Riga Fashion Week is over and it’s time to wrap up. Let’s start with probably the coolest Latvian brand QooQoo. Their show was on Monday and we were lucky enough to get to go straight to their showroom and talk to the designer herself.
QooQoo encompasses simple shapes and playful moods of the pieces. The creator is soviet-born designer Alyona Bauska, who took us to a local pizzeria at midnight, served us the best Latvian homemade tea at her studio and made us feel right at home in every possible way. Alyona designs clothes for people, who seek individuality and are courageous enough to infuse some irony in their looks. Her warm and friendly character made us fall in love with her from the very first minute.
Alyona – it’s important to develope.
“That’s very unexpected because I don’t consider myself some sort of shape or form that is finished already and that you can describe. Of course there are some lines that are common for every person, but for me it’s important to develop myself. I don’t want to describe myself, because that puts borders on me.”
Alyona works as a graphic designer (it kind of seems that all the people we met in Riga were, in some sort of way, graphic designers) for the major advertising and design companies. Feeling the need to express her creative skills, she started working on her own label which became extremely popular in Latvia.
How did you become interested in designing clothes?
“It’s like a canvas for design, for ideas. It’s really cool that you can put some of your crazy ideas into fashion and for me it’s a platform to present them on. I started creating something with prints, experimented and made leggings with bears. In 2011 it was really fresh for all the markets and there was nothing similar to it. I continued experimenting with techniques. Right now I’m really interested in embroideries and how prints look when knitted on fabric. Well, basically it’s all about putting my crazy ideas into clothing.”
“Right now I’m really interested in embroideries and how prints look when knitted on fabric.”
Different from other Latvian designers.
“I don’t focus on the cut of the clothes. For me it’s important that clothes are clothes and you can wear them daily. So I make something basic with an ironical twist.”
Where do you get your ideas from?
“I usually make themes for each collection and dig deeper from there. That’s how it goes. I always try to put myself in some kind of borders, because otherwise too many crazy ideas come up.”
“Two years ago, when I used Russian slogans for the first time, I noticed that all Latvians loved it. It looks whimsical and interesting. For example люблю means love you and in every language it’s something beautiful. I also tried to make some English stuff, which was also quite successful, but I came back to Russian statements because of the ghetto collection. It’s a collaboration with the Ghetto Games in Latvia, that creates an opportunity for young people to do sports. The father of the movement uses really rough slang and I wanted to use it. There’s something about Russian slang, the words sound really epic.”
“There’s something about Russian slang, the words sound really epic.”
A lot of sneakers, what’s up with that?
“Well, we collaborate with adidas already for the third or fourth time. We really match. Especially the new collection, which is more casual/sportswear with a fashionable twist. The new adidas Tubular sneakers from the upcoming summer collection suit really well with my collection and the idea that I want to make fashion really comfortable. By the way, they are so edgy and cool that I don’t mind wearing them to fashion or red carpet events. You can look cool wearing them anywhere.”
“I have so many dreams! I want to do all kinds of stuff, like make socks for QooQoo. I want to develop some other lines or products – it’s really exciting! I like creating new products, new stuff. I have energy for that. This is the thing I love about fashion, you actually create something that you can touch.”
Oh well, I wish we’d had a chance to chat longer with this sweet and kind woman, but it was already past midnight and everyone was exhausted. Even so, we had to show her what Hooligans were up to here on the other side of the Baltic states and she fell in love with the pictures from Roberta Einer’s show. “So much cool stuff in Estonia, what the f*ck,” she said looking amazed.