MODEM talks to fashion influencer Daria Shapovalova about the 5th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days Kiev and what it takes to create an international hub for young fashion designers in Ukraine.
MODEM: Tell us more about your background as a fashion influencer… Daria Shapovalova: I always wanted to work in fashion, as this industry is full of opportunities. Meeting talented people and creative geniuses is what I love about fashion. I started with my own TV show “Fashion Week with Daria Shapovalova” on Ukrainian TV. I travelled to major fashion weeks and met all the professionals that work behind the scenes of the fashion world – designers, photographers and stylists, among others. Then, I understood that Ukraine needs an international event — an event that would gather the country’s talented fashion professionals and that would help them to work together. That’s how Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days was born.
You have come a long way since the start of Kiev Fashion Days … if you look back at the beginning, what goals have you and your team accomplished by now? Daria Shapovalova: We managed to put Ukraine on the world’s fashion map – and now we want Kiev to become the most important international hub for young designer talents. That’s why we scheduled our fashion week at the beginning of the fashion season in September, before New York – in fact, we’d like Kiev to become the fifth fashion capital, we want to present a selection of the world’s most talented young designers before anybody else does. As of today, we have fashion designers from 10 different countries that showcase their collections in Kiev – and that’s just the beginning, we’re expecting more designers to join soon. In addition, we have a considerable amount of fashion editors that support us this season, including journalists from Vogue.com, Grazia.it, Vogue.it, V magazine and W magazine, next to reputed street-style photographers and buyers. Last but certainly not least, we are celebrating the fifth year anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days this season!
What would you recommend to a young Ukrainian designer who wants to break into the fashion industry? Daria Shapovalova: To chose the right platform to showcase your work, like Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days and our More Dash showroom in Paris, for example. To be consistent in what you do, where you showcase your work and whom you dress, and to behave in a business-friendly manner – these things are the backbone of each fashion designer. And of course, you have to keep an eye on quality and evolve with your own work...but these rules are universal.
How did your international success help to promote Kiev's best fashion designers? Daria Shapovalova: My international reputation contributes to the success of their businesses, as it helps them to draw attention to their respective brands. I’ve already made a name for myself as a fashion editor prior to my status as a global brand ambassador for Ukrainian designers. But I felt the need to share my experience and success story with young creative people, that’s why I decided to boost Ukraine’s local fashion industry.
What’s up next for Kiev Fashion Days and More Dash? Daria Shapovalova: We will continue to empower young designers via More Dash, our showroom and agency, as we want to create further business opportunities for the designers that we represent. We also want to develop and improve retail projects, such as our TOP10-store.com — an online shop that offers the very best of Ukrainian fashion with a worldwide delivery option. Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days will continue to invite and host more international designers and improve and boost its media coverage, which has been outstanding so far.
Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days takes place from September 3rd to 6th, 2015, at NSC Olimpsky in Kiev.