“The person inside your creation has to feel good.”
Yulia, could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background that lead you to fashion designing? I did my early education in my hometown Minsk (Belarus). After finishing technical college as tailor with honor I went to Germany. Here I’ve got degree Bachelor of Arts in the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld last year. Now I’m studying on Master in the same place.
What do you like most of being a designer? Being creative. Creativity is fulfilling. The daily work life is quite different from the rest of the professions, you are seeking out for inspirations in all sorts of places, researching about it and finding ways to produce something meaningful and artistic. The process is different every time. Being able to work with people to share ideas and be inspired is the best thing in the world and what I love the most in work. To work together and create something beautiful and inspiring.
What is your philosophy about the art of fashion? Talking about your wearable art creations, is there a specific look you are going for, beyond functionality? The target of my dresses is to make a big presentation. I would describe my collections as avant-garde. I want my works look appealing as well from far away as close up. I experiment and use technics, which rather would be used in costume production.
Do you come up with concepts for designs first or is it more of an unplanned thing? Has a project outcome ever surprised you? My design process for each work always begins on inspiration board. From there it is an unfolding puzzle. I research a lot about the things on my inspiration board and try to connect my impressions together. It makes me see things differently and interpret my new ideas. It goes through a series of changes transforming to different shapes as I work on them.
Could you briefly describe your design process, from idea to a finished product? How long does it usually take you to design one article of clothing? So, after research I imagine, how some idea could be described in material. Textile examples help me to test, how they behave and if they could be wearable. I start to drape or make patterns. Step by step my sketchbook becomes full. By fitting it with a model I check and correct my outfits. If everything is right, I work with original materials. I’m used to do a lot of handwork, but organizing myself helps me get everything ready on time. I probably work on many dresses at the same time. So it is difficult to say, how much time exactly I use for one.
What captures your attention when looking for the materials you use in your designs? What kind of materials do you use to make the clothes? At first I search for material, which would make it possible to realize a silhouette. It has to fit to concept. I try to make my collections stable, to give them longer life.
Do you have any fashion rules when putting an outfit together? I use my knowledge, which I’ve got during internships by theater and cinema productions. One of it means, the person inside your creation has to feel good.
How durable are your products; is it possible to increase their longevity? I am always aiming to create objects that last. I take a lot of time researching about my ideas and the fabrics that I would use to create my final product. In a way, the fabrics play a key role in my concept. The materials I use on my work lasts longer normally.
Yulia, is there anything you “Do It Yourself” now that you never thought you would? Honestly I probably don’t think about. I simple do.
Do you have a personal favorite among your designs? In your own view, what is your masterpiece? I think, it’s too early to answer this question now. I hope it comes in future.
What was the first article of clothing/project you ever designed? One of my first big projects was collection of paper dresses, as I was kid. Together with other children we designed eight outfits and were presenting them on different contests.
What do you usually do to recharge your artistic side? When it comes to your fashion designs, what inspires your creativity the most? To get some fresh impulse I go to travel, see new places. Good music supports me while I’m working.
What do you look forward to in a working day? What is your vision of your perfect working day? I like to be in process. But it is also awesome to get some work ready, on which you were spending many days.
What has been the most memorable/exciting experience of your career, so far? One of them was as I won the contest “Designtalente Handwerk NRW” (www.designtalente-handwerk-nrw.de) in 2014. The winner works were exhibited in Kologne. Short time after this I participated in one long time exhibition “Viva Victoria!” in Huelseman Museum in Bielefeld. Last year I won two stipendiums.
Who are some of your personal favorite fashion icons? Is there a person that is a fashion inspiration to you? In a way I respect the creativity of every individual and try to understand their idea behind the art. Recently, my visit to Alexander MsQueen’s exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum was very inspiring.
What would be your dream collaboration/project? Why? I would like to make dress for Björk. It would be an honor to work for someone of that calibre.
How do you feel about eco-fashion? It is important to take care about the world, where we’re living. It is personal question for everybody. In the view on this I can say, that I try not to consume fashion. I have my favorite pieces, which I combine with something new.
What are the biggest challenges you have to overcome as a designer? I would say, to get in the right mood, to find inspiration and get an idea.
What can we expect from Yulia Lebedeva in the future? After finishing my master, first I plan to do some internship. But you never now…