INTERVIEW WITH DINA LYNNYK: AN INTRODUCTION OF VANGUARD DESIGNER LABEL “IT’S ME”

By Veronika Dorosheva

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The designer Dina Lynnyk is based in Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated from Kiev National University of Design and Technology in 2008. Since then she has been working as a fashion designer and freelance visual artist. She spends most of her time designing and creating for her own designer womenswear label It’s me. When she isn’t designing, she creates digital collages. Her collage work is sophisticated, playful and striking, yet disturbing and macabre at the same time. It might be not very easy to see beauty in it’s full extent in the distorted and grotesque images featuring different body parts and objects that are cut out, replaced, scattered over the canvas, and then merged and melted together to form a new shape. Lynnyk’s collages question the firmly established beauty ideals and visualize the artist’s search for beauty in ugliness. Lynnyk  doesn’t believe that ugly things actually exist. It’s only because people can’t see the inner beauty of things, do they consider them ugly. People lack insight to see the true beauty in things.

Lynnyk’s work as fashion designer is different. It is less disturbing and provocative, yet very visual, showcasing the designer’s passion for prints that she develops and manufactures herself. She refers to it as “gentle craziness” meaning wearable avant-garde pieces for modern and progressive young women.

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Her last SS 14 collection was inspired by the work of two visual artists, the Japanese artist Sadamasa Motonaga and American-Latvian Sven Lukin who is known for his 2D paintings. Especially in terms of colour and graphics, there is a strong connection between the art work of the afore mentioned artists and Lynnyk’s fashion design. Lukin’s 2D paintings of the curve serve as a source of inspiration and as a visual reference for Lynnyk’s gradient print, the lines and shapes twisted and blended together, printed on sleek simple tops and dresses. With this collection Lynnyk managed to translate visually abstract volumes and shapes into wearable clothing, a beautiful blend of art and fashion design.

Lynnyk’s designer work was featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Ukraine.

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Veronika Dorosheva talked to the talented designer slash artist Dina Lynnyk about beauty, her womenswear label and her visual work as well as the current political situation in Ukraine and the country’s emerging fashion industry.

VD: Your collage work often features different parts of the body sliced up, cut out and reassembled into a new shape and a new identity. It looks like a crossword or a puzzle where you have to guess different identities by having only one little clue. How did you come up with your collage technique and what does it mean to you? Are there any connections between your collage work and fashion design?

DL: Everything started with my  job for a fashion magazine in Kiev where I had to design moodboards. It was very easy: all I had to do was to cut out nice clean silhouettes and place them together. My current technique is very different. I came to it very spontaneously: at some point collage making became my passion and I started to make many collages on a daily basis. So my technique developed with exercise.

With my collages I pay homage to people whom I admire and whose personality and work interests me. You can definitely see the connection between my art and design work. I have my own aesthetic that you can sense in both works. Of course you won’t see the same monstrosity and the macabre feeling in my design work that you will notice in my collages, only because it’s way more difficult to translate abstract ideas and dark visions into fashion design compared to visual art. But I am definitely on my way to creating more consistency between my visual work and fashion design.

Editor’s note: Lynnyk already has a great example of how could this synergy of art and fashion work: her project “Creepy kids” features clothes by contemporary Ukrainian designers implanted into Lynnyk’s macabre world of collages.
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The Creepy Kids series by Dina Lynnyk ©

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VD: Why did you name your fashion label “It’s me”. Why “It’s me”?

DL: I never liked the idea of naming designer labels  after the designer’s name and surname. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don’t like publicity so much and don’t like to show off. Why constantly remind people of who stays behind the label and who is creating the clothes that they are supposed to wear and consider as part of their own unique identities? I wanted to avoid this sort of labeling.

“It’s me” simply means that every woman that stumbles upon my collection can easily identify herself with it, can make every piece her own just by wearing it and can say “yes, this is me”.

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VD: What do you like the most in the designing process?

DL: I love prints and colour combinations. I like the process of developing prints, because you can change the pattern and the whole design by only changing one colour. It’s a bit like magic. You never know what you’re going to get in the end. Sometimes even some mistakes can turn into  beautiful patterns. The designing process is also a learning process for me. In each collection I make less mistakes, and with each collection I grow.

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VD: As for the prints, what is your approach? Do you develop prints all by yourself or do you work with printing companies and other designers?

DL: I am kind of person who needs to do everything by myself and needs to have control over things I do. In a way, it’s a very intimate and spontaneous process. I still can change colours, volume and shape of the pattern last minute, just because I feel like it. I could never work as spontaneously if I collaborated with other designers or printing companies, because I would need to deliver some sort of final design that the others could work with. So it’s the freedom of creative expression and the presence of coincidence that I very appreciate in my work.

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More collages by the amazing Dina Lynnyk ©

VD: Talking politics: Can politics influence fashion? Can fashion be political? Please take into account the current political situation in Ukraine.

DL: The current political situation in Ukraine influences it’s social life to a great extent, therefore fashion as well. I know that many Ukrainian designers reacted to the current events by featuring some politics-related details and symbols in their current collections. I also have some military elements in my drafts and moodboards. It’s very important to show that we the designers are aware of the political situation and care of what’s going on in our country. It’s hard to think about floral prints knowing that your country is only a step away from getting involved in a war and there are fights going on in the streets.

VD: What about the fashion industry in Ukraine? How is it evolving?

DL: Nowadays it’s all about having investors and financial support. Of course it’s hard to grow and develop as a young fashion label without any investors and we have to have to manage design, production and funding all by ourselves. Nevertheless the fashion industry in Ukraine is growing. Now we have Vogue Ukraine. Ukrainian designers go to European countries, participate in special projects, and showcase their work at exhibitions and trade fairs.

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Editor’s note: There was an event during Paris Fashion Week earlier in March organized by Fashion Scout with the support of LVMH which aimed to support Ukrainian designers by showing their work to international buyers and press. Anna Wintour, Hamish Bowles and other influential fashion industry insiders attended the event. Two Ukrainian designers were selected for the shortlist of the LVMH Prize for young designers. Ukrainian designers also showed at Pitti Uomo in Florence within the special project “Guest Nation: Ukraine”. Other special projects with Luisa Via Roma, London Fashion Week followed. Dazed Digital, Vanessa Friedman from Financial Times, Sarah Mower from Vogue US and the blogger Susie Bubble wrote recently about Ukrainian designers and their work.Many of these positive happenings would probably not come true without the contribution of Daria Shapovalova, the creative director of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days, who supports and promotes Ukrainian fashion designers worldwide and encourages emerging fashion designers in Ukraine to keep up with their work no matter how difficult and hard it can be to get noticed and to get the business going.

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