MY PARENTS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH FASHION. We never have any fashion related anything at home. Maybe it comes from my art background. I always painted pictures with oils, acrylics, and pastels. At my art school, we just painted whatever we wanted. My teachers always said I have a good sense of color, like an impressionist with my brush strokes and colour coordination. That’s my earliest artistic memory, but now it is all mixed.
MY MUM TOLD ME she always dressed me quite differently to other children. I never cared about what I wore until I started snowboarding at 14 for five years. I was always hanging around with the guys and I started wearing guy’s clothes, like baggy jeans. Now, skateboarding is in fashion, but for me it is like a first connection to fashion. That’s why I still like the whole spirit and style of snowboarding and the oversized colourful clothing. I would love to continue to snowboard, but it’s expensive for your health to snowboard as a career, because like every other sport, you break all your bones and you’d have to retire at 26.
I NEVER REALLY FITTED IN RUSSIA SOMEHOW. Not any friend group. I was all by myself. I always wanted to see Europe, so I came to study at the London College of Fashion. I knew only Masha (Mel) in London. We started working together, growing together, becoming best friends and eventually starting Vrag magazine. That's how everyone always knew us as a pair. Now, we work with other people, but most of our projects are still together.
I ASSISTED ONLY THREE TIMES IN MY CAREER. Assisting American Harper’s Bazaar was quite an eye-opening experience. We shot the Rothschild family. It is just a completely different level of production and styling. Everything involves more people and responsibility. You have to know how to make people comfortable. It seems like to get into the publication, you really have to work for it.
MY WEBSITE WAS DONE WHEN I FIRST CAME to London. A friend of a friend did it for me in a day. I got a few commercial jobs because of the website with young teenage brands, like Lazy Oaf x Kickers. Since I started young, everyone keeps asking me to do really pretty girly shoots and they consider me basically as so. Now, I want to style expensively working with an interesting cast, good set design and themes. We changed our style to digital and I still want to keep my styling quite artistic, young and fresh, a bit crazy with layering.
I WOULD DEFINITELY LIKE TO WORK FOR BRITISH VOGUE! It is rebellious and has this craziness. I love Francesca Burns. She’s actually me, but a bit older. She has this vision. She can make very commercial work, but with a very young mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I love loads of different magazines, like Vogue Paris and Another Magazine. I like Interview Russia, because (Editor in Chief) Aliona Doletskaya actually has something to say. It was the first publication of its kind. She will always be the person who brought fashion to us.
IF YOU WANT TO BE COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL, you have to have your own style but you also have to be quite versatile, so you can do everything your client wants. It always has to have a balance between real and fantasy! You respond to how Katie Schillingford, Katie England, and my friend Lotte Volkova style. They define the mix in styling, mixing expensive brands and young designers and vintage.
I AM QUITE PICKY WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS. I work mostly with Masha (Mel), and also with other photographers, like Lea Colombo. I really like Harley Weir but I haven’t worked with her. These are all young girls, photographers in their mid ‘20s. I find working with girls better. I worked with guys, I don’t think I quite respond to what they want. They can’t really translate what I want to say. With girls, I find it easier.
THE INDUSTRY IS A SMALL CIRCLE. If you want to work at the big publications then you have to know someone, otherwise they would never look at applications. It's only friends of friends. But I'm still trying. It’s all office politics and connections as well. I never had any friends (inside helping me). I did it by doing it.
I CAN WORK ON SUPER SHORT NOTICE. Once I did all the call ins for this shoot in three days and there was lots of trouble with timing and shipping, but I did it. It is stressful, but I can.