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Interview with Elena Starostina

Home > Designer Interviews > Elena Starostina

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Elena Starostina (ES) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Elena Starostina by clicking here.

Interview with Elena Starostina at Friday 8th of May 2020
Elena Starostina
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
ES: Hello! My name is Elena Starostina. I live in Moscow and create lovely knitted things. When I was 5 years old my grandmother showed me how to cast on and from this moment all my dolls were dressed in knitted clothes. I had a career in a big gas company as a financial director. After a difficult decision to finish my career I had to decide what should I do in life. I started to think and remembered that I liked to knit in my childhood. So I decided to try the Japanese knitting machine which was my mom’s dream. And from this moment I already couldn’t stop as I was totally involved in this interesting and enthralling process! I like the knitted clothes. One more reason why I started to knit is when I had a need to find beautiful and high quality knitted clothes for my child I found out that there are two options only: cheap mass market clothes of low quality or way too expensive brand clothes. So I hope what I do will help the parents with the solution of the problem that I used to have. I work with high quality yarn mostly of natural fiber. The variety of colors, textures and patterns opens wide perspectives for my creation. For 10 years that I’ve been doing this I didn’t have even one copy of my previous works. All of them unique and I am constantly in search of new and new models! Talking about my achievement, I’d like to mention that my early works were regularly published in our local magazine “Nataly”. As a professional I constantly improve my skills. Currently I plan to learn the design programs for developing new models. I’m really glad that people appreciate and like what I do. I love what I do! And you can feel it in my every work!

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ES: It is quite a small company as, if you are a designer, you cannot be simultaneously a good administrator of a huge company, I believe, for this you have to have a special talent and a lot of time.

FS: What is "design" for you?
ES: Design for me means a vision of things, their current outlook, a concept, if you want. It's a very changing notion, as designing things you should follow the trends of epoque and people's tastes and interests, as well as your own. Design is an artist's way to actually see things.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ES: I prefer to design dresses for small girls, as they are very inventive and demanding – this is a kind of a challenge.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ES: Street wear of a good quality – comfortable and expensive.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ES: At the moment I do not knit/design for a company, and my customers are end-customers, mostly parents.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ES: The collection is knitted of premium-class natural eco-yarn, consisting of cashmere, merino wool and silk purchased from distinguished manufacturers.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
ES: To start creating things I sometimes have to just catch a kid's look. There should be a small impulse like a girl's smile looking at a dress for girls on a showcase of a kids' store or when you see your granddaughter drawing a new dress for her doll or cutting it out from paper modelling.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ES: Creating our collection for girls from 3 to 12 years of age we thought of what our kids, these small dreamers, want, and, among other things, we thought they would want to look alike the characters who come to them from the books of Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm brothers. They dream of getting into the enchanted forest where Cinderella met her Prince, or of visiting the mysterious Disneyland, or of saving her dear brother Kai after the Snow Queen kissed him, and he forgot his little sister Gerda. Or, the majority of small girls dream of becoming princesses, so they want to look like princesses. Differ from your agemates: wear extravagant clothes that you won’t be able to buy in whatever store, that are not always easy to find in expensive boutiques. Where can such things be bought? How can one feel himself being a Fairy or a Princess, Cinderella at a ball or Alice in Wonderland, if she doesn’t have a suitable dress?

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ES: I would call it euphoria.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ES: I always feel happy when a good work is done, but even more when I see that the expectations of my small customer have been met or even shifted.

FS: What makes a design successful?
ES: I think it's the ability to meet the people's expectations. And, constant study of fashion trends, of course.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ES: I think I would avoid the word "judging". A design is always very sibjective. What is beautiful for some people, may be seen in a completely different manner by others. Therefore, making my designs I am guided by such simple factors as comfort, simplicity and elegance.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ES: A thing, and especially a thing you wear, should be eco-friendly. The trend of last years is saving materials to protect the nature. I think, I am rulled by the same principle as well.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ES: To me, it's a neverending story. A full cycle: market demand - material search - design - and so on and on. And every new epoque dictates it's rules and trends, slightly different from the previous one. A designer needs just to watch and follow the trends.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
ES: Usually I exhibit my works in the Instagram and other social networks, which is less expensive and spreading faster among the target customers. As for now, I am looking for an investor for my small business.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ES: The design inspiration for my works comes from everywhere – from playing with kids, reading, travelling.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ES: At the subconscious level a human being always tends to breathe fresh air, to eat healthy and tasty food, to keep an active lifestyle, to be self-sufficient, and, in other words, he strives for being healthy and successful. And, if he has children, he wishes the same well-being for them. What can we offer our buyers to accomplish that? We can offer them things we dream of for our own children and grandchildren. We can offer them comfortable, convenient “breathing” and eco-friendly wear. Not only is our clothing user friendly, it is also beautiful. Wearing such clothing a child will always feel unique and accepted, irrespective of where he (or she) be at the moment: going out on a party with friends or just going on a walk with parents.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
ES: I live in Russia, but I am cosmopolite, and the cultural heritage of my country does not affect my designs. Living and working in Russia is quite a challenge as there is no stable or predictable market for business here.

FS: How do you work with companies?
ES: We offer a business project focused on world markets for the production and sale of environmentally friendly high-quality children's knitwear in the middle-up price segment with a unique design and based on modern world fashion trends as part of the “affordable luxury” concept. This clothing will be released in limited batches on high-quality equipment of knitwear enterprises in Europe made of completely environmentally friendly material. We have developed the concept of online sales, additional services for customers, as well as the concept of organizing a special online service for working with investors in order to sell goods and attract additional sources of revenue to the project.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
ES: We are interested in investors such as venture capital funds, which can both invest in the project, and ensure the investment future of the project by preparing their own exit. We offer them an investment project with a high growth potential, initially oriented for the Western consumers and with the ability of successful market entry through Western venture capital funds with further expanding internationally, as well as selling the stake to strategic investors who would be interested to use the project as a business.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ES: It consumes all my time, except for a time for the design implementation.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
ES: I do not keep my works at home as I design kids’ wear.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
ES: Every day in my life must have something new. This "new" is something I learn or make.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ES: Keep learning every day: this will expand your horizons and improve your art and skills.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ES: The inspiration is a very positive impulse that makes you extremely productive, no matter how much time and efforts you spend on every particular work of yours.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ES: Watch the Nature and the Market trends.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
ES: A talent and the skills of a painter. It's also the ability to see things.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ES: Everything starts with an idea. Then comes a pensil and a piece of paper, and then a knitting machine

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ES: Well, trying to prioritize.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ES: Some things are really an artwork, the other things are pretty easy to make. Therefore, it might take from a week to a month to design a new thing completely.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ES: How much does it cost?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
ES: Finances

FS: Who are some of your clients?
ES: - Mothers aged from 23 to 40 with children under 10 years of age aimed at using natural and eco-products. They are surely projecting this perception upon their children. If adults do not purchase synthetics for themselves, it is quite doubtful that they will save on their children; •Mothers following fashion trends. Scandinavian style fashion. From the point of view of design and style, the era of ruching and Barbie-doll wear style is becoming the past. It is being gradually replaced with minimalism and environment-friendly materials which corresponds to Scandinavian style of clothes made of natural fibers; - They are grandmothers who for different reasons cannot fully dedicate their time to upbringing of their beloved grandchildren, but who adore their granddaughters and dream of making them princesses, buying them beautiful and comfortable clothing; - The child matters. Surely, the opinion of a contemporary child matters when choosing the clothes. She must feel beautiful and already successful (a little one, but already a lady.)

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
ES: Designing for small girls like Vogueinfant.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
ES: Establishing a stable dress-knitting business in Europe and the USA.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ES: I develop my designs myself, but then I have a team of experienced personnel who implements my design on a high-tech knitting machines.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ES: To see the LadyAlready works, you can visit out Instagram page or send us an email and ask for a latest online catalogue: lady@ladyalready.com.

FS: How can people contact you?
ES: E-mail: lady@ladyalready.com Whatsapp:+7 (903) 729-66-33

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
ES: We can also offer our look-book, company presentation and business-plan to potential investors. Please, contact us to receive all the information: lady@ladyalready.com.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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