Alisa and Julia Ruban, the designer duo behind the eponymous fashion label, talk about their past experience as stylists for major Russian and Ukrainian magazines, challenges of working as a team and the inspiration behind their debut collection.
The first part of this two-part series is here: RUBAN Part 1 Lookbook And Video
How did you decide to switch to fashion design?
This idea came to us after a few years of working as fashion stylists. We thought that there isn’t anything interesting left for us to explore in that field. We were tired of editorial styling and dressing TV celebrities, so the idea of launching our label came quite naturally. We felt the need to express ourselves through clothing, to tell the world something very important for us. There is nothing else that interests us more than fashion, at least for now!
How does your experience as stylists affects your approach to design?
The greatest benefit of working as a stylist is that you get to know all kinds of clothes, fabrics, textures, colors. When you go through the clothes and accessories picked out for a photo shoot, you know exactly how it would look as a finished product. It is an invaluable experience for putting together a collection. You may have dozens of ideas at once and it all comes down to one visual concept. Of course, the knowledge of market, retailers, fabric types – fashion stylist is responsible for all that.
What was the inspiration behind your debut collection?
It may seem strange, but our inspiration was people with lack of style. We just wanted to show them all how they can change it for the better! Then, we ourselves are constantly perfecting our style and searching for unique pieces. Seeing the same bags and shoes everywhere is very depressing.
When we design, we imagine girls like us, places they visit, people they meet, all what’s around them. That’s how we came to designing casual wear – because we couldn’t find things we wanted.
What was the biggest challenge so far?
We were arguing a lot at first, it wasn’t an easy start. As we have different opinions about clothes and style we had trouble working together in the beginning. But then we realized that our difference is our greatest strength because we can see more sides of everything. The collection is a synthesis of our ideas, yet we would wear it each her own way.
Then, it was really hard to find the right people to bring our ideas to life. We are still hiring, still organizing… After some time, when we build a great team, there will be less managing and more creative work.
How big is your team? Do you have a pattern-maker, seamstresses?
Right now our team is quite small. The two of us come up with an idea, then we go talk to our sample-maker. She is a seasoned professional with an enormous experience in both pattern-making and sewing. She can also tell from our rough sketches if the design can actually be produced into a real garment. It took us some time to broaden her horizons and convince her to try some of our crazy ideas. Many fabulous pieces, like the slashed-shoulder coat, were made as a result of her decision to give it a try.
Then, the production! Coats are made in one place, leather items – in another, knitwear – somewhere else. We are constantly trying to bring it all under one roof, it would speed up the process and be more convenient for everybody.
What’s your favorite item in the collection?
Probably the coat, short leather tops that go with virtually anything… slashed-knee pants… And almost everything else!!!
Which celebrity is very RUBAN and why?
Olivia Palermo, Natalia Vodianova, Alexa Chung.
These girls have the right amount of everything: eclectic, but not too much; feminine, but not hyper-sexy; calm and self-confident on top of that.
In which boutique or department store in the world would you like to see your collection?
10 Corso Como and Biffi in Milan, Departmentstore in Berlin, Luisa via Roma in Florence.
How do you see your brand in 10 years?
We definitely want to have our own manufacturing facility, good sales in Russia, Europe and US and nice profits… and every fashionista in the world to own a piece from our collections!
See the collection at RUBAN official page on Facebook
Visit rubanstyle.com for beautiful fashion photo shoots and editorials
The collection is available in Showroom Fourth Floor (Moscow)