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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Q&A with Yana of Supayana

Yana Gorbulsky's living proof of the success that the Internet can provide budding entrepreneurs. Originally from Moscow, she taught herself to sew as child. Since then, she's relocated to New York. Her business has garnered an enormous following, from livejournal hipsters to members of indie rock bands. Supayana's combination of edgy vintage and and girly japanese lolita have had a huge inspiration on the tastes of many aspiring fashion designers and diy-ers today. Read and become inspired as well!

How did the Supayana clothing line begin?
I was in college (majoring in speech pathology) and started selling clothes I made on eBay to pay for textbooks.

You've never recieved any professional training in fashion design. Was this ever an obstacle in clothing contstruction?
Well, it just took me longer to figure out the right way to construct things...I had to learn from trial and error instead of somebody showing me the correct way from the start. From what I hear about fashion schools, however, is that they don't really emphasize

the importance of being able to sew your own designs. They train you for the field, where you pay people to make your patterns, samples, and produce your garments. I don't really think I missed out on anything.

You're originally from Russia. Has your heritage impacted upon your clothing in any way?
I think it makes me less wasteful than most Americans I encounter, but other than that...not really? I try to use up all my scraps and ship in materials that can
be recycled easily.

What's the most important thing you've learnt from your experience as a designer and business owner?
Be grateful for your customers!

It's undeniable, the impact you've had on other budding designers. How do you react to people who have borrowed heavily from your designs?
Well, when it first started happening I would get really upset about it, but I'm too busy to even care about. It's just part of the fashion industry!

You've said that your parents encouraged you to study speech pathology, because you weren't sure of what you wanted to be. How have they reacted to your occupation as a designer?
They've been really supportive! My mom collects all of my press and shows her friends. It's so cute!

What's the best and the worst thing about living in Brooklyn?
The best thing is the diversity of people living here. I rode my bike from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay a few times, and I was always astounded by how many different communities I rode past along the way. You have people from all over the world in one place. It's an amazing thing.
The worst's overpriced. So many neighborhoods in Brooklyn have Manhattan prices nowadays, and I think that's just ridiculous. NY used to be a place for artists, but artists can't even afford to live here anymore. I feel like the growing prices have really stifled creativity here.

Check out Yana's site for more information on purchasing. also has a great feature on Yana's day-to-day life as a designer.

Over and out.

-Amanda C.Q.

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