KicKINg BAck wiTH keBURia

Making what’s old new again

Words by Flora Macdonald Johnston

What is your first fashion memory? How did that shape you into the designer you are today?

Some of my first fashion-related memories are from my mom’s magazines. We had several OTTO catalogues and VOGUE at home (which was a luxury in post-soviet Georgia) and I used to look through them all the time, mixing and matching which earring would go better with which skirt and so on and so forth. Ultimately, I was always interested in the aesthetics of design and expressing myself through fashion.

Since then, I have never considered any other profession and made a decision that my passion and source of income would always be one. This was the very first step of my design career. Later, I decided to start my own brand – KEBURIA.

What are the foundations of KEBURIA, where did it all begin?

I have no academic experience in the fashion industry, I am an entirely self-taught designer. My very first fashion experience was participating in the Tbilisi Fashion Week newcomer contest, which I won with my debut capsule collection. This is where it all began. After that, I gained practical experience, which was a long messy road as back then Georgian fashion basically did not exist. I have learnt a lot, often through my own mistakes. I think the fact that I didn’t have any formal education in the industry gave me the freedom and audacity to play around more without considering limitations.

What are the defining attributes of your label, what makes your brand unique?

Over the years, KEBURIA has established a recognisable DNA with its signature tailoring, sculptural shapes, and clean lines. It’s playful and modern, yet classic.

I HaVe LEaRnT A LoT, OfTEn ThRoUgH mY Own mIsTakES.

When you think of the words 'identity' and 'drama', what do they mean for you?

It is quite difficult to achieve a consistent identity in the modern fashion industry, as it needs diligent hard work and caution – it should be constantly updated. Regarding 'drama', I remember being a drama queen back when I was younger with fewer responsibilities. I guess I was trying to entertain myself!

Your brand is now renowned for its contemporary take on tailoring. Where do you think the lines of masculinity and femininity meet for your clothes?

It’s a continuous process of experimenting and mixing different things. I think, in the end, it’s something that creates more desire and ambiguity.

Describe a typical day in your atelier.

I love to go to the atelier earlier than my employees, more so when I’m working on a new collection. I need some alone time to drink 100 cups of coffee in peace and then the chaos starts. I work on new samples and go through the production points of the previous collection. Usually, I also have to go and check up on the order production at a second location. So, sometimes I spend a big part of my day in traffic and might as well go crazy.

"i REMemBER BeinG a dRAmA qUEEn BacK wHeN i wAs yOUngER wiTH fEWeR ReSpONsiBILItiES."

How long does it take to make your collections from concept to full completion?

As soon as I finish a collection, I start thinking about the next one. The process can last between three to four months, but it's always the final weeks that are the most crucial and when everything comes together.

How do you think your brand has evolved over time?

To be honest, my brand has been developing for many seasons as I have gained skills and experience. I do not want KEBURIA to be limited to a particular moment in time and associated with just trendy pieces. I enjoy revisiting old silhouettes and constructing them in a new way. This is why I usually get inspired by a vintage wardrobe and harmonise it with modern gender-free femininity and self-expression. It can be perceived by any character.

In our new season buy, we have a lot of mini skirt suits and also the fluffy hats, it’s both surreal and giving me Clueless. What were the inspirations behind this collection?

For the SS22 collection, I was inspired by uniforms and people of different occupations. These people can exist in totally different places but still cross each other daily in the streets – they might even be stilt walkers with oversized hats towering over all of us.

“I nEED sOmE aLOnE TiMe TO DRiNk 100 cUpS Of cOFFEe iN pEAcE AnD THen THE cHAOs STARTs.”

Do you have a favourite piece in the collection - if so, what?

I really love many pieces from SS22 – everything that made it through to the final cut, in fact. Now, it’s up to the customers to decide.

How should women wear your clothes?

I don’t really see one particular way of wearing my clothes, and would rather see lots of different types of women wearing KEBURIA in different ways. When women wear my creations, I hope it leaves an impact on their character. I hope it also makes them feel more comfortable and confident.

What’s next for KEBURIA?

Primarily I want to keep the brand growing and to employ more people. For the immediate future, working on the next collection.

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