By Maisie Abell
With special thanks to Anastasia Vikhoreva
Ana is 20 years old and from London. She is in her second year at Leeds Arts University studying Fashion Design. Away from fashion, the likes watching Forensic Files and being outdoors.
What made you choose fashion design?
It was a somewhat random choice, I’ve always liked arts and crafts and making things and I like clothing. For A Levels I chose rounded subjects so I could then do whatever I wanted, and at that moment, when we were making decisions, I thought I’d enjoy fashion design. Leeds appealed to me more than other places.
What or who are your main design inspirations?
I don’t have any specific design inspirations because it comes from anywhere and everywhere - random art pieces, seeing someone wear something or a weird shadow shape. In the past term we did tailoring as a base so I focused on looking at the history of that. My main inspiration was early nineteenth century men's tailored clothing and tail coats. I combined that with a more modern design.
What’s your take on the fashion industry right now?
A lot of people have taken more of an interest in the fashion industry in these past few years and you can see changes and innovation going on in terms of the new designers, but there’s really a dichotomy - at one end you have new, innovative designers and on the other end you have a lot of older, established brands that aren’t going to change easily, and from a business standpoint that’s quite understandable. It’s really dictated somewhat by the system that is already constructed. In terms of sustainability, one of the main issues is materials and I don’t think it’s necessarily a design aspect, but more of a textile aspect. A lot of brands, for example H&M, they’ve committed to only using recycled polyester and sustainable cotton, but polyester, no matter whether it’s recyclable or not, when you wash it, it gives off microplastics and this causes an issue, so we need a replacement for that.
Who are your current favourite fashion designers?
I don’t actually have favourites in anything because I don’t know how I could judge someone to be better in every aspect than someone else. I like certain aspects of certain people, and certain things I don’t like. I’d say lately I’m into Charlotte Knowles because of the structure of her garments and the way they look and the colours. I also quite like Yamamoto - more recently I’ve taken a liking to minimalism so I’m quite enjoying his work at the moment. And not necessarily a designer, but a brand I’m liking is Post Archive Faction - they’re based in South Korea. I like their designs and conservative use of colour; they have some interesting elements.
Expectations vs. reality for a fashion design student
That’s going to vary greatly depending on your course. For my course I thought it’d be a bit more fast pace, that we’d go into it and we’d do a lot of things and do a lot of experimentation, but then it was quite laid back. We didn’t do as much and weren’t expected to reach as high of a level of proficiency as I assumed. I think this is down to the course because if you look at other courses, straight away you make a whole outfit, whereas we mainly focused on individual pieces and for the first year and a half we didn’t even look at trousers or bottoms in any way.
How would you describe your personal design style in three words?
Romantic - I quite like soft colours, soft shapes, the whole somewhat historical vibe. I think quite neutral - I like things that are unisex and at the moment I don’t have any specific
agenda to my designs. And then, at times, questionable - sometimes I’d say that my designs aren’t always practical and can’t be used in a real world setting a part from within
the creative industry, but I don’t think that’s a necessity, and it’s enjoyable.
What do you want to do in the future?
I haven’t really decided what I want to do in the future, but one of the main things I’d like to do is have my own brand. Otherwise I really want to gain more experience in the industry and see where that takes me and how I am influenced by other people and the things that I experience.