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TCT: The fashion industry is never short of bizarre new trends when different styles and designers’ opinions merge together in a conglomeration of creativity. What is the most unusual request you’ve received during your career as a fashion designer?
NI: Once I received a personal order request to make a baby’s hat resemble an anatomic human brain. I honored the request, and now I truly believe the child will never forgive me and his mom for this sense of humor. All jokes aside, Nataliya Nada New York never fails to cater to custom knitwear requests, whether for creative parents or companies wishing to acquire corporate gifts from cashmere, merino wool, luxury cotton, or silk for any occasion or season of the year.
TCT: If you were to offer some words of wisdom to a brand new designer in the industry, what would you deem beneficial to share with them?
NI: I would tell them to try to imagine who they want to be and what type of skills this person would need to have. Then, try to learn these skills from someone (a person or company) who is already successful and is willing to lend you some time. It will save your time, effort, money and it is a surefire way to take you where you want to go. Studying at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology gave me the chance to intern at both men’s and women’s New York Fashion Weeks, which was a priceless experience as it allowed me the opportunity to be behind the scenes and learn how to arrange a runway or fashion presentation. You can only obtain this type of knowledge from real life experience and you will never be able to find it in any books or abstract settings. My next internship at Lola JO sales group in the heart of NYC’s garment district allowed me to see the other side of the business – sales, distribution and professional language in communicating with customers and buyers. The fashion business is just all about details, from designing to running the business.
TCT: After all of the successes and accomplishments you have achieved since moving to New York City pursuing your dreams in a flourishing market, have you figured out what your next move will be?
NI: Our next step is to network within the industry and spread the word about supporting the artisanal skills of Ukrainian women by continuing to deliver the highest quality knitwear made from Italian yarns. I am driven by the desire to marry my success to that of others, and during my exploratory research I vividly learned firsthand about the hardships of senior Ukrainian women who are alienated by a job market which continues to favor younger age groups, while they are facing the economic difficulties imposed on my country’s men and women by political instability and displacement. These women, many of whom led successful and secure careers during bygone times, find themselves sitting out on life in modern Ukraine struggling to get by, a very humbling remainder of their proud independent past. I found myself dreaming up an enterprise that would put the beautiful skills of these able women to work in which they are able to produce heirloom and luxury knitwear, including amongst its threads the desire to exist and contribute. I aim to leverage the beautiful values of self-realization and empowerment to produce exhilarating and beautiful products.
TCT: What is your dream project?
NI: Without a doubt, my dream project would be to build a recognizable foundation in the United States to help Ukrainian senior women to become real artisans using their superb knitting skills. You can’t imagine my happiness to hear someone tell me ‘thank you for bringing me back to life.’ A very important thing I have come to learn is that nowadays it’s not enough to be a product or service supplier, you have to change this world for the better. Your business should value humankind.
TCT: What advice would you give your younger self?
NI: Dream, research, plan, and act. Never stop in the middle of this process. You would be really surprised to know how many people are willing to help you if your project and ideals come from your heart. People like to be a part of something big, socially-conscious, and valuable…something that will make them feel good to be a part of at the end of the day.
TCT: How would you sum up your business in 80 characters?
NI: A socially conscious luxury fashion brand empowering ‘left out’ Ukrainian women.
TCT: Time to close with our Quickfire Question series. Out of the two options, which appeals to your liking more?
Apple or Dell? Apple
Jan Vermeer or Michelangelo? Michelangelo
Natalie Portman or Audrey Hepburn? Audrey Hepburn
Mark Twain or Stephen King? Mark Twain
Noodles or Rice? Rice