If you are a true lover of fashion and trends and someone asks you about a current international brand, with really daring and innovative designs and with mentality of “creating without destroying”, it is likely that, as it happens to me, KSENIASCHNAIDER is one of the first ones to come to your mind.
The designer couple duo, Ksenia and Anton Schnaider, began their brand story in 2011. The masterminds behind this Ukrainian brand are constantly working hand in hand creating fashion pieces combining reworked materials, perfect cut, Eastern European cultural quotes and spicing it up with some innovative digital concepts. Spending days on experimenting, they finally created the perfect trend “demi-denims”, taking the fashion world by storm since 2016, and becoming a hit amongst A-list celebrities.
Nowadays KSENIASCHNAIDER brand is available worldwide in more than 70 stores, always offering exciting new collections through creativity and filling the gap between high end fashion & upcycling!
If there is something I am sure of, is that whether you are already a fan of the brand, or if you have just met it… KSENIASCHNAIDER leaves no one indifferent. That’s why I wanted to interview them exclusively on Coolhunting Lab to keep learning and find out much more!
Interview by Clara De Nadal Trias
You are a designer family duo. What is the relationship between you two?
We are a husband and a wife.
What is “that thing” that you two love from The Fashion World?
Travelling and meeting new people.
As designers… Where does your inspiration come from?
From the people we spend time with, the city we live in and, of course, the internet.
In 2016 you took the fashion world by storm! How did you come in with the trend “demi-denims”? What is the story behind?
We spent some time looking at my friends, who were wearing different vintage banana-pants from the flea markets, and an idea started brewing in our head. Went to the flea market, bought a bunch of jeans, and deconstructed them. We experimented and tried numerous options, such as mixing jeans, Bermuda and Banana pants and even a skirt. Demi-Denims appeared for the first time in our FW16 collection and instantly became our staple piece.
Which A-list celebrities are wearing your creations since then? Someone in particular you’d be happy to see wearing your pieces?
We have a long list. Lady Gaga, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Monica Bellucci… I think Billie Eilish would be very fun to dress!
Your creation process has a lot to do with fashion sustainability, “create without destroying” and also encourages circular economy. Please tell us more.
When we started reworking denim there weren’t a lot of affordable denim factories available. But the urge to work with denim persisted, so I went to the vintage markets. With time, we realized that, having been reworked, the designs are not only unique, but also very ecologically responsible. Since then it never left our mind. From that point onwards all the effort went to keeping the whole brand sustainable. For example, when the vintage denim wasn’t enough for the volumes produced, we chose the sustainable ISKO factory to source the denim from – the only factory in the world which is sustainable on every stage of the production. In short, what started out to be a single-choice decision grew into the brand philosophy.
Has Covid19 pandemic changed the way of doing / thinking?
Of course! We were thinking a lot about overproduction and we realized that we do not need as much clothes as the fashion industry produces. So we decided to sell garments only by pre-order on our website and we will not produce stock for our SS21. Also before pandemic we were doing 4 womenswear and 2 menswear collections per year and after pandemic there will be only 4.
Please tell us more about your last FW2020 collection.
The collection itself is about people who turn their phones off and go hiking in the mountains, people who peel away from phone screens to look towards the sky. It contains elements of both the natural and digital world to communicate that. We created a sort of KSENIASCHNAIDER multifunctional wardrobe –special clothing for tech intellectuals who exist beyond hype.
This collection is featuring clothing made in a complex patchwork technique, such as stripe denim patchwork inspired by 70-s and items made of fabric samples, which are usually sent to designers by fabric manufacturers and typically thrown away afterwards, and also clothing made with business casual fleece, the brand’s archive pieces, cowboy motives and KSENIASCHNAIDER signature items, such as asymmetrical jeans and neon price tags’ prints.
What can you tell us about the next SS2021 collection?
In Pre-Spring 2021 we am referencing the idea of a bride -someone who is entering an unknown life that is full of hopes. The heroine of the collection is wearing white to signal the purity of character. The clothes are channeling female energy which is not provocative, but rather a woman that is an embodiment of light in a challenging circumstance.
In this collection all items are very clean and simple. We are using only deadstock fabrics and vintage denim, we are also only producing it in our Kyiv studio and it will be available on See Now-Buy Now basis this Autumn.
Is there anything else you would like to mention or add?
We think it is important to support each other nowadays. So we are offering space at our flagship store in Kyiv for free for local brands and every weekend we are doing pop-ups for a young generation of designers and artists. Also we are donating money for different non-profit organizations in Ukraine who are working with waste and utilizations.
Congratulations KSENIASCHNAIDER! Co-create, share, (re)build… Hopefully many other brands will follow your example and your path, because the future is now.