Couture Fashion

Nikolay Bozhilov: Bulgarian Boy Wonder

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By Daniela Milosheska

Even from a young age, Nikolay Bozhilov always believed that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and as a child, he would use found objects to fashion into unique pieces of clothing. But little did he know this quirky talent would be the key to his success–a success he would find earlier than most. 

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It was at the tender age of 21 that this design school graduate won a lingerie competition held during London Fashion Week for Triumph, with the judging panel including the experienced eyes of designer Matthew Williamson and supermodel Helena Christensen. Competing with 28 students coming from different countries around the world, Bozhilov received a prize of 15,000 Euro in cash and the opportunity to work with the Triumph team of designers. 

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His ‘Morphology’ lingerie design for Triumph was put into production and was an immediate success, selling in limited editions in more than 120 countries worldwide. Before he knew it, he was flying all over the world visiting places like Paris, London and Berlin for their fashion weeks.  It was a prolific starting point for the designer, as Triumph did an adapted version of the design, marketing it through the supermodel and eco-activist Lily Cole. 

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That same year he also won the “Golden Needle” fashion award in Bulgaria, this time for his work on “Recycling Fashion,” a collection showcased at Sofia Design week. The “Recycling Fashion” collection was made entirely out of recycled old clothes, and erased any stigma that may have remained about wearing clothing once destined for the rubbish heap. “I think the idea was very well received,” he says humbly.

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His success didn’t stop there. In 2011 he attended the 10th edition of the International Fashion Contest “Off Fashion” held in Poland and came second to his classmate, Georgi Stoilov. Just a year later, in 2012, he designed yet another breathtaking collection called DNA, whose concept was focused around taking the different needlework and materials from a variety of eras, uniting simplicity with intricate detail.

 “The major unifying element is this collection is the structure of DNA. The molecule of heredity contains the idea of transmission of information encoded through generations. The garments bring information about different time periods, combining needlework and high tech materials. The project aims to meet the aesthetic standards in the past and present and to create new ones for the future,”is how he explains the collection.

Today, Nikolay Bozhilov is proud of what he has managed to achieve. In just 24 years of existence, he has managed to do what many people can never manage in a lifetime. But what’s even more astonishing to us is his devotion to the environment through using recycled materials for his collections.

 



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