Yulia Yefimtchuk started her career as a fashion designer fresh out of Kiev’s Institute of Decorative and Applied Art and Design, where she graduated in 2010. Drawing her inspiration from Soviet-era restrained lifestyle, focusing on propaganda posters that highlight a certain image of women, Yulia’s recent collection might be another fashion world’s reminder that beauty can often be found through difficulty and constraint.
Vogue Ukraine has recently featured one of your pieces on the cover with Marina Abramović and Crystal Renn. What was your reaction when you saw it?
This Vogue cover was a surprise for me. I haven’t discussed the usage of my clothes with the editors and haven’t created anything special for the cover. After the shooting Marina Abramović wanted to buy the red shirt and she has already got it!
How would you describe your label?
Yulia Yefimtchuk is a fashion brand specializing on limited edition womenswear collections. The heroine is a free personality, the city inhabitant who lives here and now, being discret and humble, thereby looking even more seductive. She looks harmoniously in any environment, creating her own unique style, inspired by nature. With an intelligent and sincere design, clear colors, even and abrupt lines and minimalistic cuts. Straightforward classical silhouettes are complemented with constructive details.
How do you see “here and now”?
A person who lives here and now knows how to enjoy every minute of life regardless where and in what circumstances she/he is.
You’ve referenced people like Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandra Ekster, Lyubov Popova in your work. What made you choose the aesthetics of Constructivist movement for the recent collection?
The seasonal collection FW 14-15 and the capsule collection for Hyeres festival draw inspiration from the 1920s, when the foundation of the new Soviet Era was laid. The working class had to take a leading role in society and enjoy all the benefits. One of the directions in Soviet design during those years was the development of functional workwear.
Constructivists divided all clothes into two groups: overalls for production, which varied depending on the kind of work, and overalls, intended to use in special conditions. Constructivists associated the decoration with the structure of the clothing. The main features of the overalls are functionality and appropriateness, the costume had to underline the human movements. Simplification, exemption from unimportant details, all the decorative and embellishing sides of clothes were functionally unjustified.
Who would you most like to see endorse your brand?
It would be great if one day my brand would receive the support of established fashion houses such as Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons or Prada.
Some of your pieces with propaganda slogans like “Peace to the world” or, “Everyday life becomes more joyful” reflect the current situation in Ukraine. Do you think designs should have a political viewpoint?
I may sincerely declare that I hate politics for so much distress, pain and deaths it causes. I started elaborating the collection early in September 2014 the revolutionary processes hadn’t begun and slogans “Миру-Мир” ( “Peace to the world”), “ Cкаждым днем все радостнее жить” (“Everyday life becomes more joyful” ) were just part of the aesthetics of the Soviet Union posters, which urged people to believe in better future, that inevitably would have come if everyone had been working hard.
Color was used very sparingly in your latest FW 14-15 collection. What was behind this strict approach to the color palette?
Constructivists' cut usually represented a combination of rectangular and trapezoidal parts of different colors. Such simplicity of construction was not only a manifestation of the common for the 1920s absolutism of geometric shapes, but also implied the industrial production of clothes. Aleksandra Ekster for example, suggested: "The costume of mass usage should consist of such simple geometric shapes as rectangle, square; rhythm of color”.
Your participation in Hyères Fashion Festival has attracted more attention to Ukranian fashion in general. What are your thoughts about the local fashion scene?
I think the Ukrainian fashion scene is now facing a significant attention from the rest of the world, it had never been so strong. It goes along with the general attention of other countries towards the political situation in Ukraine. It is a hard and high (valuable) time for Ukraine to disclose its powerful creative potential, which is quite authentic and strong. I mean that we have many talented designers and artists but, in general, the fashion industry in Ukraine is only establishing.
How do you see the future of Ukranian fashion?
It is hard to predict the future of Ukraine in general and not only the future of its fashion scene. Integration of Ukraine into European Union will facilitate the local designers entering the European market more easily and they will face the huge competition. The unique product and genuine talent will speak for themselves.
What are your plans for the next six months?
It would be great to see the collection FW 14-15 and capsule collection for Hyeres Festival in the new stocklist – Opening Ceremony New York, LA, Tokyo. The new collection SS 15 will be presented in the Parisian showroom and we hope to cooperate with more European stores. At the moment we are discussing an amazing collaboration which will be exciting to work on along with the seasonal collections.