Interview: Alina Zamanova
Alina Zamanova is currently a third year student at the London College of Fashion studying a BA (Hon) in Fashion Illustration. Her artwork has a sense of uniqueness and identity, often representing the portrayal of ugliness, a subject that is not usually depicted in the fashion world. We spoke to her at the Barbican centre a venue that Alina frequently finds herself visiting, not only to view work but also to create.
You are originally from Ukraine but moved to London in 2010 what inspired you to move to London?
The initial move was due to University, I found out that there were interviews for the London College of fashion so I applied, hoping to secure a place at the university. From about 12-years old I was inspired by London and wanted to move here.
What does independence mean to you?
For me personally independence started when I was around seventeen that is when we graduate in Ukraine. However my independence grew stronger when I moved to London, that’s when I finally felt independent as an individual, London has enabled me to grow as an individual.
At what age did you start to show an interest in fashion?
I first got interested into fashion when I was a teenager experimenting with different styles. Even when I was younger I was be fascinated by fashion week and I would attend shows. When I was fourteen my father introduced me to Alexander McQueen and that was a real inspiration for me, I was captivated with the Alexander McQueen skull T-shirts that was when I really became interested in the fashion industry.
How would you describe your experience at London College of fashion and what has been your most valuable lesson?
London College of Fashion has really pushed my boundaries as an artist enabling me to explore new techniques, my course has a great sense of freedom and the tutors really encourage us as individual artists. The tutors do not restrict our creativity; the course also allows you to choose to graduate as a designer or a fashion illustrator, so I like the way students have a choice in London College of Fashion it really has shaped me as an individual.
You have a very unique style that sometimes includes the use of floral designs, wings and the female body. How would you describe your style and how has it developed?
I have two different styles when it comes to my drawings one of them is my fashion illustration that is very edgy and quirky. I often adapt a more freestyle approach to my fashion illustration with themes such as ugliness. My other style would be print design, which is inspired by the female body and nature, this type of work is very detailed and I really enjoy the final outcome.
What fashion designers illustrators and fashion people in general has influenced you?
Alexander McQueen was the first designer who inspired me from a young age and from him I developed my interest in fashion, many artists and designers influence me such as John Galliano, I am often inspired by up and coming artists and designers.
How did it feel to see your work featured on the Vogue Italy website?
It was featured after an exhibition I took part in, I was lucky to have had my stand there. It was such an achievement and an amazing feeling to see my work featured on the talents section.
Last year you interned at Alexander McQueen what was the experience like and how did you go about getting it?
As part of my course at London College of Fashion we have to take part in a internship, I started applying early on to try and secure a place, then my course tutor told me about the internship at Alexander McQueen, so I had a interview and was offered a trial day. At the end of the trial day I was offered the internship. While I was interning I was designing prints designs for T-shirts and scarfs, most of the time I was working on the commercial department, the work I created was manly by hand. The internship was the best experience and I really got a chance to experiment.
You have a wide range of skills in print textile, animation and illustration what skills do you prefer?
Print textile and illustration, I would say that they are my strongest skills.
You worked with the Anne Sofie Madsen fashion brand to create a look book for their SS14 collection, the look of it was pretty unique how was that created?
This was once again part of my course; we had to choose a designer I choose to use her in my project, as she was an inspiring, up and coming designer. I created a cover with a strange texture with print, I was inspired by her collection and used that throughout the look book I wanted to give the cover a look and feel of leather and metallic as that reflected her work.
You’ve also done a lot of solo exhibitions and worked with brands such as dash magazine to showcase your work, are you currently working on any projects?
I am currently focusing on my final measurement and collaborative projects as part of my final year, as well as doing interviews, whilst also applying for many different graduate schemes. I am hoping to get the Stellar McCartney graduate scheme or perhaps return to Alexander McQueen and do some more work there.
What advice would you give to other students or people aspiring to get into the fashion industry?
I think it is important for people to stay true to themselves it is really important to be an individual. I would also say if people are looking to get into drawing, print or design it is important to constantly work on your portfolios and to push your own limitations. I personally used to only produce monochrome pieces, now as an artist I’ve pushed my boundaries and started using colour within my work, I think as an artist you should constantly evolve and try new things. Another piece of advice, is to make use of networking within the art industry do not be afraid to communicate with people.
What do you bring to the fashion world?
I have my own personal vision and through my drawings I share this, I love to showcase art based on the idea of ugliness, I love to see people’s reaction to the way ugliness is portrayed.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I would like to imagine myself working on my own personal brand and eventually setting up my own company.
You can see more of Alina’s work at http://www.alinazamanova.com/
All photography by Sid Black