We talk with Lena Kasparian ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.
MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?
My name is Lena Kasparian, I am a Fashion Designer and creative director of the brand. Lena Kasparian the black label is a brand that specialises in 'after 5' looks for men and women. I design cocktail, evening dresses, bridal gowns, and mens suits.
MM: Can you describe your creative process?
Well it all starts with an idea, then I draw up some concepts, which usually snowball into another idea. We get the technical sketches drawn up, then we select fabrics and materials to create the look and start sample production. From 1 design we create many looks and a collection comes to life.
MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
Imagination is the key, I crave inspiration from old Hollywood movies, vintage glam; the way women and men use to dress in the 50’s was pure chic! A creative mind can grab inspiration from all aspects of life, thats what makes it so special.
MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?
As a designer and a business woman I must consider all aspects of creating; the collection must flow and have purpose, where would the garment be worn, who will buy it, why would they buy it. The aesthetics and the structure of the piece must make sense and be visibly sound and beautiful without losing its integrity.
MM: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
Developing skill takes time and as you grow and experience more you start to embrace the process, the evolution of fashion always evolves but the substance always maintains itself and you create signature looks which always play part in each collection and mine is consistent. I believe simplicity is always more elegant, and classic shapes will never go out of style.
MM: How do you find working as a designer in Australia? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?
I don’t see myself designing for Australia but designing for an international market as we all crave glamour. Being Australian of an Armenian heritage gives me great understanding of my personal identity. Living in a multicultural country makes me feel connected to the whole world.
MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?
My family has been in the rag trade for over a decade and still are. Working in fashion retail gave me insight of the industry and working with stylists taught me a lot about myself and my natural ability to create looks. People noticed my flare for design and gave me the encouragement to start my own label.
MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?
I'm self taught. Experience working in the jewellery and fashion trade gave me insight of the business aspect of the industry, and I learnt as I went along. Being hands on and doing the majority of the work myself was the best way.
MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?
When you have a passion brewing inside you then you will push yourself and challenge your abilities. It doesn’t matter if you fail, as long as you gave it a go. I love creating looks and making people feel beautiful, the idea of drawing a dress and then zipping it onto someones back gives me a thrill. It's the beauty of being a designer, bringing a creation to life.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?
The collection is inspired by every day people who want to feel alive, confident, and sexy. I wanted to design garments using different textures and fabrics, such as velvet, fur, sequins and silks and to keep the collection flowing with a colour palette of black and fuchsia. My after 5 collection will suit all seasons keeping in mind a broad international spectrum, and it will appeal to all age groups with its versatile looks.
Thank you so much Lena for giving us an insight into your brand. We are very much looking forward to seeing the after 5 collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway this September!