By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Designer Ev Bessar has long been one of Eluxe’s favourites, thanks to her sustainable approach to unique knitwear and urban clothing with an unconventional flair. The Russian born, New York based designer uses organic cotton and wool to create theatrical garments, with a taste of dark eccentricity. Ever since she took her first steps as a young Parsons graduate she has made a splash in the fashion world, showcasing her collections at Gotham Hall during New York Fashion Week, being featured in various top fashion publications, and tirelessly committing her work to support her charity that helps children with congenital heart disease.
In this exclusive interview she reveals her motivations, inspirations and frustrations with Eluxe.
How does nature inspire your designs?
Nature is an unlimited source of inspiration from textures to layers, shapes and sounds. The perfect scenery is a powerful tool for me that I filter through emotions and translate into a design. I find striking reflection of feelings in a depth of the structures, especially after looking from different perspectives and angles.
In the general panorama of ethical and sustainable fashion, what strategies do you think are already working and what needs to change most?
One way to support sustainability is to to avoid waste when creating garments. I prefer knitting, crocheting, felting, and zero waste pattern making. Its very interesting and challenging for me to keep playing with layers and textures using a rectangular piece of fabric and achieving new looks. I also think upcycling could gain more popularity if fast fashion weren’t so strong. The life of a $10 t-shirt can only be 2 washes! However, vintage clothing is very popular; perfectly constructed garments that serve for decades. It’s important to realise the benefits of using high quality materials; it’s a long-run investment. Plus the toxic free clothes are not damaging for our health and help to contribute to (preserving the) Earth. When I’m looking for fabrics, I am always making sure there is no polyester added.
Which natural materials do you like working with the most?
My favourites are wool, cashmere, alpaca, organic cotton, silk. They are natural and they feel great on the skin. Some of the great sustainable yarns I have been using are hemp, bamboo, and banana fibres. They definitely add to the chic look, and serve the purpose of the perfect imperfection style. By doing custom made designs, I spend a lot of time on each garment starting with raw elements and applying various techniques, texturing, mixing materials.
What steps do you take in your daily life to be a bit greener?
Buying organic food, using glass containers, reusable bags and water bottles, and fluorescent light bulbs..
What’s your biggest ‘eco sin’?
I believe one of the major problems we are facing today is plastic pollution. I’m trying my best to eliminate plastic usage. But we are covered in plastic in all senses: it’s everywhere. Even though there are many alternatives, it’s difficult to avoid it. The great news is that there are solutions researchers are trying to bring to life. The most successful so far is the mushroom that is fed with plastic waste and after a few months it becomes an edible substance.
Which eco heroes are you most inspired by and why?
There are many great scientists and philanthropists that are working so hard to help preserve the Earth, they are all worth attention and praise. As an example I would like to mention Dianna Cohen. She is an artist and co founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which is working towards a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, the ocean and the environment.
You are not only kind to nature but also to humans, through your charity that fundraises to help children with congenital heart defects. Have you had any recent initiatives with your brand in connection to this organisation?
We have just launched a fundraising campaign during Inaugural photo exhibition “Portrait d’Atmosphère” by a wonderful artist, mother, and a dear friend of mine Jessica de Vreeze. I organised a flash mob with dancers and models, choreographed by Karma Stylz, Mise en beauté by Joey Sanchez, Brandon Kan and Julie Demidova. The event was hosted by AnaStasy and Janel Koloski and supported by Geometria TV and Superdave media. The campaign is built under a 30 days program of a Save A Child’s Heart organisation saving underprivileged children with CHD from all around the world. The program offers a match to all the funds we raise, so they will be doubled and it’s an amazing opportunity to combine forces and save as many children as we can.
What are you proudest of so far in your career?
I am proud of being able to follow my dreams which helps me to create positive change, raise awareness to problems that matter to my heart. It definitely makes me happy that so many people support my ideas not only because they believe in my talent as a designer but also they share the desire to make the world a better place.
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