Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian fashion designer.
Being passionate about fashion, she started collecting vintage clothes and accessories from a very young age. She loved hunting for the new rarities therefore she frequently visited markets or vintage boutiques as well as major auctions to find them. After becoming a client of luxury brands Valentino, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Dior she was noted for her refined and sophisticated style.
At first, Ulyana collaborated with various designers for the creation of pieces for their collections, but since she did not receive any credit for her work she afterwards decided to launch her own fashion label. Miss Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with the Fall Winter 2011/2012 collection. After the first two collections were shown, the brand received lots of media attention alongside with many requests from all over the world.
Nowadays the Russian company produces ready-to-wear women clothes, bags, fine jewellery and headpieces. Besides the retail stock, there is an atelier where clients can order made-to-measure versions of the runway items. The style of Sergeenko’s couture collections is a blend of military, literary and fairytale influences.
One of the key principles of Ulyana’s work is meticulous attention to details and high quality.
Everything is produced in Moscow under the strict control of the designer herself. All fabrics and trimmings are bought in France, Italy or Japan and some garments have vintage details that have been specifically picked at antique markets.
Craftsmanship and technical knowledge have defined her work from the beginning, indeed the stylist collaborates with numerous highly skilled ateliers from Russia.
With her, every season is a new story about her native country.
To give an example, her Spring 2016 couture collection “marries two eras: the 1980s, just before the fall of Communism, and the turn of the 20th century, just before the Russian revolution” as reported on Vogue Runway.
The show was a success – as the majority of her works are – furthermore becoming an occasion to confirm her good taste in fashion and exclusive elegance.
Jeans were originally designed as workwear for laborers on the farms and mines of America’s Western states in the late 19th Century; they proved extremely durable and became the garment of choice for the working class. After World War II jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion: American culture and vintage clothing quickly became a fascination, especially among Japanese youth.
Denim from Japan has a reputation among enthusiasts for being the best in the world and for good reason: it is known for its premium construction and the skilled, artisanal craft required to make it.
The main reason why Japanese denim has become so renowned is for perfecting these two defining qualities: being woven on old looms to produce selvage fabric and using just natural dye.
Jeans in Japan were mainly produced at Kurabo Mills, one of the world’s longest operating mills, with the use of Toyoda machines. The company was founded in 1926 as “Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.” by Sakichi Toyoda (on the left picture) and soon became very successful in the textile field for its numerous innovations and improvements that lead to an increase in productivity.
Selvage fabric is the natural end of a roll of fabric which – when made into a pair of jeans – prevents unraveling of the material. Producing selvage denim is more expensive since it can only be woven at a width of 31″ and is woven on old looms requiring more skill and adaptness.
Natural dye is another reason why Japanese denim is significantly better than others. It contains many impurities and it is way more expensive than most synthetic dyes used nowadays. This way each pair of jeans has a distinctive composition that only becomes more special over time. The first wash creates the characteristic fades and creases unique to each wearer.
Some examples of Japanese brands producing luxury denim are:
- Big John – Pioneers of Japanese Denim, they started their business over 70 years ago as a small sewing factory in Kojima, known today as the denim capital of Japan. With Japanese design, Japanese fabric and Japanese production as core elements they “continue to pursue uncompromised quality and distinguished style in each piece of clothing.”
- Evisu Genes – founded by Hidehiko Yamane, who was one of the first on the premium denim scene. Originally done as an homage to Levi’s classic 501, the brand took off and gained him a cult following among those in the streetwear scene. Evisu quickly earned the reputation for being the best in denim and was the first brand able to sell each pair for over $100.
- Momotaro Jeans – considered the pinnacle of denim artistry: priced at roughly $2000, each pair is made entirely by hand and dyed using indigo from the indigofera tinctoria plant. The denim takes up to 8 hours for every 3 feet of material; it can take up to a year to produce just one pair. The fastening button is made of silver and silk lines the back of each pair. Once finished, jeans are washed in Seto Sea water.
Years of tradition, training, craft, and skills are involved in the process of creation.