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Designer Week DAY 1: LAKO BUKIA

In this week long fashion special, Planet Notion is taking a close look at fashion designers, examining their design processes; verbalising their elusive, intangible inner creativity. Today, we talk to London based womenswear designer Lako Bukia.

After completing a BA in design and textiles in her home city of Tbilisi, Georgia and also exhibiting and studying at Central St Martin’s, Lako is now studying Fashion Design at The London College of Fashion. Her latest AW11 collection ‘CHOXA’ is inspired by Georgia’s Men’s National Ballet costume.

Planet Notion:  How does an idea usually form in your mind? Are there clear steps you take such as creating mood boards, gathering images etc, or do ideas formulate organically and spontaneously?

Lako Bukia:  An idea can stem from anything like buildings, paintings, countries etc. When I know     exactly what I want to work on I start researching and collecting ideas, making mood boards and compiling different images that inspire me before I start making sketches. I start by doing anything that comes to my mind, after which I transform the designs into something, more wearable and nice.

PN: How do you translate your vision into a realised garment?

LB: During the research process, I have a visualisation what I want the collection will look like, and then I sketch what I have in my mind before I start making samples.  During the fittings process, I tend to change a lot of things and sometimes the finished products looks completely different but I always get what I have in mind.

PN: When designing what gives you your initial spark of inspiration?

LB: There are certain times I can’t design, it might be when I have a lot of people around me or I am simply not in the mood. I work best when I’m alone because I am focused and I enjoy it that way and music also helps me a lot. Sometimes I get ideas when I’m at a party or out with friends so I try my best to make a sketch as soon as I get home.

PN: Can you describe the technical processes that go into creating your garments?

LB: I come up with a theme, research it, make a mood board, and then start sketching. The search for fabrics usually comes after I decide what kind of silhouettes I want and when everything is ready we start cutting and doing fittings with models. The fittings process allows me to make adjustments on the body, change details I don’t like and finally finish the garments. Finishing is very important because you can have a good idea and design but if the fabric is not right and finished properly with buttons, zips and trimmings it will not look good. So I control everything because I love when things are done perfectly.

PN: If you have many ideas how do you organise /mould these into a cohesive collection?

LB: Mostly I have too many ideas and I struggle to choose from them. I am a Libra and usually I can’t make decisions easily so if I have two different ideas, I try them both and stick to the one, which is best.

PN: Does your creative and design processes take a direction or do you feel they are random in nature? Does the idea of trying to add structure to your design process take away from your freedom of creativity?

LB: When I was in Central Saint Martin’s College they taught us that it was all about creativity and ideas, and when I went to Milan to do a summer course at the Marangoni Institute they taught us that it was all about business. Back then I didn’t like the idea, but now that I have my own label I’ve realised that it’s not just about being creative- the creativity and business go together and you can’t survive without one or the other. I think designing something creative and wearable is much more difficult because so many things are done but you still have to ensure that you are different.

PN: Pinpointing creativity is very difficult but what do you feel was your first moment of realisation? What made you become a fashion designer?

LB: My friend suggested in the beginning that I go to a drawing teacher to learn how to draw. I was really fond of fine arts and painting before rather than design. I applied to the State Academy of the Arts in Georgia and got a place for costume and textile design. When I moved to London to start a foundation course at Central Saint Martin’s, I realised I wanted to design and that was what I was more interested in. It never started for me from my childhood, but rather it became something I really understood I wanted when I was already grown up.

PN: Why do you feel your creativity is best expressed through clothing as a medium rather than any other form of design?

LB: I used to paint and I was generally fond of fine arts. Designing clothes and also painting was the best way for me to express myself.  If I was a good singer then that would be the best way for me to express myself.

PN: How far do you find the depth of the emotional attachment to your design work goes?  Can you view it as ‘work’ or is it more of an extension of your passion?

LB: I’m an emotional person and I guess you can see it in my designs. I also tend to see the more negative things in life and I think that is one reason why I design. It allows me to express myself and show my emotions in clothes and art. But it is not all about emotions and it is more work when I start doing things, which will be more wearable and easy to sell.  It is my own business now, which is an extension of my passion and work.

PN: What are you trying to communicate with your designs?

LB: Lako Bukia is a womenswear brand, which is trying to redefine the way the world sees femininity and sexuality. Having experienced a decade long pressure from the fashion world and show business representatives that femininity and sexuality can only be achieved by carving your shapes and showing as much as possible, the women of the world have forgotten that there is something more exciting about the secrecy of the type of garments that do not stress body shape but help to draw attention to the more important aspects of a woman: femininity, intellect and personal style. We women have to stand together to gain the deserved place we’ve never really had.



See more from Lako Bukia here.

-Kathryn Duncan

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