PATCHWORK: WHEN IT STARTED

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Patchwork trends 2021

Only the lazy designer hasn't produced a patchwork garment this summer – it's on trend. Even the fast fashion copy-cats are pumping out fake patchwork designs. How did our patchwork story evolve?

Once upon a time...

Well, it actually started about 20-25 years ago in a small flat in the city centre of Moscow. As I've mentioned many times, all women in my family have been very talented in all sorts of crafts. My mother was sewing clothes for us as post-soviet Russia had little to offer, it was more a need than a hobby. I was getting very curious too but as a kid I wasn't allowed anywhere near fabrics or sewing machine.

Luckily, stubbornness is my second nature: if I wanted something, I found the ways to do it. I decided I could make Disney-princess-like dresses from scraps, old fabrics (like curtains) and old clothes. I was also very determined to hand stitch the pieces together. 

It wasn't perfect, it wasn't any good to be honest, but I tried. Again and again. And it worked. I could dance in front of the mirror in a fancy long dress and pretend that I was attending a very important event. I used what I had and tried to create patchwork not even knowing about the technique. 

Luckily I do have some photographs saved: when I got into photography in my early twenties, I asked a classmate of mine to model for me.

Chance collage & DADA

During my studies in the art-school in Berlin, I subconsciously started saving photography waste that was happening while making tests in the darkroom. The process was so magical, I couldn't throw the test-strips away. Once I had a box full of those strips, I decided to give it a try and make a collage. Patchwork from paper, if you please. 

Organising pieces together in a random order was creating random shapes and forms - chance collage so popular with DADAists. I called it "Art from the bin" and later worked on more pieces, deliberately cutting pieces out and rearranging the black and white composition of the image. 

Denim patchwork

When I started working with denim, I had already developed a good eye and could arrange the pieces intuitively to create this beautiful patchwork/collage. In fact, it is a lot more DADA than my photography projects: it is pure chance. We never know what colours and textures we'll get donated, what sizes and condition the jeans will be. Everything is dictated by pure chance. And that's the beauty of it. We don't have standard pre-cut pattern pieces – each collage is treated separately, the size of the patches depends on every single pair of jeans - we aim to save as much fabric as possible (but never less than 90%).

Signature fluffs

But we don't stop on patchwork: after cutting all the pieces for the garment, we collect all the offcuts and turn them into our signature fluffs details. We are as close to zero waste as it could get: all the offcuts become part of the garment. Waste in your face? Hell yes! We have developed a system that creates unique one of a kind fluffy details and we put them into every garment we make as a reminder that a little bit of imagination and a lot of work can make a huge difference: both visually and for the planet. 

 

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