martes, 20 de noviembre de 2012

Fashion in Latvia: Sabine Skarule

Despite being a small nation, Latvia is world famous for it’s stunning models and has enough creative talent to make this country stand out in the fashion world. Based in Riga, Latvia's capital, fashion designer Sabine Skarule is in her last year at Latvian Academy of Art. During her time there she’s presented a total of three collections, attempting to connect and then disconnect the clothing with the human being and the environment.

Sabine Skarule
When I talked to Sabine, she was taking some time off to inspire herself in the countryside. She looked very comfortable sitting in bed and wearing a dark long-sleeve slouchy sweater. Her short abundant brown hair covered her shoulders and the strap of a colourful blue top that she was wearing underneath. While holding a mug, she talked pragmatically of her home country. “Well yeah, Latvia is a really small country,” she laughed and her feline-shaped eyes became even more pronounced, “but at the same time it is easier to do things. If you want to do something, there’s a 100% chance that everybody is going to know about it.”
The Academy webpage describes in the programme that students have to develop a dress as an object; ‘Dress-Art’. Also fashion students present one collection per year, “we have to do everything ourselves,” said Sabine. Fortunately, they often have the chance to consult with the teachers and get their advice. So, with five students in her class it’s easy to have personal attention and discuss each other’s projects. “We are like family”, she said between a smile.
Zofa, a hand-made shoe designer, Mareunrol’s, Keta Gutmane, Indra Miklava and One Wolf are a few designers that Sabine suggested I should check out, “I really like Latvian designers, we are different and this is good.” In Riga they also have a shop called Paviljons that sells national fashion and work from young designers.

But do Latvian people actually buy their own national fashion? “More or less, if they have chance to buy it, they will”, she explained. So it seems people in Latvia are supportive of national design, “I start to think that most of my friends have Latvian designers clothes” she said.
However, with no big fashion companies in Latvia, young fashion designers find their break via competitions, Baltic financial support, working in TV ads, selling clothes around small shops, styling at magazines or making garments for their friends. While the fashion industry in her country is still exploring the possibilities, I asked her if she ever found inspiration in her culture. “Probably the colours, everything is more grey in Latvia, everything is in dark colours I don’t know why, maybe is something from our ethnic culture, I don’t know what is it.” Whatever it is, this country is certainly developing a strong fashion identity and Sabine seems to breath in it’s characteristics as a source of inspiration. Her latest collection at The Academy, called Only After You, was made out of black and white garments in which the models looked hidden in the black garment to add more importance to the clothes.
Sabine's collection 'Only After You'
With Sabine currently getting inspiration from the countryside for her last collection at the Academy, she is looking forward to taking part in competitions too and studying abroad. Despite Latvia’s small population, this country has numerous fashion lovers that are proud and believe in Latvian fashion, just like Sabine. In addition, Latvian fashion has been catching the eye of international magazines such as Vogue Italy that recently reported on Riga’s Fashion Week. “We have a long way to go, but we are a very creative country and we have a lot of talented designers, I really believe that.” concluded Sabine.

All pictures courtesy of Sabine Skarule

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Fashion in Latvia: Sabine Skarule is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.

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