Interview with Ekaterina Demidova: Art to wear
London girls adore scarves, no matter what the climate; scarves make a difference in every outfit. Here at The Upcoming we are confident that each of you will have more or less an entire collection of them.
So, this week we met with Ekaterina Demidova, the talented LFC graduate and fashion designer of Wrq.e.d London, the brand new accessory label.
Let’s start with the name of the brand; please could you explain what it means?
It’s really funny as everybody thinks it comes from my initials [and I confess, I too had that thought], but I hadn’t thought of that when the name was chosen.
I wanted the name to reflect the dynamic of scarves and the special free-spirited feeling that they bring. I wanted Wrq.e.d scarves to be the wearable artworks that would feel personal, hence the name Wrq.e.d – light-hearted, weightless, free, reckless at times, and very human.
WR stands for “we are”. Q.E.D is an initial of the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum”, which translates as “which was to be demonstrated” (referring to the showcase of up-and-coming artists). Self-irony and not taking ourselves too seriously is quite important, so I also like the fact that Q.E.D. is sometimes jokingly claimed to abbreviate “quite easily done”.
Your stunning collection of scarves is characterised by a surprising mix of visual contemporary art, poetry and literature, fashion and textiles. How and where was this idea born?
It came together very naturally. Poetry and literature always had huge influences on my work, so I guess it was just putting together things that inspire me.
Your creations are real drawings. Every single scarf is unique, just as a painting can be. In recent years, fashion has rediscovered craftsmanship and the uniqueness of its products as if they were masterpieces. Do you share this vision? What’s your opinion on the role of fashion today?
I deeply share the vision. To me, strength of craft lies in its use of traditional and contemporary techniques, ideas and materials to make extraordinary new work.
I would agree with the words of Harold Tillman, chairman of the BFC, who said that the fashion industry is a great story of British success. It’s one of the most important creative industries with a huge economic value; it drives innovation and growth around the world.
In a few days, you launch you’re A/W 2012-13 collection. What has inspired you?
The second collection is a step forward in the same direction, although this collection is more lyrical then the first one. The theme of each scarf is of a much more personal nature. We continue to collaborate with two super-talented artists: Olga Grotova and Sergey Kudryashev. It’s really hard to pick a favourite design, but I guess it has to be the one called “Muse” as it has work by all three of us combined.
We also kept two options for our fabric choice: silk georgette and silk-wool blend – one dressier, the other more casual.
Among all accessories, the scarf means movement, fluidity, maximum versatility and alone it could be the key piece of an entire outfit. An object is as practical as pretty. What does it represent for you?
The scarf is such an ambiguous object. If you look back in time you’ll see elegant pictures of Audrey Hepburn and alike in scarves, but you’ll also find pictures of uber-cool Patti Smith and Mick Jagger. Wearing a scarf gives you an edge.
Talking about the future, there are rumours about a men’s collection. Could you confirm that and give us some news?
Yes, indeed, we’ll be releasing our first men’s collection soon. It’ll be very similar to women’s – also collaborating with upcoming artists, but instead of poetry border we’ll have just a couple of discreet phrases, like something you wanted to say for a long time, but somebody already wrote. They will also come as oblongs and as pocket squares.
Talking about your interests, what do you like doing in your spare time? Can you tell us your typical Sunday?
I think creativity is pretty much like a tap – once opened, it keeps flowing. So I don’t divide my time into work and spare. But I also help out a charity called Gift of Life that offers hope and practical care to Russian and CIS children and young adults with cancer. It’s the biggest charity in Russia and I’m very glad its sister opened in the UK.
I think my Sundays are typical for an east-ender: I would go to Columbia Road Flower Market, and then walk down to Broadway Market for a lunch with friends. We could then go altogether to one of our studios or stay at London Fields for some time if the weather is nice.
Is your city a source of inspiration for your work? If you could choose a new city to live in, where would you go?
I wouldn’t say city, I’d say cities. The fact that I’m Russian, but lived between different cities and countries a large part of my life affected me greatly. Themes of travelling and nostalgia are really common for my work. So if I had to choose one place to stay, I probably wouldn’t be able to.
Personally, do you prefer a scarf worn at the neck, in the hair or tied to your bag?
I’m probably a bit old-fashioned in that matter and still love my scarf around the neck.
Stay tuned here.
Laura De Vittori
Photos: Courtesy of Wrq.e.d