Flower aesthetic

Oleg Borodin

Florals – is probably the most famous print out of all. People like flowers the most, and clothing producers use it a lot, Im not even talking about textiles. Maybe, because it is an understandable print, and maybe, because it has no “age” limit. I often hear that customers want floral prints, and the illustration has to offer either a rose bud, peony or a poppy flower. That’s why I wanted to analyze the usage of flowers in print, textiles and end it with a finished garment.
So I have spoken with 3 people , whose art is connected with using floral prints and ornaments, and gathered a whole lot of information, which I would like to share with you.

Oleg Borodin

These collages – works by a very interesting photographer named Oleg Borodin. He is using colorful spots so manly and so carefully, that you don’t even pay attention to them at first. Nonetheless, this is an important part of his style and this balances the whole geometry of his art out and dilutes seriousness of his work. So this confirms that floral prints have much of attention and a response from customers.

Oleg Borodin

Sergey Malyhin, an author and designer of a brand Engineer Garin, creating beautiful floral and textured combinations used in bow-ties, is also actively using textiles with floral print, despite that his main clients are men.

photos by ColourHeelsDiary at Engineer Garin's place

There are hundreds of bow-ties in his workshop, and a half of them has floral print on it. You can tie them up from any side, playing with the textile pattern- choose one side with an aster, and you become a playboy, choose matte silk and cornflowers will be delicately looking at you from the inside of the bow-tie, making you look like a poet with a big heart and a rich inner world.

photos from Engineer Garin's instagram

When it comes to fabrics, the question of using floral prints is raised, and there is no question raised of using them or not. As states the owner and founder of fabrics studio Sol, whose name is Alexandra Kaloshina, floral prints are used in most of their fabrics. Everything else are either trends or experiments, but they could also include florals.

photos by ColourHeelsDiary at Sol studio

Yesterday people were buying poppy-flowers, today they want flowers in a night garden, tomorrow it could be violets, but no flower could compete with roses, it is a trend such as leopard print or polka-dots.

photos by ColourHeelsDiary at Sol studio

I was surprised to find a connection between all 3 people I have met. While I was meeting them, gathering this material, I found out more about each of them, and I wanted to dedicate this material to Oleg Borodin, Sergey Malyhin, and Alexandra Kaloshina. Each of their projects is worth your attention and a personal story will follow. So, as we say, wait for it in the next episode!


Russian Umbrella Illustration

I was always interested in the industry of creating an producing such products as umbrellas. Seriously, why it is paid so little attention to this product? This accessory stands in one of the first places of wardrobe hierarchy, until certain weather arrives and most of people have just one umbrella in a boring color. An umbrella is perceived as an additional accessory, not as an independent one. The fact that one has to have two or more pairs of shoes, bags or belts is already accepted by most even not-so-fashionable people. And even those people have agreed, that all those accessories are reflecting one’s individuality, and are not just “stuff” to wear. But utilitarian items like wellies or an umbrella are usually perceived by many as nothing special. By the way, once upon a time, sunglasses and bathing suits were perceived the same way.

Partly, it is because of a free space in a wardrobe, because we give priory “seating” for basic things and clothes that we use on daily basis. And because we don’t want to buy umbrellas, we cannot find much of offers on the market. Though the construction of an umbrella is so mobile, that there is no limit for its technology, and besides, the surface of umbrella gives a lot of options for creative prints and different ornaments. Of course, I have seen interesting design offers for umbrellas, such as an anti-hurricane umbrella, made in Holland, or an umbrella with an additional inner lining for spokes. But I could never go shopping and find an interesting umbrella, never.

However, from time to time I have noticed works of some illustrators for their orders. And gathering information here and there, I was planning to write a post about such umbrellas. And recently I have seen such story from an illustrator Nastia Zabrodina:

"Once, during the flight I have met a woman seating nearby, she had a beautiful but predatory Asian face. I was studying her face during the whole flight, trying not to forget it, but all I came up with was a picture where she was hunting for birds in bushes, and my interest disappeared. But after awhile, me, and my lovely colleagues Yana Moskalyuk and Yaroslava Klepikova received an order for a print for an umbrella, using our design, and I recalled the hunting theme, which everyone approved. As a result, we created a really beautiful umbrella with 3 female hunters on it – mysterious one, militant one and a sly one."

It wasn’t just an illustration, it was a great concept of an art with history behind it. Of course, I couldn’t not pay attention to it. I wrote to the girls and found out the roots of the story.
So, there is a company called “Mart”, and its owner, Andrey Baden, often uses help of illustrators for creation of different presents for his company’s clients. He was the client, who ordered this umbrella. It’s a pity that it was just a souvenir, and never reached the shelves of stores. The construction of an umbrella was a classic one.

The left one is Nastia Zabrodina, the right one is Yana Moskalyuk and the bottom one is Yaroslava Klepikova.

After that, I was asking my friends and acquaintances, if they would want to have something like this, and I didn’t receive a negative answer once! Everyone was really into this print with a history. And the best answer was from my boyfriend, because when I asked, if a mens umbrella could be of another color besides black, he said that not only it could, but it must be a bright color, because rain makes dull everything around you, anyway. So where are you, producers of bright conceptual umbrellas for men?

And of course, as soon as I wrote to the girls and started to prepare my post, a friend of mine of Facebook, an illustrator named Elena Dolgova posted a picture of her new art – it was an illustration for an umbrella. Funny thing, I remembered about Lena a few minutes before, because she was one of the professionals, drawing sketches for Andrey’s umbrellas. I remembered her umbrella with sausage drawings, where meat delicatessen were pictured with a certain sense of humor. However, I didn’t know who ordered it before. This time she drew night birds, hunters of some sort, as well. Lena’s prints aren’t about fashion, but it doesn’t make them less interesting.

So I ll add a man to this women company, an illustrator from Saint-Petersburg, whose name is Evgeny Kiselev. He is a pretty famous illustrator outside Russia, working with pr-agencies in Europe and both of Americas. These umbrellas Evgeny made for a project named Wisli. Here we can find not only a print, but also a construction, which is what I meant earlier by saying, that an umbrella is a pretty good territory for design, starting with print and all the way through the construction of a frame.

Amusingly, now, as Im writing this post, its raining outside. Light drizzle, it makes everything dull still, and an umbrella is not necessary, but why would I refuse such a fun accessory, keeping your mood up?


Maxim Sharov

I very much love those designers, who work with leather the way they would work with a live organism, designers, who save its pattern and texture. Those designers, who don’t hide the defects of leather, but make an accent on these defects. It is leather, and it cannot have a flawless surface, then why don’t use this as an advantage?
Not a long time ago, I visited Maxim Sharov’s studio, where Max respects every crease and scratch of leather:

“Once I saw an old leather bag. It was oily, because there were carburetors inside of it. Its leather has been deformed with time, and the shape of the bag became those of the carburetors laying inside. I very much like bags and belts from Ist and 2nd World Wars. And I wanted to make things like these, so the leather would seem old and used and shabby. Now Im getting the leather for my creations from manufacturers without “the fancy” look of it. It has a lot of small holes and scratches on, because of branches and horseflies. I like to make those areas look different, because the surface becomes “alive”, as to speak.

Not every designer will risk the shape of his creation, so it will shape by itself during the process of making a masterpiece. In general, a shape is an imposed responsibility of a master, but it doesnt have an independent life. Maxim has different kind of relationships with his objects:

“Im striving to choose such shapes, which, for the most part, demonstrate the calisthenics for leather. I prefer for the texture to dominate over the shape. In my objects the design of a shape will open up with a close up view.”

And one more thing that distinguishes Max Sharov from other designers, besides the shape, is his signature slotted handle in his 3-dimentional bags:

“At first I made a slotted handle in regular bags, and then I thought of the same technique for my 3-dimentional creations. That’s how I came up with it.”

photos from studio by ColourHeelsDiary

Maxim is, so to be called, a pioneer, with this approach to work in Russia. Back then, when I first heard of him as of a designer, no one even thought of buying left-over samples from manufacturers and making accessories out of them:

“At the beginning of 2000 I didn’t know anyone, who would manufacture bags on a serious level. Now we can see the industry being in revival: there are a few designers out there. I can see that my art made an impact on some of them, and their style is similar to mine. I can call these designers competition for my brand, and I respect their skills and taste.”

upper and bottom lookbook photos from MaximSharov.ru

Russian designers have a humble presence in an international marketplace, and began to present themselves on European markets, trying to showcase their items and brands to buyers from different continents. It is, certainly, because of an internet presence, because of the presence of different websites, such as etsy and eBay. Maxim knows how to deal with presentation of his products within big tradeshows, such as CPM and CPD. Managing companies of tradeshows gladly collaborate with Russian designers, giving the small brands some beneficial terms:

”Its not that bad in Moscow, if we are talking about private clientele. Its much harder to work with stores, because they don’t like to buy from Russian designers and prefer consignment contracts, which, in my opinion, are not fair and not convenient for us, designers.”

Honestly, its much harder to work with the local Russian market, because here you will find many laws for small business and retail stores playing against you - stores, not wanting to buy the collection, but wanting to take your collection on consignment with possible returns.
Also, without an existent intellectual property law (IP law), local businessmen try to use a designer’s name as in case with Maxim Sharov, - one of those people simply shortened the name Maxim to Max and produces bags with similar design.
Of course, it is an opposite side of the coin. In general, Im very glad that there is place for small companies in an international marketplace, making their own unique product. All in all, someday, designers, who invest their soul and mood into their product will be afloat, and pathetic copies will disappear into the past.

designer Maxim Sharov reading ColourHeelsDiary blog :)