Designer Spotlight: Natasha Lazarovic of Temna Fialka
I’m just going it say it: Temna Fialka is unquestionably one of the most innovative and captivating lines I’ve seen from a young Canadian designer. Specializing in custom Eastern European inspired pieces, Temna Fialka never fails to be eccentric, radiant, and full of very real culture.
Local Edmonton designer Natasha Lazarovic has designed and produced the line since 2000 using a vast variety of mediums and a panache for fantastic detailing and color. She considers each piece to be its own entity, never creating duplicates. Natasha creates two lines for Temna Fialka, one tailored to European runway fashion and one more “elaborate and profound.” Designing only using authentic and raw materials, her clothes are of the absolute highest quality.
With her immense skill obvious from even quickly glancing at the line, it comes as no surprise Natasha’s been sewing since age 7! She developed her taste for fashion by watching her mother sew late into the night. Infected with the fashion design bug, Natasha honed her craft for years any way she could, often tearing bed sheets and already finished clothing apart to create new pieces. She later fine-tuned her skill at Estae’s Academy (Edmonton, Alberta), studying Dutch Pattern Drafting.
I can’t get enough of the artistry portrayed in Natasha’s designs. She goes far beyond the fabric to create pieces that really tell stories and combine valuable cultural traditions with modern trends. Her family background and history heavily influence her line, making it incredibly interesting and authentic in a meaningful way. Hers is the truly creative stream of fashion design I adore!
Check out my interview with the brilliant Natasha:
1. What does fashion mean to you?
Although this is widely debatable, Fashion to me is Art. The ability to express myself through fabric and mixed mediums without borders or restraint – I am fascinated by the endless creative freedom that comes from a bolt of fabric, an old scarf, a box of feathers or tails.
2. What drew you to fashion, and specifically to starting your own line?
I have always created, whether it be painting, music, drawing, mixed media or clothing. Without the ability to express myself through my work I would be a wretchedly miserable person indeed.
Over the years it took some time to decide which medium to focus on, and as fate often decides I landed a job in a little shop on Whyte Ave when I was about 20. I started by making accessories to sell with the clothes and then moved into leather work and my own line of dresses. The whole 4 years I was with that store was pure exploration and the development of my skills. Experimenting with the market, buying , selling, managing and styling. My line began in 2001, and I have spent the past 10 years trailing and re-focusing different aspects of Fashion and merging mix media into what you see today.
Culture, color, and history.
I was very blessed to be raised in a very culturally rich family. My father and his family emigrated from a small Hutzul Village in the Carpathian Mountains, and made it very clear to us as children that “this is who you are, your family, don’t ever forget that.” We have much gypsy, Turkish, Romanian, Armenian, Mongolian and Ukrainian influence in our culture, so the music and cross cultural influence is to die for. Dark rich forests, heavily embroidered sheep skin coats and leatherwork, fast gypsy influenced music and a ferocity not easily found.
4. Use three words to describe your designs.
Eccentric, cultural, detailed.
5. What is the most challenging part of being a designer?
A designer like myself is constantly going against the grain. I don’t do regular Couture or standard Ready to Wear fashion – I have no interest in that – so often the only thing people can equate me with is a “Costume Designer”.
I find that incredibly challenging because not once have I started something with a “costuming” intention – it is merely my take on a cultural piece (from the Carpathian Mountains) or something I would actually wear. The head pieces and accessories are to display my diversity of skill sets and my incorporation of mixed media into my artistic works. The accessories are more for the show quality of the overall piece and are intended to draw you to the dress or overall concept of the image – the dress itself may be toned down or up to cater to individual needs.
I started designing at the age of 7. My mother had this old beat up Singer that rarely worked and I would rip apart her bed sheets or blankets to make skirts and dresses. Of course it was a disaster, but as I grew and explored how garments were actually put together I learned how to do it properly.
So the answer is likely a shotty, poorly made bed sheet dress with a train (laughs).
7. Describe your personal style.
Chic Urban gypsy. I love Parasuco and Diesel Denims and jackets over a delicate cultural blouse with Recycled fur accents and some overly huge and detailed jewelry.
8. What is your favorite fashion trend of all time?
Heavily detailed denims and embroidered silks and like fabrics. I also have a lot of respect for the late Alexander McQueen and his ever controversial fashion introductions.
9. In your opinion, what is the biggest fashion faux-pas?
10. What do you think is the most underrated item of clothing or accessory?
Underpinnings – they are the closest thing to your body at all times in the day. Slips and delicate blouses that are often layered under multiple items and rarely seen. They are so classic and chic. Truly beautiful on their own.
11. Where do you see yourself as a designer in five years?
I would like to break into the film industry and do wardrobe for film and music videos. I would also like to be exposed to the European and Japanese Market.
12. What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
NEVER GIVE UP – just refocus if you have to. And NEVER listen to the common quo critique. You aren’t anybody until you are somebody worth remembering.
13. Where can readers buy your clothing?
Photography credits for this post: Anisa Nin from North Dakota, Nina Pak, Arianna Biasini, Amanda Diaz, Fashion Forward