Issue 33
Alisa Ruban
Designer and mother to be, Alisa Ruban,
tells Playing Fashion about her experience as a fashion editor,
beauty and fitness routine and what fabrics work best when one is expecting a baby.
Alisa Ruban is one half of fashion sister design duo behind fashion label Ruban. Russian-born sisters Alisa and Yulia created the now internationally-sold label after styling careers left them wanting to create a label with looks they themselves would want to wear. The pair said launching their own label came naturally; from a wish to redefine casual dressing and refresh the Moscow girl’s everyday style.

Ruban is feminine, minimal and wearable, and has been named as a ‘Russian Label to Know’ by Marie Claire. All pieces are hand made in Moscow, adding to the label’s authenticity.
Playing Fashion has long been a fan of Alisa’s personal style and work, from her styling to her support of Playing Fashion’s first digital issues in 2009.

Here, Alisa shares with us her fashion journey and tips on what to wear and do when you are expecting a baby.

I STARTED AS AN INTERN AT GLAMOUR MAGAZINE, then, Marie Claire and then returned to Glamour. At the time I was also working as a freelance stylist, having gained great experience in publishing and working with advertising brands, I decided it was time to create something independently, do it alone and become my own boss.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A SHOPOHOLIC with the never-ending problem “I have nothing to wear”. That’s how Ruban was started, the first clothes that I made were designed for myself. When I found a business partner I began to understand more that a business has a potential growth, and about the business factors involved in producing a successful clothing line.

BEING A FASHION EDITOR has given me an understanding of clothes and the experiences to try out combinations of clothes in different ways. The endless possibilities created with different colours, prints, cuts and textures of fabric is what I love about clothing.

IT STILL SURPRISES ME that some people still believe fashion is creating the craziest things possible. Some people define levels of success by trying to be the most outlandish, or have the weirdest collection. All that matters to these people are parties, social events and products that have nothing to do with real life, or the consumers.

I THINK ONLY A FEW DESIGNERS think that fashion is not just a game or an opportunity to show-off. Fashion is a serious and flourishing business like any other. At Ruban, we aim to make conscious, thoughtful decisions and want to grow not only by following the right vibe but developing our own strategy and aesthetic. This is a never-ending process of work; it’s not a hobby.

ONLY LOVE CAN DO MIRACLES TO A WOMAN’S SKIN! The rest is self-improvement. For me, the best beauty result that you can get is by regular visits to a beautician. Home treatments or a particular beauty product will never be as good if you compare it to a professional treatment. For example, LPG is the best and the most effective tool that helps me to keep in good shape. Physical exercise is essential, I feel like if you are not active, there is no sense in doing anything else. Of course, if you are pregnant this rule doesn’t apply. At the moment I’m enjoying this special period in my life.

MY FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCT, although I would go crazy if I had to choose just one, is a moisturizing facial crème by Crème de la Mer. Dry shampoo by Klorane is another favourite of mine. It’s my must have – it helps my hair feel fresh and gives extra volume.

I’M ABOUT TO GO BACK TO MY NATURAL HAIR COLOR. Maybe after a while I will change it again to a lighter shade. My favorite colorists work at Aldo Coppola, at the moment I am in Florence and will stay here for a couple of months after I give birth.
Luckily, Aldo Coppola are based in different cities around the world so I won’t have to find another hairdresser I like!

AS A WOMAN I THINK IT’S VITAL TO USE BUST CREAM. I use Clarins with a firming effect, go for the same brand if you are looking for a cream for tired legs or feet. It has a cooling effect and will help you relax after a long day. If you are pregnant it helps as you can’t be on your feet all the time throughout the day, you can get tired much more easily than usual.

I’M NOT A BIG FAN OF GYMS OR DIETS, as far back as I remember I’ve always eaten what and when I want. Exercise for me is an individual session with an instructor. Yoga is not really my thing, maybe I haven’t found the type that suits me yet. After my pregnancy, I would love to start boxing and ballet classes along with sessions with a personal trainer. I believe that it is highly important to have balance, being a super-obsessed health freak wearing micro shorts and uploading workout pictures on Instagram every second is not for me. You have to have a system, like three times a week with different exercises. If you want to eat a donut – just eat a donut, if you’re exercising right, you shouldn’t be afraid of gaining weight.

I’M NOT FOLLOWING A SPECIAL DIET during this time of my pregnancy. However, if I was pregnant again I would cut out all fruits, as they contain too much sugar. I have favored a high protein diet, or at least a diet that contains more protein than carbohydrates. I find this makes it easier for your kidneys to manage all the liquids in your body during pregnancy. You will have less swelling or if you’re lucky you won’t have any at all.

I LOVE FINDING SALE BARGAINS! Designer labels I love are N°21, Alexander Wang and Erdem. Cabinet is a very interesting store in Berlin; they have a great selection of well-known designers along with up-and-coming industry talents. For online shopping, I usually go to the designer's own website, Net-a-porter and The Outnet.

FUNNY ENOUGH I ONLY BOUGHT very few clothes during this pregnancy; my bump is quite small so I wear the same jeans as I used to wear before my pregnancy. Though they are one size bigger and quite low-rise. I’ve found cashmere and lycra the best fabrics to wear when pregnant, along with simple leggings for everyday wear.

MY LATEST FASHION DISCOVERY has been the amazing vintage shops in Florence. I bought two clutches from the '50s and '60s as well as a hat from Yves Saint Laurent. Another find was a ‘20s inspired fringed leather clutch. For a long time I didn’t get that much pleasure from shopping, but I found myself loving it again here in Florence.

TO ME STYLE MEANS having the freedom to wear what you want and not to be concerned with others' opinions, prejudice, age and social status.

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO RUBAN’S THIRD FASHION SHOW that’s coming up at the end of March. Although I won’t be able to be there because it is so soon after the birth, you will see the designs that I have been working on before my departure to Florence. I am very satisfied with the results – that is the most important thing. We are getting ready for collaborations with Moda Operandi and other big online fashion destinations. We are also in conversations with stores to discuss getting the brand sold in as many destinations as possible.

Photography by Ivan Kaydash; sitting editor: Svetlana Muller; make-up by Anastasia Efimenko.
Opening image: cardigan and skirt by Vivienne Westwood; shoes by Other Stories.
Words by Jenny Brownlees

Be ready to roll with these intense beauties.