Having graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Shvelidze participated in BeNext Fashion Design Contest in 2018 and set out to establish his own label, centred around his “ironic, postmodern, queer cosmos”. “My brand is all about activism, especially in LGBTQ+ matters, and I think that in such a conservative environment – in which individual’s self-expression and self-definition is profoundly limited – going against the artificial rules of behaviour is essential not only for our queer community but for our future development as a society”, the designer says.
The Spring/Summer 2020 show saw the non-binary cast – made up mainly of Shvelidze’s friends –screaming, stomping and trotting down the catwalk – blood dripping down their faces and bodies. The collection reimagines the bedtime stories his grandfather would make up when Shvelidze was a kid. “He would delight me with either Georgian folktales, or the tales invented by him, that were full of unreal, strong, smart, and beautiful creatures.” It also channels his infatuation with gothic novels and sci-fi films with their weird and wonderful “elves and fairies, witches and prophets, vampires and monsters”, materialising the feeling of fear they evoked in his garments. ‘Here is love, and here is death, lit by neon Komorebi.