photography by MARC LITVYAKOFF
Katya Shehurinas dresses are made of materials that touch the skin like a gentle evening breeze in the summer. Floating silk, fur and lace. The design is sleek, yet Bohemian. Pretty far from the anti-fashion Katya grew up with in Latvia, then still occupied by the Soviet union.
I was born in 1983, and remember the Perestroika times. During the Soviet era it was difficult to find something different or unusual- because everyone was supposed to be equal. I believe that is the main reason why people of my generation are so eager to create something beautiful and different, full of personal identity and strong spirit.
When did your interest in fashion and fabric begin? As a small child. I couldn't sew but desperately wanted some clothes for my dolls. So I cut arm holes in fabric tissues and draped and belted the dolls. Actually this is how it worked during the Soviet era; everything we couldn't buy we had to creat ourselves! I am grateful to have been born then; it gave me a huge creative force!
You mostly work with exclusive materials. Have you ever thought about designing casuals? I have tried it. Immediately after I finished my degree in haute couture in Paris, I started my brand and focused on everyday clothes. This was despite my love to exclusive clothes made with love and long hours of handwork- because I thought it was easier to start this way, with casual clothes.
But after some years of experience I concluded that it was impossible to compete with monsters like Zara, H&M and other companies who can create stylish clothes with fairly good quality at a very reasonable price. That is how I returented to my roots. Today I believe that in near future there will be only two types of clothes- the cheap, stylish massmarket clothes and the very luxurious type made with devotion. Everything in between will disappear.
Since 2011, you have your own boutique in London. That seems quite bold, the comptetion in London must be severe? I was too young and naive to be afraid when I started, and that helped me a lot. I still believe that everything is possible. I am surrounded by great people who are helping me a lot which is very important. You can’t do everything by yourself.
How was it to be an aspiring fashion student in Paris? How did you experience Esmod and the Parisian fashion atmosphere, isn't it quite an harsh environment? It was from a really harsh environment at one hand but on the other hand: where can learn better if not in the cradle of fashion itself? I was really lucky to have such great teachers!
Where do you find inspiration? I try to find inspiration everywhere, this can be people, art, emotions, strong historical figures. The most difficult and important thing in my work is to find something new each season, whitout betraying my brand’s essence.
Favorite material right now? For the last seasons-the combination of lace and microfibre.
How and where do you live now? I live in Riga but travel a lot to London and Paris.
Which person, dead or alive, would you like to see waring your design? I would like every person to wear our clothes. It is one of the greatest feelings in my life to see someone wearing and appreciating something I've created.
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