June is all about new beginnings for us at HYPEFRESH. When planning for the summer, it meant re-thinking old practices and strategies. The outcome, "out with the old and in with the new", as our Chief and Editor says. It means starting over, something that London-based fashion designer, Yvailo Serafimov knows all about. From his culture shock in America to reading "Creative Visualization" and redirecting his brand, Yvailo represents what is means to demolish old associations of luxury to create new ideas that revolutionize our ways of thinking. At his core, he is saving the planet, one garment at a time. Check out our sit down with London designer Yvailo Serafimov below:
Q: Where do you find inspiration for the storylines behind your collection?
A: The stories are of great importance. They not only tell the audience for our inspiration, but they help us in the design process of a collection, putting very narrow frames around it. The stories themselves drop very unexpectedly and usually in the form of a word or two. ESME, our SS16 started with “Spanish gitana”. It was then left on the side for a year, where as a magnet, was attracting everything relevant to the theme. When the project finally started, the idea had already evolved in the story of this woman of prey, hiding in the fields of Spain, hunting as a cougar for young innocent male caresses, leaving her victims permanent scars as tattoos. The common between all collections is that I never look for inspiration. It floats naturally to me as long as I keep my eyes open and my curiosity on.
Q: Why fashion?
A: At the beginning, I had so many doubts whether I can be a designer. Nowadays, I'm sure I got the right place and it is my place. Why? For the dynamics – things change so quickly. For the creativity, nothing ever feels better than the freedom to express your ideas. For the challenge - to combine business with creativity. For the power of clothes – an outfit can lift you up or down. For the positive cause – a few full bags can have a deeper meaning than just pure shopping. For breaking the stereotypes – fashion without fur and leather, is the real future luxury.
Q: With so much chaos in the world, what are your top keys to balance. How did you reach each of these life essentials?
A: Failures are excellent lessons. We had a very difficult period two years ago: a fashion contest in which we got rejected with the feedback that our clothes from FREYA were too conceptual and non-wearable. That same year we sent emails to over 300 stylists, all unanswered. We did not have a showroom. We had no finances to back up the next collection. The professional problems transferred into personal. Meanwhile the lack of visible justice, watching the media being fascinated with fellow designers whose products were.... to call in a polite way uninspiring. Anger, rage, jealousy swapped my usual positivity. I got into a vicious cycle of negative emotions. One night I came across a book recommendation, called “Creative Visualization”. It changed my life like magic, it turned me upside-down. Within the next months we finalized our next collection and a showroom contacted us. Stylists began to approach us. Other designers no longer interested me. There’s just enough space for everyone under the sun. But most importantly, I found balance. I realized that actually I have everything that makes me happy, it was there, in front of me. Health, love, a partner next to me, supportive family, garden, where we talk regularly with nature. Now every day I send a thankful prayer, because we take life for granted, and it is not. It is our gift. As for the chaos, it exists everywhere, it always has. And chaos is not the problem. The problem is our attitude towards it.
Q: What moment in your life made you realize that preserving wildlife was a priority for you and how has that has changed your perspective on the world, fashion and your personal life.
A: As a Bulgarian I grew up under the communist regime, where variety was very limited and quantity insufficient for the needs of the society. Arriving in London to study, I faced the opposite of the Soviet system: Western consumerism where shopping is promoted as a therapy to feel happy.The socialmatrix makes you an infinite consumer, without asking where and at what price comes all the endless options.Clothes now have a very short lifespan: at the moment they leave the store, they are already outdated as new ones replace them on the racks. This model has literally conquered the world. The task then is simple: the surface and the earth's resources are limited; the human population is growing every day. The results: more people, less wildlife. My favorite quote says "Man is at the top of evolution, not to create problems for nature, but to solve them". As for myself, my list is endless: we have a veggie garden; we don’t throw food away; shopping only when the fridge is completely empty; recycling; composting in the backyard. We even re-use the file pockets we use in our folders.
Q: How has vegetarianism changed your life and outlook on animals?
A: I’m naturally a vegetarian, if I may say so. Since a kid I’ve never liked the taste of meat, fish and milk, coming from a family in which pork, lamb and beef were served daily. As a fashion victim that never stopped me in buying leather products. This reflected on ZAHRAA, our SS14 where we had leather items. Everything changed since our dog crossed our home. It made no more sense to use animal skins, as all animals suffer. So we ended the fashion stereotype that leather and fur are synonyms to luxury. I find nothing but outdated in a person with some dead carcasses thrown on top. It’s the 21st century, not the 1st. I am glad this brand decision mirrored in my private life too. Happy three cruelty-free years.
Q: Please share your "do's and don'ts" for any upcoming designers.
A: There are no “do’s” and “don’t”. There are no rules. I personally believe everyone should pass through their victories and failures, it is part of the route. The only recommendation I could share is: no matter how much advice they receive, it is their business and they know it best between all, so to be truthful to themselves and their gut feeling.
Q: If presented with the opportunity to design a costume for a Marvel character, what would she look like?
A: Cats, felines, babes, cougars are all present in our collections. It won’t be surprising then if I say Catwoman, even though she is part of DC, not Marvel. It would not be a surprise to admit that one of our next collections will be based on this dangerous pussy, but it’s a bit early to talk about it. As for the costume, she already has the perfect sleek, feminine, damn provocative outfit. The one I wish we had designed.
Head over to Yvailo.com for more updates and apparel.