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Interview with designer Sasha Gapanovich

I r i n a  R u s i n o v i c h
Photos courtesy of the designer

Interview with designer Sasha Gapanovich

Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career?

I have been involved in creative work since I was a child. My mother is a sewing technologist; in my early years, I spent a lot of time at the sewing factory where she worked. Thus, my choice of profession was very natural and harmonious for me. Immediately after school, I went to master my sewing skills. It was a design competition that awakened my creative ambitions: I came up with an idea of  making my own collection, and I eventually made one in 2003.

Would you tell us something about your background?

Yes, please. Here is my CV: 

School №13, the seamstress of the top lady’s wear, (1997—2000), Murmansk;

Moscow State Pedagogical University, Technology and Design faculty (2001—2006), Murmansk;
Namodnenie, special diploma for the Everyday Chic collection (2003), Murmansk;
Grantee, business incubator of the Murmansk region (2009);
Grantee, KPD 2010 city competition (2010), Murmansk;
Nordic Look international project participant (2011), Finland—Iceland;
Grantee, KPD 2012 city competition (2012), Best Production Project category, Murmansk;
Advanced training, Art & Design course, Central St. Martins College (2012), London;
Training, Metrics online academy of branding and design (2020), Moscow; 

And some of my best performances:

Barents Fashion Week (2008), Russia—Norway;
Fashion show (May 8—11, 2009), Norway;
La Belle Hollywood fashion show (2011), Oslo, Norway;

Beauty of the Polar Region regional contest, designer (2011, 2012), Murmansk;
Jury Member, Namodnenie, the regional festival of young designers (2011—2021), Murmansk;
Sicily Fashion Project (2015), Sicily;
Lexus Fashion Day (2017), Murmansk;
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, season 42 (2021), Moscow;
Lamoda fashion reality show (2021), Moscow;
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, season 43 (2021), Moscow;

Collaborative project between the Ethnographic Museum of St. Petersburg and the platform for young Russian brands Front (2021), Moscow—St. Petersburg; 

More than 100 publications in various international and Russian magazines, including but not limited to: Vogue Russia, Vogue Italia, L’Officiel Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Russia, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel Russia, Grazia, Glamour, BURO, The Blueprint, Beinopen, Purplehaze

Is it difficult to be a fashion designer in Russia?

It is, especially, in the regions. There is virtually no financial support for talented young people: for all the time I have been working as an artist, the situation remains unchanged…

You design wonderful things. I wonder who or what is your source of inspiration for work?

Speaking about the last collection, the main source of inspiration for it was my native land: the nature of the far north, its colors and textures, the general mood of the places I was born and raised in. 

It is also interesting how you combine femininity and volume. What is the story behind it? 

It’s hard for me to say what kind of story is behind this mix of large shapes and vibrant femininity. Yet indeed, in my early years, I would always gravitate towards the large shapes breaking into space and the flowing feminine silhouettes.

What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

My favorite parts are creative research, conceptualization, the sketching stage, and the demonstration of the collection itself, where you can see the overall result of your work.

Please define fashion.

Fashion is something very fast, bright, and cutting-edge, conveying the sentiments of society — and going one step ahead. 

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?

I analyze trends. Information comes from everywhere, even if you’re not specifically looking for it.

What do you think about work ethics? What kind of ethics do you think one should follow while working in fashion?

In my opinion, we shouldn’t only speak about fashion,  but also other areas of humanity.

How would you describe your personal style?

My lifestyle is rather ordinary: I am a working mum of four daughters living in the far north. I would compare my everyday life with something comfortable, cosy, big, warm, layered, and agender, but necessarily with a pair of interesting and accentual shoes (shoes are a particular passion of mine). 

If it is an event, it should be restrained, either of an interesting cut or a laconic silhouette, with print accents and a combination of fabrics. 

Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

I’m still a mother and a friend to my daughters, a designer of a brand with a mature, worldwide recognized name, not just a start-up. I enjoy a loyal following and have a boutique in Paris (which is my big dream actually). Time will tell 😉