In conversation with: Sushchenko
Behind the brand Sushchenko lies a strong-minded, determined and creative force; designer and founder Natalia Sushchenko.
Sushchenko's vibrant and unique collections explore the coming together of science, technology, art and fashion. The pieces are influenced by the demoscene subculture and themes of self-expression and freedom. The brand experiments with digital textile printing, patternmaking and silhouettes, focusing on combining textiles with detailed prints, colour and shape. We caught up with Natalia to find out more.
VYour designs fuse the science of technology with the art of fashion design. What is it about this combination that interests you?
SUSHCHENKO When I started working on my first collections I had some utopian ideas of how the fashion industry should adapt new technologies and apply innovations into productions, design and consumption practices. Since then, a lot of my thinking has changed and sometimes I feel almost like Jean-Jacques Rousseau discovering how scientific progress is taking us humans away from the beauty of natural beings. I don't want to bore readers to death, but I am honestly absorbed by fundamental thoughts around fashion and hope that technologies will help us to find a balance, that's one of the reasons I am offering Made-to-order and Pre-order. Another important part of technology that interests me is a fusion of digital art with tangible products, which is truly a factor that gives my clothes a unique touch.
VCan you tell us about the subcultures that have influenced your collections?
SMy first collections were based on deep research of demoscene culture, which is something I had been seeing in the 90s in Russia. I was heavily into computers, which was a perfect way to escape post-soviet reality in St. Petersburg. My work was always fused with digital imagery and I am always curious about the world of gaming, flat-earthers, orthodox or whatever it is, I find it fascinating. I am bored of mainstream and conservatism.
"Vasquiat makes it possible to explore unique collections online and soon we'll enter a virtual world where technologies will play an even bigger role."
VWhat themes do you explore in your collections and why?
SThe More I create, the more I look deep into myself. I am an artist first of all and I perceive my clothing as artwork. My latest collection is called "Fear and Loathing" and was influenced by Hunter S. Thompson's novel and of course the film based on the book. I am interested in exploring inner demons and the psychedelic perception of the world. A lot of prints I have created have that quality, it's almost melting on the fabric and it looks really cool. I'd like to see more colors on the streets and I hope my work will help people to express themselves.
VYou began your career as a graphic designer and have been particularly interested in technology. How has the technology of today benefited emerging designers like you?
SIt's very beneficial for independent designers that the internet makes it possible to showcase work to a particular audience. Vasquiat makes it possible to explore unique collections online and soon we'll enter a virtual world, where technologies will play an even bigger role. Let's see!
"I want my pieces to be an investment, something that will stay in your wardrobe for years."<
VThe silhouettes of your pieces are innovative, evocative and extravagant and the colours are vivid and striking. How do you go about deciding on the patterns and materials?
SI am not a minimalist, because it bores me. I try to work with a range of materials and prints, techniques. I often base my choices on the emotional part, in particular feeling the print of shape gives. It has to feel right, it has to be wearable and dynamic. I want my pieces to be an investment, something that will stay in your wardrobe for years.
VWhat is the style and mood you aim to reflect in your pieces?
SI want women to feel empowered and special, but also just simply happy. Did you notice how clothes makes you feel? I want that feeling to be positive and authentic. I create clothes that should be worn any day, to make it memorable and fun.
VWhat can we expect from future Sushchenko collections?
SThere's a beauty in discovering something new and I want to explore my creativity even more. I have figured out for myself, that my brand is not something that should be commercial and over-produced and I want it to stay that way. I love to make things that are rare and special, maybe even a bit crazy.