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"352 grams of periodical integrity", "170 gram of certain happiness" and "190 grams of knowledge-intensive beauty": these are some of the labels you’ll find in the Spring/Summer 2018 collection by Russian fashion designer Alisa Kuzembaeva. After graduating from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London (in addition to Architecture before that), she’s gone back to her homeland to fight for female liberation and against women’s objectification. Today, we discover her approach towards fashion, feminism, and the future.
Hello Alisa. How would you describe yourself and your work? And where are you currently based?
I’m a sensitive person who relies a lot on impressions and kinaesthetic feelings, so I use fabrics as clay in my work, which is usually a mix of a current mood and its materialistic interpretation. I'm based in Moscow (Russia).
How would you portray the essence of your brand in three words?
The garderobe for the brain.
Did you always know it was going to be fashion that you would end up doing? Does it feel like the destination?
I was trained as an architect but my dream was to create clothes, so I decided to try fashion straight after my first degree.

Generally talking, do you have to deal with things that you never thought of having to deal with in fashion, or do you lack something that you were convinced about finding in this industry?
I think I’ve never had any expectations because I was trained from the beginning in an environment where industry didn't exist. It was just like a flight to the open space.
Do you have any idea of what the destination would be for you, if it were not fashion?
I'd be an architect or a make-up artist.
You are both a Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art womenswear graduate. Could you tell us what kind of force pulled you to the London direction? Did you enjoy your student years over there?
I started my education at the British Higher School of Art and Design, which is a branch of the University of Hertfordshire. I was immediately impressed by the British approach; it was a big contrast to the classical soviet education. So my dream was to study in London and I think it’s been the most intensive period of my life so far because I studied with extremely talented people, I was taught by great professionals, and I was in an absolutely different cultural context. I feel it really built me both as a person and as a designer.

Both of the schools you have studied at are pretty renowned institutions, did you feel or experience different approaches towards fashion education? Which one did you feel more comfortable with? Would you be able to choose one over the other?
Yes, there is a difference. I really like the Royal College of Art because their main concern is quality, the next idea; it’s really helpful when it comes to business.
After the London experience, you nested in Paris. How is the city of lights, love and fashion treating you?
I feel that Paris is a more honest and direst city, and I like it.
Your new collection is devoted to a Russian expression: упакованная женщина – literally translating as ‘packaged woman’. Can you give us a couple of lines about why did it earn your attention and why should it earn ours?
The Russian woman, I think, despite all her duties, lives in a patriarchal world, and instead of liberation, the current agenda gives more responsibilities and less rights. Despite living a wealthy life – in contrast to the past –, inner freedom is unreachable. Media sells goods and woman.

Some of the garments of the Spring/Summer 2018 collection are detailed with prints of nutrition value such as "352 grams of periodical integrity", "170 gram of certain happiness" and "190 grams of knowledge-intensive beauty". Why did you use these ironic comparisons of a woman to a product? Is it an attempt to bring the inside to the outside, the covered to the surface?
Yes, exactly. What you see is not what you get, so don't put labels.
You consider your clothes to be the “clothes for versatile personalities”. What do you mean by that? And who else are your clothes for? Who is Alisa’s ideal client?
I see my ideal client every day: sometimes they come to my workshop and we have a small chat – and I really love those moments. They have big dreams, a lot of duties, they put my clothes on and become little warriors who fight against traffic jams, long working hours, dirty dishes and world’s injustice.
Is there a person/label (let´s say you can time travel, too) with whom you would like to collaborate? Why?
I want to travel to the future, when we will use cruel free and environmentally friendly materials, farm grown leather, or even grow protein coats or something like that.
What are your intentions and plans for the future?
Launching my own online shop, that provides an excellent service.

Nikola Čemanová
Sergey Lomakin
Kate Pavlova

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