Skin, the border between the opaque interiority of the body and the exteriority of the world. Within an increase in relevance of tattoos, humanity displayed their inner thoughts and feelings into forms, shapes and letters engraved in the layers of their skin – there to stay.
The Kiev-based brand TTSWTRS, short for Tattoosweaters, founded by costume designer and celebrity stylist Anna Osmekhina in 2013, aims to empower the unnoticed by bestowing the attention of being tattooed to the masses. The brand invites iconic tattoo artists to print their designs on fabrics using a silkscreen method, which is eventually integrated into the collection. The first collection hit the zeitgeist of the youth culture and within just a week was sold out at the renown high-fashion retailer Colette in Paris.
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 24.jpg
Kiev is known for its underground culture. How much has it influenced your aesthetics?
It influences the creation process itself a lot. Kiev is full of talented and determined people who are creating outstanding work. The environment that arises through that ambitiousness is very competitive and you become more demanding of yourself in such conditions. Due to self-doubt, you push yourself to dare more.
You have a history in costume design, where you create garments for imaginary worlds. What triggered the need to start a fashion brand focused on the optical illusion to wear tattoos?
I would definitely get my body tattooed if I was sure that all these pictures remained relevant to me in a year. I only got a little heart on my arm in honour of my grandma. Once, during a meeting with my friend and her boyfriend, tattoo artist Ien Levin, I realized how free he felt being completely covered in tattoos. I admired that and offered him a small collaboration ‘tattoosweaters’. The idea behind was the creation of clothes for our creative colleagues who wanted to dare more without committing to a lifetime with tattoos. An exchangeable second skin, which makes you feel comfortable and fierce. We created the first samples and sent photos to Collette in Paris. They immediately made an order. But honestly speaking, I never planned to establish a clothing brand and to develop it in such a serious way. 
You imitate naked skin with the choice of fragile mesh and nude silk as your base fabrics. Is this an intention to elevate the naked female body as a dedicated aesthetic choice, or is there a political meaning behind?
We are rather attracting attention to the problem of self-acceptance. I believe that almost every person doesn’t mind changing his or her appearance from time to time. During my research for the design process, I explore the moment when and how a person makes a decision to decorate their body with a tattoo. The euphoria of the tattooing process itself, the awareness of choosing the drawing, the dedication of your tattoo artist – all coming together in a momentum. I want people to experience at least some of these emotions by wearing TTSWTRS.
As a curiosity, I’ve seen you’ve featured black models in your lookbooks; but this ‘nude’ colour has been a bit polemic recently, since ‘nude’ can vary from almost white to almost black, depending on the person’s skin colour. Are you planning to broaden the base colour spectrum to both lighter and darker hues?
I’m so glad you asked this! We’re working on it for our upcoming Fall/Winter 2019 collection.
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Our skin is the boundary line between the self and the outside world and, therefore, seen as the first medium of communication. What do you want to transmit to your audience?
I am just happily surprised that I’m succeeding with doing what I love more than anything. My challenge is to make my work more interesting from season to season and act with no fear.
You allow the wearer to explore the experience of being tattooed without the need to get under the needle. What do you want your customers to feel when they wear your designs?
I want our customers to feel the freedom of choice, to experience this feeling of greatness when having tattoos. Tattooed people attract my attention and I, personally, perceive them as unique. I, therefore, want my customers to experience a reaction similar to mine when I look at tattooed people – excitement and admiration.
For many years, tattoos have been identified as the pinnacle concept of individuality. How does the idea of reproducing such concept, in identical form and used by different individuals, distort the significance of tattoos itself?
Recreating the concept of tattoos, to a certain degree, destroys individuality. At the same time, it enables a sense of freedom, the sensation of being in the present. With my designs, I want to bring this energy into the fashion world.
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 21.jpg
You’ve worked with some incredible tattoo artists, from Ien Levin to Nesheva Ulyana and Arnest Makhin. How did these creative collaborations come about? How do you select the artists you want to work with, or what characteristics do you value the most?
During conversations with tattoo masters or simply by just looking at their work, I imagine the ‘bodies’ that would wear those artworks. But more often, I have a particular idea in mind and our team is searching for the artist with that specific style.
What is your dream tattoo artist to collaborate with? Or maybe you can give us some hints on the next one…
We are currently working with fantastic artists such as @tattoo_sinyak and @rostislaw_ts. I personally wish to work with @moganji. I'm in love with his minimalistic style and how he draws animals using simple lines. It's fantastic! Also, I can imagine collaborating with @_dr_woo_. He has a realistic style of drawings with an incredible sensitivity for the use of shadows and lights. 
Finally, what’s up next for TTSWTRS?
We’re currently finishing our Fall/Winter 2019 collection. Also, we started a new project called The Body. Within this concept, I’m looking for a way to interpret the idea of acceptance of our body and us as a whole.
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 7.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 9.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 13.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 16.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 17.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 19.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 22.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 23.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 25.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 26.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 27.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 28.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 29.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 30.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 31.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 32.jpg
Ttswtrs Metalmagazine 33.jpg