“It started as a childhood experiment,” the designer said of her unlikely design medium, which has since evolved into wearable art.
Art, music and nature from her homeland of Russia have made a huge impact on her designs; being the main source of inspiration for her Designow submission, a pair of floral pants motivated by typical Russian patterns. The designer describes her style as “Star Wars style” because it is inspired by culture, and a merge between futuristic and sustainable.
As a designer, Kalabina gets particularly excited seeing other people wearing her pieces. She always keeps her ideal consumer in mind while designing, and strives for her collections to be meaningful through sustainability and wear-ability.
“I keep current with trends through fashion magazines and Pinterest,” Kalabina says, “but most of my consumer insight comes from watching people in the street.” The designer also credits her fashion acumen to paying special attention to her favorite designers’ works, including Alexander McQueen and Haider Ackermann.
Kalabina’s design process is both unique and innovative, as she always starts her practice with a rough sketch and fabric selection. The designer enjoys the process of draping her garments, and values this time to refine the look of her piece. Following this process, she creates the templates and the patterns, sews and photographs them. Voila – a garment is born!
In order to create both creative and wearable designs, Kalabina incorporates fabric painting, pattern making, ornament making, amongst many other art techniques into her process. Specializing in dresses, pants and skirts, Kalabina occasionally ventures into accessories, like headwear.
“I name all of my collections, and I called this particular line for Designow “Folk Rock” because it is inspired by that music genre,” she says.
“I definitely benefited from Designow’s mentorship,” Kalabina says, “because it was my first experience selling my designs, and I got a real taste of the fashion industry and the consumer market. Witnessing the mounting attention my pants are receiving online is very exciting.”
“Since my job is to design, it’s good to have people take care of the rest,” states Kalabina, crediting Designow for the alleviation of her post-design stressors.