Everything changed with the wide accessibility of information and the ability to travel. Previously, you had to go Europe to see and feel the clothes, to analyze the designs. These observations would then evolve into certain techniques. Today, there is no such isolation and it only depends on you if you are ready to use the available information. The difference is simply in the desire to do it. When you have been doing something for 30 years, you start believing that you already know everything, which may be true for people professionally hammering nails or driving a tram, who I also respect. However, in design, culture, aesthetics, and fashion — echoing respective social processes — continuous internal work, development, and renewal are necessary.
When I am in Moscow, I meet with our graduates who are already working in many fashion houses, such as Ulyana Sergeenko, Terekhov, Akhmadullina, Victoria Andreyanova, Sorry I'm Not, Walk of Shame, Edem Couture, Ostin. Some have their own brands. They are the sources of information I use in my current programs on Creating Your Own Brand and Commercial Collection. Their experience is very valuable, because there is no single rule in this business, only individual specifics. In the classroom, we talk about all this and analyze it using specific cases.
In Omsk, in the framework of the Commercial Collection course, I usually take students on tours to see our local Omsk brands and studios, such as Alexander Bogdanov, Zalesov and Skok and Forma.
Alexander Bogdanov has a successful brand and an interesting creation history. He was ahead of his time creating a European-style factory using a unique technology with textile fabric and knitwear combined in a single unit. This is a very complex, basically unprecedented technology. Before Russian fashion became popular, he had to pretend his was a European brand: there was only the abbreviation in the name, and we had no idea this was an Omsk-based company. When the truth came out, we were invited to the production facility and were very much surprised. Every time I visit this factory and see everything from the inside, I admire it in a new way, because of its scale and very high quality. In addition, he created a huge number of jobs, and when he began advertising as a Russian brand, many of our graduates came to work for him. He was very precise in identifying his target audience and intentionally selected these romantic girls and women.
Zalesov and Skok is a small enterprise with a distinctive history and men as the target audience. Forma is a company established by our graduates without any foreign investment, with high professional standards and a perfect sense of style and modern processes in clothing design.
I sometimes advise Moscow students to go to KM20, Tsvetnoy, LeForm, Traffic or Tretyakovsky Proyezd (although the latter is a bit scarier) and study the clothes, carefully turning them inside out and analyzing the sewing. There is always something to learn. Tretyakovsky Proyezd looks too posh, with its guards in formal suits, who are, however, quite nice. In every store, there are devoted consultants, fans of their brand. When we were looking at the Saint Laurent collection, the consultant was very enthusiastic and told us about Anthony Vaccarello, compared his work with the collections of Hedi Slimane. When two enthusiasts meet, they find common ground very quickly. Once, our Omsk graduates took me to the store of 3.14 Project on Trubnaya Street. I was surprised that there were students who had never heard about such stores or were afraid to go in, despite the democratic traffic we saw there. It is all in your head; if you want to know, then go and see it yourself.