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My name is Xenia and I run a brand called Xenia Telunts. The brand has existed for over 3 years now and my studio is based in Leeds. I was born in Moscow, Russia but came over to England at the age of 15 to study. While studying at LCF I interned at JW Anderson as well as assisted a costume designer. I also worked in retail at a brand called YMC in the role of a visual merchandiser.
I launched my brand the summer I graduated university and been busy running it ever since.
No, I explored various pathways, which included fine art, architecture and textile design before making a decision to pursue a degree in Fashion Design. I realised fashion often combines all of the disciplines I studied previously and would allow me to express myself most freely.
I wanted to create a brand that creates its pieces locally in the UK by working with makers who also have sustainability at the core of their values. I wanted to make sure that I don’t just create new pieces but also make a difference in the lives of those who I work with by paying a fair living wage and allowing their creativity to be heard and visible in our pieces.
I love communicating with my customers, I feel very lucky to have such an engaging audience which consists of people that care about sustainability in fashion and want to own clothes that are locally and ethically made and hold a story behind them.
Although the pandemic certainly created a lot of challenges for me and my team, luckily we were able to keep making pieces and planning new collections via Zoom.
I try not to plan too far ahead, if we learnt anything in the past year is that we can’t always foresee the future and my intention is to keep on doing my brand for as long as it makes sense to me.
LCF has a great reputation and is considered to be one of the best ones in the world for what it offers. Having a great library and Centre for Sustainable Fashion were the points that played a crucial role in my decision making.
I actually started my LCF journey on a different course, Fashion Design and Development (FDD) and transferred to Womenswear after Year 1. FDD was a lot more about commercial fashion and had a lot of projects with business in mind, which was great but I was a lot more interested in the technical side of Fashion, for example the pattern cutting and draping. I also felt that Womenswear gave me the creative freedom which I craved and taught me a lot about the importance of both conceptual and visual research.
The thing I enjoyed most was to learn how to complete the journey from the initial research to the final garment. It wasn’t always easy or straightforward by no means, but seeing the sketchbook at the end of the project and seeing how the initial idea grew and transformed and how the technical knowledge informed the shapes which would then result in the final piece was truly mind-blowing.
I think I pretty much enjoyed them all but I loved learning how to make things properly, for example the Suit Project which focused on learning about soft and traditional tailoring techniques. This project involved a lot of toiling and making changed with the pattern and I loved the intricate work that involved.
Technical knowledge is power and don’t forget who your customer is.
Prepare to work hard, commit to the course fully and embrace your creativity and have as much fun with it as you can because you will never be as free to create what you want than during your student years.