Svetlana Kuraeva / Behind the Scenes
Svetlana Kuraeva is the brains and creator of the Russian brand “Behind the Scenes” where she seeks the opportunity to collaborate with contemporary artists from around the world such as Ricardo Cavolo. With a clear vision of the brand’s concept she works through pattern designs to create the perfect pieces with the right amount of balance and dynamism.
Where does the name “Behind the Scenes” come from?
My brand had a different name when I started working on the first collection, but I've decided to change it. I often read and hear that many designers compare their clothing with the canvas upon which their vision is reflected, though I think this comparison is rather applicable to those who work with the prints, as the technology is straightforward. You got the sketch; you got the print. There's nothing between the design and the product, just the printing machine. Sweaters are more difficult to produce, many specialists are, in fact, involved in the process, so I've thought it is like an action, a performance, where the spectator sees only the finale, where as all first acts were played behind the screen. That's how the name “Behind the Scenes” was born.
How do you work with other artists through every collection?
When I'm working with an artist, I choose some of his published work and together we think how they should be adjusted, according to my ideas and fashion trends, to make them look good on a piece of clothing.
How did you discover artist Ricardo Cavolo?
I often come to Barcelona, usually during the summer, with my son. We like to go to the central bookstore where he flips through the comic strips and I buy books on design. Accidentally we found a book called El Desorganismo de Daniel Johnston by Ricardo Cavolo. The book was in Spanish, a language, which I barely understand, but everything was crystal clear even without the text, that's how close to me the story of the main character appeared. I got back to this book from time to time, and finally I felt a desire to draw sketches using the pictures from it as an inspiration for the clothing design. When I returned to St. Petersburg, I got in touch with the artist, and he immediately agreed to work together.
How do you create a connection between your brand and the artists?
Now, when our first collection came out, many artists took notice of it and started offering other collaborations, which is, of course, great. I think the artists can thus express themselves in other kinds of design, which opens new possibilities for them.
What are some of the challenges you have come across during this project?
A lot of different things happened to me while I was working on the collection, both funny and not, so I had a chance to figure out that the name fits perfectly to the brand. We don't have our own production facilities up to now and have to work with other factories. There was a story when several of them at once refused to accept the job “on ethical grounds”. We have a design based on Ricardo Cavolo's drawing of Russian criminal tattoos. This is a specific line that he explores, and I like it very much. It was the reason why they wouldn't do it. People asked whether I seriously wanted that but it's important to me to finish things up, so I made this model and it's the most popular one now. It's a small victory for me.
What's next for "Behind the scenes"?
Of course, I want to develop the brand, and I find ways that it can be done. I'd like to work with multiple artists at the same time to create several lines in a collection. Another thing is to expand the range of items, for instance, include skirts and dresses, some smaller merchandise. Also we're planning to make a basic collection of the brand.
What opportunities did you find inside the Russian market?
When I was creating “Behind the Scenes”, I understood perfectly well that the requirements of the Russian market were mainly defined by the climate. Summer dresses are good for three months maximum, where as the woven sweaters would always be handy. I think this is the main distinct feature of Russian reality. We are freezing most of the time here, so everyone needs warm things to wear.
How would you describe your aesthetics?
The aesthetics of “Behind the Scenes” is Avant-guard and pop art.
Who are in your opinion, the top 3 independent designers in Russia?
My top three consists of Nina Donis, Gosha Rubchinskiy and Pirosmani.
What are some of your fears when we talk about innovation?
I don't fear anything. Moreover, I hope that new technologies will impose less restriction on the design. For instance, we can't always use as much colour on a sweater now as we would want and I expect I'll be able to use the tones, which I find appropriate, without any limitations.
What do you find through Fashion?
I found a way to express my artistic ideas and transform my search for inspiration into an actual process of creative interaction.