Dasha Pashevinka – Interviewed

This weeks interview is with a designer poised to take London Fashion Week by storm with a show at On|Off on the Saturday of this most hallowed of times in the fashion calendar. It’s a return to the Fashionworked world for Dasha Pashevkina, and one that is LONG overdue. I was lucky enough to meet her with her first collection and one of the things that impressed me about her was not just the collection or her passion, but her eye for detail and her desire to understand the world as a modern place and how she can create beauty yet uniqueness.

You have an upcoming show at On|Off during LFW (which I can’t wait to see). I have a friend who won’t leave their house without switching the light On|Off first, do you have any pre-show superstitions?

There are so many things to consider when you’re doing a show and it’s easy to forget something with everything that’s going on. But if I do forget something (generally speaking) and go back to find it, I have to find what I’m looking for and then look in the mirror before I leave (weird I know).  I also have a lucky T-shirt from Portobello that I bought years ago, which I will wear on the day of the show.

What do you think is driving the sports luxe boom?

That’s a really good question.  I think it’s something that’s been around since the ‘70s with its popularity going up and down over the years since.  I think people used to focus much more on what they’d wear when they’d go out clubbing, now there are a lot more people that want to wear something cool with a twist everyday or to festivals, etc.  Thinking about it, it’s probably a millennial thing with social media playing a big part in this.  There are also some great textile mills making amazing, innovative fabric, which has really opened up new possibilities too.

In a crowded marketplace designers have not just become the producers of ranges but also their faces. People are more than ever interested in connection to the people behind the label name, with this comes a prominence that had only existed in the global labels before. Are there pros and cons for being the visible face of a label rather than just a creative in the shadows?

In terms of pros, it’s great to get some recognition when people take an interest in the person behind the brand, but ultimately it’s the clothes that have to speak for themselves. I think it’s a definite pro to be able to communicate how a brand came about, and context is so important.  Having that distinctive brand narrative in such a saturated marketplace is an important point of difference.  In terms of cons, I guess I just want people to judge the brand based on each collection rather than on the persona behind it. I think focusing too much on the designer can actually limit a brand’s appeal.

When you design, do you arrive at the sketchpad with an idea or does the idea come from just starting and seeing where it goes?

I’m always doing research, taking pictures and adding to my scrapbook of finishes, techniques, fabrics and patterns. The initial idea of where I want to go however can really come from anywhere. This season the inspiration for the collection actually came form an old racing jacket that I found in a vintage market. I love the collar and the details and it set the tone for what has followed. Once I’ve got an idea of the direction and collection’s story, I go back to my scrapbook and filter it accordingly. Of course things then inevitably change a lot along the way in creating the final samples, but once you start (which is the hardest bit) things kind of take on their own momentum.

Was Sporty your fave Spice Girl? Mine was always Victoria Adams, heard she married some footballer called Beckham or something!!!

LOL. I think Posh did marry a footballer and I think he played for Wigan right? (joke!) I love Wigan, by the way. Just to answer your question, I was always torn between Sporty and Scary; I think they both knew how to work that iconic ‘90s sporty look.

Does Eastern Europe get enough credit for the designers and labels it produces?  

I’ve lived here in London since I was a teenager, so for me London is home but I’m connected with Eastern Europe, as that’s where my roots are. So I feel a lot of pride when I see the fashion talent that countries like Russia and Ukraine are producing. I think more and more Eastern European designers are getting great stockists and editorial coverage, so I think things are moving in the right direction.

The hints and notes of sports luxe blend into your garments, how do define the elements that are included so they don’t become too sporty?

Fabrics are a key feature this season and the collection features some amazing, embossed, waterproof fabric from Italy, which is sporty and luxurious. This fabric is unusual and I knew I wanted to use it in a way that would let the fabric speak for itself. In terms of maintaining a sporty/luxe balance, having trained as a stylist, I think about the final look. You might see an almost-couture beaded skirt with a simple vest top. It’s all about offering interesting and fun combinations.

I think we’ve met; it was during your first (?) season at Me London with friend of the site, Arina Pritch. Does the ‘5’ in PA5H represent five sisters? I think the cutest dog was also there!!

Small word, yes we did! The ‘5’ in PA5H is a reference to the five members of the family – my mom, dad, two sisters and myself – and that cute dog is Mr Skyler Grey, who is now a bit of an Instagram star.

Of all the fashion capitals, why did you pick London as a base?

I moved to East London to study at Istituto Marangoni and for me there is no other place that supports young talent and offers the possibilities that London does.

People assume being a designer is all about glam and doing pretty drawings. What’s the real truth? Long days, sleepless nights and a quest for the next idea?

Getting ready for the SS2017 show has been a huge effort so it’s by no means glamorous or easy. It’s hard work with late nights and lots of running around, stressing and juggling things. To give you an idea, a typical day might involve a trip to Shepherd’s Bush to source fabric followed by dashing across town to get something else, a fitting which ends up with several pieces being reworked followed by chasing a half dozen suppliers whilst doing a newsletter and updating social media stuff.  I’m lucky I have people helping me.

You are stocked in at least nine countries; do you notice regional differences in what sells well in each country?

One thing I’ve learned is that you really can’t predict what will sell. The Middle East fashion scene for example, has changed so much with contemporary brands basically taking over.

I’ve filled the Delorean fuel cells, we’ve got enough road to hit 88mph, where back in time are we going?

Lets go back to Studio 54’s heyday. It would be truly amazing to hang out with Any Warhol, Grace Jones and a young Tom Ford rubbing shoulders with Bianca Jagger on that horse.

Could sports luxe for pets be the next big thing?

Let’s just say I think it’s time we made Mr Skyler a hoodie!

Sports luxe has a connection to sports obviously, but which sports do you play? Darts and ten-pin bowling can be counted.

Darts and pool are always good and I like a bit of competitive dancing too. I’ve basically been living in the studio lately but when I have a bit of free time I like to go running – it’s a great way to de-stress and keep fit.

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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