In celebration of the diverse range of skills within our Fashion programme, we have commissioned a series of designer profiles from our second-year BA Fashion Journalism students. Showcasing the art of fashion designing and fashion writing, each profile will provide an in-depth insight into the work and inspirations of a selected graduating designer. Here Alexandra Castle profiles BA Fashion: Fashion Print student Alisa Ruzavina, whose collection has won one of five Maison/0 Green Trail prizes and is on view at Degree Show Two: Design until 24 June 2018.
Alisa Ruzavina: Designing with a purpose
Vibrant and electric Alisa Ruzavina, a 24-year-old print student from Russia has just showcased her joyful and crazy collection Love Bomb for the world to see. A strong believer in creating fashion with a purpose, the designer has finished each of the five looks with an individual message: “No Planet B”, “Stay Humane”, “The Sun Will Always Rise”, “Joyful Riot” “Refuse To Be Confused” and “Love Revolution”. The collection is fully sustainable in accordance with her messages, using organic hemp, cotton and bamboo silk as well as discarded toy waste for embroidery. Sponsored by the Italian company Alcantara, every look is hand-dyed and screen-printed with sponsored eco-friendly Permaset Aqua inks. Repurposing clothing as a tool for positive social change, her collection resists the use of fashion of as a means of oppression.
During the BA Fashion internal show, a manifesto was handed out to the audience before rioting models paraded down the Central Saint Martins runway, as the words “Swing low sweet symphony” resonated through a hand-held megaphone. Modelling a sunbeam ensemble, with flared puff trousers, Ruzavina spread her bright message. Closing the show was “Love Revolution” modelled by Berni Yates, Designer and Outreach Practitioner at Central Saint Martins, complete with surreal headwear. Ruzavina says that “making actual clothes for real bodies has been so important to me”, as she believes in sculpture for all body types, which she claims are not embraced by the fashion industry.
Resembling a Wes Anderson film character, Ruzavina can often be seen with electric green cat eye eyeliner and cherry coloured lipstick, her eyebrows bleached white, her fringe held back by large purple clips on each side, revealing handmade earrings with cartoon characters similar to the Flintstones. She wears a pink metallic chiffon shirt underneath a pill and candy covered wrap, slashed perfectly to reveal her braless breasts, and green and yellow polka-dot trousers over pink opaque tights tucked into coloured, metallic, vegan Dr. Martens.
Ruzavina has a manner of speaking about people with such respect and admiration that one can’t help but smile when around her. As she describes one of the models that came in for a fitting that morning she systematically begins with her clothing, with the excitement of someone who has encountered another with a similar love for her exuberant sense of dress: “She’s amazing, she is so eccentric. She was wearing a mesh top with witches on it, I loved it.” She then goes on to describe her tutor, Elisa Palomino – “a Spanish lady with flowers in her hair always,” she specifies. “Now she has big glasses and looks like a Russian soviet character. She’s cool, she wears kimonos and always is colourful, like me.” She explains how she was John Galliano’s assistant for ten years and must have “soaked up the crazy vibes.” “Elisa tells us to be more crazy but woman, I’m already crazy, if I try and be more crazy I might die,” she says laughing.
Ruzavina’s final collection has proved a hit with designers as well as fashion journalist Tamsin Blanchard, who said, “it’s exactly what the fashion world needs right now, a joyful crazy love bomb.” Blanchard, along with a panel of judges from Central Saint Martins and LVMH, awarded Ruzavina one of five prizes for the inaugural Maison/0 Green Trail, which celebrates excellence in sustainable innovation.