“It truly was a labour of love.”
Aptly named ‘If You Spend Two Weeks On A Train All Your Clothes Become Loungewear’, Katya’s graduate collection is a colourful kaleidoscope of thought-provoking knitwear. Ranging from brightly hued tights and bodystockings featuring cut-outs that not-so-subtly point to an idea of feminine sexuality, to finely woven semi-sheer bralettes, a bright pink bolero with blooming sleeves, and a dress assembled of three-dimensionally crocheted flowers. The latter piece she refers to as the ‘Bouquet dress’, signifying the terminus of Katya’s imaginative journey. “If the other looks are to be worn during this two-week train ride, the last look illustrates the bouquet of flowers your loved ones greet you with upon arrival.” Blurring the boundaries between fashion, art, and craftsmanship, many hours went into creating this final look; from crocheting the life-sized flowers with her grandmother over the Christmas break, to putting it all together with three sets of helping hands in February. “It truly was a labour of love,” Katya acknowledges.
The drive to express herself through fashion is something Katya recognised at a young age. “Dressing up made me feel excited, and I wanted others to feel the same way.” Reflecting on her childhood in Russia, she recalls a moment captured on her last day of kindergarten: a photograph of herself and her mother. “I’m wearing a tasteful fairy costume, glitter wings and all. I also put on my mom’s red lipstick for the first time in my life.” In this picture that she now has taped to her mirror, Katya is looking straight into the camera, with a solemn, almost somber expression. “I’ve always thought it was a funny contrast,” she says. Another image that comes to mind is one taken by a friend on a high school trip to Saint Petersburg. “To be honest, I don’t even feel like I’ve changed that much,” Katya tells. “I still listen to a lot of the same music and watch the same films. I think I’ve more or less peaked at fourteen.”