Eastern Promise Sasha Kanevski

Sasha Kanevski hails from Ukraine, but with his latest mini collection at Fier Showroom for Berlin Fashion Week, he’s heading cross continental. Find out why, despite his plans for everyone to be wearing his clothes, he doesn’t want to be an international designer (yet).

What was your starting point for this collection?
When I’m thinking about the clothes for a new collection, I tend to think about the classical men’s pieces like trousers, shirts and jackets and then some of the more futuristic stuff, like the half-skirt on the trousers, the digital printed carpet pattern and the quilted jackets. The installation here forms the background to make it feel like an old house’s interior. We took the carpets with us from Kiev and the furniture we brought from a Berlin film studio, to complement the pattern. But this presentation isn’t a full collection, only a part of it. We’ll show the full collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kiev, and after that, we’ll take it to Amsterdam.

Do you feel international as a designer or very based in Kiev?
No, I don’t feel international yet. I think it’s very important for designers to sell clothes in the place they’re produced, in their hometown. So, for me, as I work in Ukraine, I’ll sell my clothes there and after that become more of an international designer. If I try to go to sell my clothes in the USA or Europe, I always need to know that I have a background in my own place.

Masks are something you’ve experimented with in previous collections too. Do you feel like this is a darker side to the collection?
I don’t feel that it’s very dark – the masks are just like mad professors. We do them with Bob Bassett studio, a design studio in Ukraine – their most famous work is their masks for Givenchy.

You design for both men and women. What are the differences in how you design for each?
For men, you have to put functionality first, and sexuality afterwards – I like to be functional, particularly in the details and cutting. In men’s clothes that’s always the most important thing, whereas girls like beautiful stuff – “These shoes aren’t comfortable but they’re pretty so I’ll take them!”. So, sexuality comes first for women. I do think these two positions are the most important to consider in clothes. It’s the balance of these where you see the really interesting stuff. Design is so popular now, but I just like it when clothes are clothes.

What was the idea behind the digital carpet print you’ve used?
It reminds me of my childhood – when stuff is larger than life, and you haven’t seen much of the world. In general though, it’s more about clothes as classical items with just these futuristic details. My ideas are always evolving. Sometimes I’ll get halfway through something, the idea mutates in my brain, and then when I get the whole thing finished, the idea will have changed a lot. I don’t see anything wrong with changing your mind.

This is your second time in Berlin. Are you happy to be back?
Yes, I’m excited! I hope next time it will be a big show, or a big presentation in some incredible location. I’m not ambitious as such, but I do always want more. I love walking down the street and seeing my clothes on people. In an ideal world everyone would be wearing my designs!

By Josie Thaddeus-Johns

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