Diana Kvariani

Este texto faz parte de uma série de entrevistas que fiz com estilistas da Geórgia, que originaram artigos publicados na versão impressa de Dezembro de 2013 da revista Made In Tbilisi.

Tbilisi-born fashion designer, Diana Kvariani has always had the personality of an artist. ‘As a baby, I used to like drawing everything that surrounded me’, she remembers. At first, she thought she would become a painter. Only then, after she started making clothes for her Barbie dolls, Diana realized that her real passion was for fashion.

However, going to a fashion college wasn’t her very first step after graduating from high school. Following her parents’ big advice, she studied International Business at Tbilisi State University. Still, the dream of becoming a fashion designer never left her mind, nor her heart. By the time she was twenty-one, Diana moved to Rome, Italy, where she studied fashion design, at Instituto Europeo di Design (IED), a world-renowned Italian school of fashion, design, communication and management.

Graduating in 2007, Diana held her first fashion show in Italy. After that, she moved to Moscow, Russia, where she was able to work for famous Russian designers, getting plenty of experience in the business of fashion. In the year of 2011, back to her motherland Tbilisi, Diana created her brand, Diana Kvariani. Her biggest motivations for that were the love for her job, and the thought of her clothes being interesting for Georgian and non Georgian women. ‘I started making some dresses to sell; as the business went well, I decided to open my own store in 2012. It was a hard work to begin, but in one year, I already had a lot of customers’, she adds. As a fashion designer, what matters the most to Diana is when she sees people walking down the streets wearing her label, Diana Kvariani.

Diana believes, – in her own words -, that three things are what it takes to make a quality article of clothing: ‘High quality materials, perfectly sewn, and a good package’. Therefore, all the fabrics and sewing materials used in Diana Kvariani’s collections are brought, by herself, from Europe – mostly from France and Italy. The designer participates, twice a year, at Premiere Vision Paris – the biggest exhibition of textile in the world.

Travelling is one of Diana’s biggest sources for inspiration: ‘I love to travel a lot. Meeting new people, new cultures… When I visit a new country, I get inspired so much!’. She adds that inspiration comes from everywhere. Also, movies and music inspires her as much as travelling.

When asked about Tbilisi’s fashion, Diana is sure that it is very artsy, creative and chic. “Georgian girls have a great taste in fashion. They can look so stylish from wearing just a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. They always know what’s in fashion: they watch fashion channels, read fashion magazines, they go to Tbilisi Fashion Week. I think fashion has always lived in Georgians. Even when there are hard times”.

As a Tbilisi native, Diana enjoys her hometown’s mountains and the summer time. Her favorite places are the old town, Leselidze, Sololaki, Avlabar. Nonetheless, she adds: ‘My go-to place is Mtskheta, Georgia’s former capital from centuries ago. I would like to have a house there!”. She has a beautiful philanthropic side as well. Her biggest love and passion are animals: “My dream is to give help to all homeless cats and dogs in Georgia’. For her future goals, Diana aims on increasing her brand, and opening more stores inside and outside of Georgia. Nevertheless, starting to sell ‘Diana Kvariani’ worldwide is her main goal. Her next collection will be presented at upcoming Tbilisi Fashion Week. “What can I say t? It will be colorful!” she joyfully adds. Diana Kvariani boutique is based at 4a, Takaishvili str., Tbilisi.

Lako Bukia

Este texto faz parte de uma série de entrevistas que fiz com estilistas da Geórgia, que originaram artigos publicados na versão impressa de Dezembro de 2013 da revista Made In Tbilisi.

 

Born and raised in Tbilisi, Lako Bukia has established her signature in the fashion world with a lot of talent and hard work. Starting her studies at Tbilisi State Academy of the Arts, she has also been a student at world’s prestigious schools, such as Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London College of Fashion and Instituto Marangoni, in Italy. Today, Lako is a second year master’s student at Parsons The New School of Design, in New York. With her unique and eye-catching designs, Lako Bukia will conquer the world. Her clothing line is very popular not only in Tbilisi, but also around the globe.

When she was a second year BA student at London College of Fashion, Lako was an intern for stylist Katie Burnett, who gave her the first big push: “When she saw my graduation collection, ‘Mushroom’, Kate fell in love with it, and kind of forced me to start my own label, while I was still studying at LCF”, tells Lako. It was only the start of a promising career. “There was no way of going back anymore, as every season I was growing and my label was growing as well. I did lots of different experiments, shows, showrooms, met lots of different people in the industry and it was it. It just happened naturally”, she adds. At first, she didn’t realize how much work it required as a designer and businesswoman. Lako decided to get back to her studies, when realizing, by the great experiences she had, the importance of guidance by talented and successful people in the industry. After one year of graduation from LCF, her label was shown in several important fashion events, such as London Fashion Week, Berlin, Paris, New York and Kiev, just to name some.

Lako believes that a good design, a right fabric selection and good finishing make a quality article of clothing. She buys her fabric from different places, like Turkey, India, New York and London. It all depends on what she is looking for. Georgia is also a go-to place: “There are several nice stores that I am working with, and they always call me when they have new arrivals. I always try to be the first one to buy”. As a fashion designer, defined style, among other things, is very important for her, and she adds: “Always staying true to yourself. Knowing what is happening to the world, the society and surroundings. Reading, researching, making changes – at least, make new exciting things.” For her, a fashion designer has to communicate with the world. When asked where she gets inspiration, Lako said it comes from all different things: travelling, finding new things, such as an exhibition, a book, a building. “That’s my inspiration starting point. Then I develop and research it more, which can lead to a completely different thing”, she says.

During her first year at Parsons, she discovered the ‘draw thread’, a very old lace making technique, which she developed and took into a different level, modernizing it. Starting from two outfits for the school’s project, she did a Fashion Film, which was featured in Fashion TV. It turned out into a collection of 20 outfits, as the project was very successful. “It is a unique collection, because fabrics are all hand-made, and to create each fabric, it took days and hours of hard work”, she adds.

Due to many international requests, Lako is opening her online store, which will make easier maintaining sales around the globe. She has many dreams and goals to achieve. “One of my aims is to go back to showing at London Fashion Week again and being part of this amazing event.  I want to make my business successful in every level and make it as internationally now as possible”. As Lako is currently focused and dedicated on finishing her Master Degree, she won’t be showing on the upcoming Tbilisi Fashion Week, but hopes to be part of next season’s.

Every chance she has, Lako flies back to Tbilisi. “I think because I have been away for so long (8 years), I started appreciating my city more and more”, she says. She loves spending time at her studio/shop (located at Palishvili st, 39), and Solasi, the old neighbourhood. With friends, she goes to Tbilisi Marriot Hotel’s Café, for a tea time, and at summer, Radisson Blue Hotel Terrace is the place to appreciate a good view of the city. “There are many places that I really love because of the memories I have. I can say in general I really love my city”, she says. Tbilisian’s lifestyle is one thing Lako enjoys. “On one glance you will feel like there are no job or money problems, everyone is kind of relaxed enjoying their time, even though the economical or political situation in Georgia is not something you can be proud of. But I also can say that Tbilisi is a very Romantic City, especially for me”.

Lalo Knitwear

Este texto faz parte de uma série de entrevistas que fiz com estilistas da Geórgia, que originaram artigos publicados na versão impressa de Dezembro de 2013 da revista Made In Tbilisi.


Photo: instagram.com/lalocardigans

With their signature big, chunky, handmade knit cardigans, LALO Knitwear has made a big entrance in the world of fashion. Founded in 2013 by Tbilisi’s twin sisters Lalo and Nino Dolidze, at first, the brand started with the cardigans, and now, features different styles of sweaters and hats.

Graduates from the department of Western European languages and literature at Iv. Djavakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Lalo and Nino had always had interest in fashion and style, “Especially knitting!”, as told by Lalo. The young brand started as the two sisters created new looks for every season, “as we pretended ourselves to be noted designers”, she adds. Their starting point was the cardigan, which was named “Vine”. Handmade knitted in large stitches, the inspiration for their first piece were the beautiful Kakhetian vines, seen hanging all around at open air markets during Tbilisoba, the annual October festival celebrating Tbilisi.


Photo: instagram.com/lalocardigans

The cardigan became extremely popular in a very short amount of time, as an outcome for pleasing every woman’s taste in fashion. The ‘Vine’ cardigan is a bold and hype version of a classic-old sweater – in other words, it is a statement piece for the wardrobe, as it can change any outfit in just a matter of seconds. Due to their successful experience, the designers started making several different other styles, which can take up to ten days to be created, as all of their items are handmade. Most of the inspiration for their creations comes from ‘Mother Nature’ – “Nothing and nobody can provide you with such brilliant ideas, as it abounds with them!”, added Lalo.

Part time English language teachers at the University, and part time designers, Lalo and Nino are not planning to settle down any time soon. Currently, their productions are sold in Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, among other countries in Europe. Adding to that, they are planning, for the nearest future, on collaborating with some more brands from other different countries. However, when it comes to their homeland, the sisters agree they enjoy the Old Tbilisi. According to them, Ortachala is “the most inviting site in this city for most city-dwellers, and we are not exception”.