Natalia Suschchenko; extremely determined, strong minded, opinionated, and creative. Her collections explore the beauty behind the flaws in nature and humanity as compared to the glitches we see in some of our growing technologies today. Rising from a life filled with poverty, Natalia is a prime example of how hard work can pay off. The young designer is just beginning to leave her mark in today’s vastly growing fashion industry. Natalia shares her thoughts and detailed creative process while revealing plans for what’s to come.
Do you believe that growing up in a difficult financial environment affected your work ethic and determination?
Definitely, yes. This experience helped me realize how powerful money is and how unfair the system is. I am a communist, and I truly believe that success and status should not be affected by capital. I have many thoughts about how the future of the fashion industry should look like and I hope I will be able to make an impact on it with my work. I think it is our duty to change the world for the better instead of living the given reality. No matter who you are, there is always something that you can improve. In his book, “Design for the real world” , Victor Papanek suggests designers donate 10% of their time and creativity to the social tasks and common good. This is something I want to do in the future.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a young designer?
For me it was – to wake up in the morning. Of course, it is an irony, but it says a lot about being a fashion designer. Fashion is very demanding and you have to put all your energy in it. I am an introvert, I need space to be able to concentrate on my ideas and pull them into reality, so I find myself working through the nights. Being serious though, the most important challenge is to believe in yourself. Transforming the blurry imagination to the real tangible garment is a long path, so you have to trust yourself and work hard to carry your ideas into reality.
My parents bought our first computer when I was 7. I am still so thankful they did it, even though they were not that happy to see me and my siblings fighting over it constantly. My older brother used to be the most advanced user in family. He was the one who showed me first demos in dos. I caught myself on a thought: everything is possible on a computer. It is just an extension of our limitless mind. When I started to research a subject for my collection, demoscene organically matched what I wanted to do. Demosceners challenge the limits of a computer and I wanted to challenge possibilities of a garment.
What would you say are some of the benefits in today’s growing technology when implementing it with fashion design?
I love technology! I did one project with 3D printing and nothing had ever excited me as much. Just think how much it can change the industry! People will be able to print their own shoes from any materials at home and later clothing. It is amazing because it is a non-waste technique. You can’t imagine how much material we waste for production. Of course, our technologies have created environmental problems, but I hope our technologies will also solve it.
What would you say is the most important message your audience can experience from your collection?
It is hard to say, I hope my collection can show a bit of what is happening in my head while keeping the message a bit abstract. “I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.” (Vincent van Gogh) I guess, this will be the message, whether you like it or not, it is happening.
I don’t think that being just a designer is fulfilling enough. I feel sorry for the people who make small drawings on napkins and never carry out their dreams. Creation is the most important part of the process. You have to be a dressmaker, pattern maker, graphic designer, illustrator etc. Being able to actually create your garment from zero is the best feeling. I spent seven years working as a graphic designer but my work never felt complete until I transferred it onto fabric.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
I am not really good at planning, but I know that I will do what I love to do the most – making garments. It could be Barcelona, it could be Berlin or New York.