One To Watch from Fashionclash Festival 2017! Berlin based designer Sonja Litichevskaya presented her amazing womenswear collection and graduate collection inspired by Russian classical avant-garde /constructivism and Perestroika art in Maastricht. I had a little chat with the designer about her work. Photos by Svenja Trierscheid.
Name: Sonja Litichevskaya / Age: 27 / Hometown: Berlin / Menswear or Womenswear: Womenswear
KALTBLUT: Does fashion makes sense?
SL: Yes, fashion makes sense for me, because we, especially designers, can express different things with the help of fashion. Especially now, because we are living in the epoch of radical changes – new political situations in the world, new technological and economical developments.
KALTBLUT: Hello. Welcome to KALTBLUT. Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival?
SL: FASHIONCLASH provides young talents with an opportunity to present and to sell their works – this is a colourful creative mixture of everything. I am very happy to be part of it, especially with the theme of this year „Fashion makes sense“ – yes, we really express something with fashion and attract attention to important themes. To find out what designers/artists think about it and how they show it in their works is especially inspiring and exciting for me! I would like to advise designers to participate, because of the nice family atmosphere, perfect organization and totally professional set!
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us something about the collection you presented at the FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017? What was your inspiration?
SL: My collection is inspired by Russian classical avant-garde /constructivism and Perestroika art. These two epochs are especially interesting because they both manifest cultural change – in visual arts, theatre, architecture and music. I was born in Moscow, the city, where both cultural trends had their highest manifestations.
Constructivism was the epoch of so-called “Industrial Arts”. Ideologists of this movement inspired artists to create “consciously usable things”/ they were dreaming of harmonious person, using comfortable things and living in a comfortable city.
Based on constructivists design new types of tableware, armatures and furniture which were easy to handle were created for factory mass production.
Constructivism was the time of contemporary fashion’s birth. Working woman had to wear comfortable dresses, trousers and overalls. Many constructivists, the most famous Varvara Stepanova and Liubov Popova, were designing clothes and textiles. Textile design was inspired by the new Soviet world – new symbols of the time were airplanes, tractors, sportsmen or geometric figures.
Perestroika art was also innovative in all types of art. The air of freedom and contacts with western culture, which were forbidden before, created a real breakthrough in visual arts, literature, rock music, film and fashion. During Perestroika many visual artists were also rock musicians. In my collection I try to combine the most typical style elements of the both cultural movements – constructivism and perestroika – in order to create a new, innovative style. This is a collection for young people, who are also living in the time of radical changes – new political situations in the world, new technological and economical developments. In each outfit I try to combine many elements of both styles: jackets have typical 80s cut, made of leather, as for example metallic blue leather, applications and prints on the jackets are geometric figures, inspired by abstract paintings and posters of constructivism. On the lining of my outfits I use the slogan „let’s save the world“, it was the title of „Kino“ rock band album & rock festival in the 80s. Overall reminds workers overalls of 1920 – 1930s, but it is made of high quality wool, which again corresponds with the fashion trends of the 1980s. Prints on the outfits are inspired by textile and posters of the 1920s as well as perestroika artists. Some of the prints motifs are symbolic – white star – symbol of the future and hope, or arrows and lightnings – symbols of rapid changes.
KALTBLUT: What kind of material did you used for the collection?
SL: As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve used elements typical for both epochs, only natural materials – leather (worn in the 80s and the 20-30s, for example pilot jackets), wool and cotton.
KALTBLUT: What challenges did you face during the design process?
SL: To make intersections of both cultural revolutions visual – What was the „life feeling“ and how can I represent it with forms and colours? Which silhouettes were typical for both epochs and how can I melt them to unanimous synthesis?
And naturally practical aspects like: Good time management is very important for creating a collection, it became a real challenge for me, sometimes I had to overcome some obstacles with models fitting or silkscreen printing. There were also problems with the first outfit/sketch – many fittings were required to create an adequate silhouette. It was a time full of emotions and hard work with some sleepless nights which has enriched my personal experience a lot.
KALTBLUT: How would you describe your self and your work?
SL: Born in Moscow, grown up in Berlin, graduated from Esmod Berlin in fashion design in October 2016. Already at the age of 12 I wanted to be a fashion designer, but it was absolutely confirmed during my first internship at Starstyling, I was 17. Search for my creative identity is especially important for me – my origins are in Russian culture, where constructivism is the most important „label“. I also belong to „Perestroika children“ generation, because I was born during perestroika time. I grew up amidst perestroika art, because of my father who belonged to this movement as an artist.
KALTBLUT: What would you say that is the biggest influence to your design process?
SL: At the moment I am specially inspired by the posters art of the 1920s and contemporary digital epoch.
KALTBLUT: If you had not become a fashion designer, what would you do instead?
SL: I can not imagine having another profession. As designer you are free to develop yourself in other professions – graphics, costume, photography, performance or visual arts. Fashion design is not only about clothes, it is also about story telling, which you develop into general concept. People have to understand your message. Nothing is worse than commercial art without soul.
SL: An intellectual of any age with individual ideas about cultural evolution.
KALTBLUT: What was the first item you have ever designed? And who was the lucky one to get it?
SL: The first items were designed for my dolls as I was a child and also Halloween costumes. My first professional experience goes back to Starstyling internship in 2007, it was a charity project auction (association for support of children with AIDS) of unique sneakers designed by Berlin fashion designers, where I was allowed to work with Starstyling team on creating design for “Vans” shoes.
KALTBLUT: What can we expect from you in near future?
SL: I continue to create my own things, but I would also like to get experience at the big fashion labels.