EcoWalk. Felting Designer Diana Nagorna: I Want to do Something Meaningful, Large-scale in the Field of Textile Art
“I’m not trying to satisfy all the demands of the market. I do what I like.”
Tell us how did you come up with an idea to felt apparel and fashion accessories? Why did you choose wool in particular and what drives your passion for working with it? As I am an artist, I always worked with different materials, always in search of new solutions . And felting became absolutely best of all, in which I realize my ideas in the best possible way. Clothing and accessories are just a form of creative thinking. Here the same laws apply – color, shape, contrast, proportions, integrity, rhythm, as in painting, drawing, sculpture. I like the warmth of the wool, the soft gloss of silk fibers. The whole work with the natural wool is tactile very pleasant. Felting is a little magical process.
What is your favourite part about being a designer? Do you have a favorite moment in your design process? I enjoy all the stages of creating a new product. I really like to invent, create in the imagination and on paper sketches of the future dress, draw details. To choose colors of materials. In these moments I directly feel how something new, beautiful is born. And of course the layout of the wool is a very, meditative process, in which for many hours you are immersed in rhythmic work and contemplation.
Were there fears in starting your own fashion label? Were you ever told “don’t bother?” Me, like any thinking person, sometimes there are some doubts. Am I moving right? What does it carry in itself? But, there was never any doubt that I was doing my own business and in my place.
Eco-friendly fashion seems to grow more popular every day. What are some of the characteristics of your line that make it stand out from the pack? Yes, fortunately attention to this topic is growing. It is very important for us. And modern felting, which becomes every day more popular in the fashion industry, just combines all the main points of ECO production. To obtain wool, animals are not killed, but neatly cut. In the process of felting wool retains its useful properties. To create products from the wool of the master use their manual labor. These things are not massive, each – as a separate work of art, the creation of which takes many hours of painstaking work.
In your opinion, how has your work evolved since you began your own label? I am always looking for a new “sound” of material. I love felting for giving me unlimited opportunities to express my thoughts and implement my ideas. From the very beginning – it is constant experiments, tests, even adventures
How durable are your products and is it possible to increase their longevity? Could you offer an upgrading and/or a repair service to your customer? Quality of work for me always comes first. Therefore, all products are durable. With proper care and careful wearing, they will work for many years, without losing their charm. The only danger, as for other wool products, is a moth. You just need to store these things correctly. Nobody has ever asked to repair the garments. This is one of the indicators of the quality of my work.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work? I am always fascinated by life and people who do something with passion. And, of course, the beauty and power of nature is my constant inspiration.
What is the timeline from having an idea to actually creating the product? How long does it take to felt a dress or a coat for example? Shortly describe your design process. Sometimes it’s one day, sometimes several months. For a simple dress you need 2-3 days. Coat about two weeks. The very process of making felt is very long. Laying of wool can take on average of 6-8 hours (for a dress). Felting about 1,5-2 hours, and finishing – 3-4 hours (basic), and embroidery, too, can take several months.
Do you have particular pieces you enjoy designing and making more than others? As such, there are no favorite subjects. Sometimes I get great pleasure from working with form, playing proportions, doing constructively complex things. Sometimes I am fond of textures and colors, I like to focus on complex decor.
What item in stock is your personal favorite? Are there particular items you love to wear yourself? I really like different accessories made of felt, voluminous scarves, sometimes I wear dresses, I also have a favorite jacket and of course shoes.
How do you recharge your artistic side? Where do you find new ideas and inspiration for your collections? The beauty of nature, art, books, movies, talented people, all are sources of my inspiration.
Most people say that ethical and sustainable fashion is too expensive. How do you usually respond to that? We always have a choice …
If you could choose any figure to be the face of your upcoming collections who would it be and why? Natalia Vodyanova, a special beauty miniature woman who has so much heart.
No doubt your designs are absolutely beautiful and speak for themselves, but handmade business can be complicated. What do you do to grow your business? What is your biggest challenge as a handmade shop owner? I stick to my style and focus on creating special, unusual things. I’m not trying to satisfy all the demands of the market. I do what I like. This highlights my work among others and attracts the right people. The biggest problem is the lack of time, of course (smiling).
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company? Everything is possible. Everything changes.
Is there anything you would like to do in the future? Someone you would like to work with or something you would like to accomplish? I want to participate in the International Biennale. I want to make a personal exhibition of objects of textile art. I want to do something meaningful, large-scale in the field of textile art.
What does sustainable fashion mean to you? Why it is important to you? Do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life? Awareness in everything is what I strive for in my daily life. And awareness in fashion is also very important today, as the problem of over-consumption and fast fashion becomes very weighty and dangerous. It is necessary to change something. Starting with yourself.
Should we educate people more about the terrible impact of fast fashion? Why? Certainly. It clogs and destroys our planet. Turns people into an endless and faceless conveyor of thoughtless consumption of low-quality products, contributing to mass degradation. It hurts.