARCHAK
Courtesy of ©STARCHAK

What are your sources of inspiration?
I’m trying to find inspiration in everything that surrounds me. At this stage I’m inspired by the image of a confident woman. She is strong and she can do everything: pursue a carrier, give birth, bring up children and literally build houses from bare ground.

Could you describe your design process to our readers?
At first I inspire myself with an idea that appears in my mind, which exists there for several days and then gets materialized on the paper. Then one of the most difficult parts comes : choosing the fabrics.

If you could describe your design aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
Strength, femininity, oversize.

Tell us about your SS20 Collection?
The title of the collection is “She”. Sculptural collection which breaks the stereotype idea of classical femininity. I intentionally used textiles that not long ago were mainly meant for production of working clothes, thus, implying the message that women today are not to be interpreted in simple ways.

This is a story about a new kind of a woman, that will never remain permanent in her image, but will always preserve her initial appealing and tender nature.

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STARCHAK
Courtesy of ©STARCHAK

What are the key pieces?
For me, the key elements were green overall and brown dresses, both made of eco skin.

Do you have particular materials you enjoy designing with more than other?
I really like to work with eco-skin and knotty fabrics which preserve shape. With the help of the last you can find new silhouettes and create complex architectural forms.

Do you think fashion can still influence society?
In my opinion fashion and society are closely intertwined with each other and go hand in hand, so the influence is mutual.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
In the next five years I dream about opening my own showroom in Ukraine and to organize my own production. Also I would really like to show my collection at different world fashion weeks.

What is your motto?
Modern clothing is asking more questions while being short of answers.

Keep up with Maria and her label on Instagram @starchak_official

ZELESOVA
Courtesy of ©ZELESOVA

ZALESOVA

Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?
I dreamt of becoming a fashion designer as long as I can remember. The miracle of turning my sock into an evening dress took place when I was only a three year old. Yes, I did that!

Which designer inspired you to pursue this career?
I am strongly inspired by various Haute Couture collections. Those are impressive pieces of art, backed up by hard and thorough work. 

Who would you consider to be the most inspiring person in the fashion industry today?
The personality, who inspires me the most today, is Lee Alexander McQueen. I am impressed by his extraordinary approach to fashion and creation.

ZELESOVA
Courtesy of ©ZELESOVA

What are your sources of inspiration?
I take inspiration from any art surrounding us: music, architecture, sculpture etc. It fills me up with a never ending stream of ideas straight into my consciousness. Various genres, styles and authors. I am specially inspired and encouraged by extraordinary, daring art objects, that often look like extraterrestrial creations.

Could you describe your design process to our readers?
It’s hard to describe it in words. It starts with an Idea, of course. I imagine a shape, silhouette of a garment, choose a fabric, and then, finalize with accessories.

If you could describe your design aesthetic in three words, what would they be?
Functional, extraordinary and impressive.

Tell us about your SS20 Collection? What are the key pieces?
The key pieces of collection are perfectly-tailored dresses and overalls, trench coats of unusual cut, crop-tops, asymmetrical skirts. Colour palette is based on natural deep tones with bright-yellow accents and completed by basic black.

ZELESOVA
Courtesy of ©ZELESOVA

Do you have particular pieces you enjoy designing and making more than others?
It’s a big pleasure to work over complicated cut elements. I like that feeling of delight, when the idea obtains its shape. I like creating details, that give a mood to all the collection, as well as combining looks and styles.

Do you think fashion can still influence society?
Fashion is likely to influence the society. Fashion offers, it gives a choice… It gives an opportunity to choose among billions of beautiful things. Take it, express yourself, be yourself.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I plan to work and develop in the area of garment design, experimenting, achieving and making my customers little happier.

Keep up with Nadia Kovalchuk and her label ZALESOVA on Instagram @zalesova_brand

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