From Ukraine to L.A: Meet Designer Valery Kovalska, Who Just Released Her SS '18 Collection

by Flaunt Intern

Images via Valery Kovalska

Images via Valery Kovalska

Since age 20, Ukranian talent Valery Kovalska has been designing, breaking the boundaries every step of the way. Ever since the launch of her first clothing line back in 2010, Kovalska (now 28) has taken her brand to international adoration, participating in global fashion weeks and creating her current labels, KO Studio and Valery Kovalska. Flaunt was able to catch her to talk about her rise to success. Check out the interview below.

You became a designer at a very young age. Which designers did you admire then and aspire to be like? 

Actually, I was never thinking to be a designer or to be involved with fashion, I was raised in an industrial city in Ukraine where fashion didn’t exist. So I was attending classic ballet school and remaking my old cloths or my mom’s, which I really liked but same time it was a major problem for my school.

Then when I was in college some of my friends, who have been involved with music and TV, had asked me to remake their clothing as well. So eventually I received more and more requests and all of a sudden, I became a stylist. A stylist for different TV projects and music videos. Honestly, the time I became a designer I didn’t know that much about fashion. Of course I knew a few names like Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen. But I got a fashion education and experience as a designer at the same time. Now I really admire some outstanding and persistent designers like Yohji Yamomoto, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Proenza Schoeler and many more.

Architecture plays a huge role in terms of your design inspiration when it comes to the structure of your garments. Why is this aspect so important to you?

That is really hard to answer. I think organically some people tend to love or be inspired by some people, objects, art they feel and understand. My inspiration is always so mixed with different objects from the shadow on the wall, to color of ocean, a small ceramic plate, or some person on the street. I collect enormous folders with different inspiration objects with movies and music. Music is a big part of my inspiration. When I do my sketches, I literary can spend 30-40 minutes finding the perfect sound for what I'm feeling and want to create.

Ideally, who are you designing your clothes for? 

I don’t really like to put any limits on my people, 'cause every person can describe themselves completely different from what I can see. Every time I read some description like, "This is created for independent, strong, confident, modern, and arty women," I don’t get it. If I’m weak or not that much fashion forward, I can’t wear it? I mean my goal is to create something that will make any woman feel great and comfortable. And, of course, make them stand out a bit.

Previously you worked as a stylist and often designed clothing for TV in Russia and Ukraine. How did this lead you to branch off and create your own collection?

When you work as a stylist you, especially with celebrities, really need to do the best for your client. Plus you have producers, creative video directors, someone's boyfriend or girlfriend [giving their opions]. You actually have to put together all the opinions and select one, and fast. Sometimes you have one or two days to create entire outfit, plus dancers.

Working as a stylist really helped me to understand how different people precept their body, the way they wanted to dress depending on the mood, or occasion. One day I realized that there is no more fun for me. It became just doing your job, so I took a risk with all my friends and decided to do a collection. I had no clue what to do. but it happened, and quite successfully. 

Do you have a dream piece or collection you want to create? 

I think in every collection I have a couple of my favorite items, which I find close to what I can call a dream item. There’s never been a moment when I was thinking "I did that. That  is perfect." I always know that there is a possibility in the future, and I have to do better, improve my mistakes, find  better fabrics, better techniques...

What do you look forward to in your career? Is there any coming project you're really excited about. Anything you would really like to accomplish?

Fashion now is on a new stage, so it’s hard to build some long-term strategies. I really want to build a solid worldwide brand that will remain with its specific and exclusive style and signature. At the same time, I’m looking forward to working with one of the biggest brands and to be able to create something with no limits from the production angle. But at the same time to be shaped with a great history and identity. To create costumes for movies is also one of my dreams. I think it’s really challenging for fashion designer.

Right now I have this freedom of trying something new and unknown. Every season we do a new step. This season we did our first show in LA. I really believe that the LA fashion scene could be great for new emerging talents, meeting already established industry and professionals in PR and media.

Written by Alex Ceballos
Images via Valery Kovalska