Anna Galaganenko, a Russian designer who takes care about everything that concerns our world tells how she is trying to play with fashion in a sustainable way, because it is the path that new talents have to follow, today.
Anna Galaganenko is… Complete the sentence as you prefer. Describe who you are and let us know.
Anna was born and grew up on the Eastern shores of the Azov’ sea in the south of Russia, close to today’s front line. She was born in a family at a time of limited means which meant that before anything new was bought you would try to create it yourself. Nothing was ever thrown away…ever. This need to be creative fostered a curious mind, an adventurous character and a habit for experiments. Anna cares about people, resources and our planet. She very much enjoys working with others and sharing the experience of the impact clothes make in our own life and the lives of others, how they changes our appearance and might bring new values.
Upcycling: what is the philosophy of your design and why did you choose up-cycle as method to pursue?
I respect everything, every snippet of cloth, every thread. I see value in every little piece. My parents brought me up this way and I have kept this tradition. When I started to work with factories, I saw how much potential is left idle and wasted. My philosophy is a reaction to what is happening in the World today. Right now, after the massive thoughtless production we have experienced in recent years, we have to clean up what generations before us left behind. I feel a personal responsibility to spread this conviction and contribute by showing the value of things that we used to consider superfluous and/or waste. I only have one limitation in my approach: I work with a natural fibres only as I believe this is the only kind of fabric that should be in contact with our skin, unless we are going for a run. Every year enormous amounts of garments are burnt. I think that designers like me should be given the opportunity to do something with this resource. This could resolve part of the problem of waste and spread a more conscious approach that so much of what we need is already here. We don’t need to exploit nature further to keep the fashion industry going.
Do you think that the term ‘upcycling’ is used in a proper way today? For you, will it take more space in the future?
First of all, I am very pleased that we are finally using this word and we have managed to make it “fashionable” today. Nobody talked about this 10 years ago. I believe we are on a right track. The careful application of our resources has definitely become a greater focus in all sectors of industry. I think recycling, more than upcycling will take more space in the future, because it can be better integrated in the industrial process and lends itself to mass production. Fortunately, or unfortunately we are still looking for a faster track and/or access to markets. There are already factories in Italy which reproduce wool fabrics from the old clothing and a factory in Germany managed to recycle mixed fibres. Upcycling will remain a niche as a slower and more artisan approach, which I find important right now. This is the best for us that I can do today but as soon as I find a better alternative – I definitely follow it. New technology is the key.
Were there funny moment you’d like to share with us about your path in fashion? Be yourself and have fun!
To work in a team is a bliss and funny moments are happening all the time. Otherwise how can you make a knitwear out of the dramatically worn old jeans or pyjamas. Years ago, I received a message from the Opening Ceremony buyer on Instagram, and I was sure it’s a fraud! I just didn’t take seriously Instagram, but the buyer was genuine and I started to sell there eventually.
What’s the favorite: color, fabric, clothe, icon, inspiration, etc.?
I chose a sky blue for my label – it is the color of the best day in my life. The color immediately triggers memories, good feelings and vibes – happiness. Fabric – all natural fibres provide opportunities. Clothes – shirts. Inspiration – get to know someone new.
Rebirth is the main content of this issue. What does Rebirth mean for you?
Rebirth for me means to take a sharp look at myself and my situation in the World at any given moment, to take control of my destiny and start afresh. I tend to live this after every one of my collections.
Discover more about Anna Galaganenko here!