Katya Komarova talks sustainable fashion

During a time of mass consumption and mass production, designers are beginning to find their niche with a more sustainable approach to design. In doing so they are attracting a loyal following of women who want to be part of something bigger than their desire to wear the latest trend. They want to be part of an artist’s journey and to wear their pieces proudly knowing that they were crafted locally and ethically. And while there will always exist a longing to invest in pieces worn by the likes of Bella Hadid during her coffee run and subsequently re-grammed thousands of times, it has become equally desirable to wear pieces crafted by an emerging name. The kind of pieces the cool kids are wearing, before they are on everyone else’s lips.
When it comes to SA fashion, that name is Katya Komarova. The model-turned-designer is helping lead a trend toward more ethical accessories without compromising on that distinct street style edge we all desire. Ahead of the 2017 Adelaide Fashion Festival we asked Katya to go behind the scenes and showcase the process of creating her best selling, leather corset. Hand-made, naturally.

Talk us through the evolution of the piece from sketch to finish
A corset holds a very long history and I believe it brings a special touch to the woman’s body shape. I knew I had to have one in my range. There was no sketch. I just took a piece of leather and put it around my waist. And I thought, yes, this is it. Simple, minimal, yet very functional. I added some rivets to hold the loops that take through the leather lace and that was it. I am very happy with the result. In fact, I think the Katya Komarova corset is the best seller of my last year’s collection.

Tell us about the materials used…
I use vegetable-tanned leather. The reason I prefer to work with such leather is that this leather has no chemicals in it. The environment is harmed by the fashion industry quite widely, so I am trying to create items to be used longer, and to be biodegradable. Well, I can proudly say, there are not that many designers who work with vegetable-tanned leather. This is one key difference setting my brand apart.

How long does it take you to create a piece?
It depends. If I work with a natural colour or painted in advance piece of leather, it’s just a matter of putting rivets and finishing the item with cream and wax. When I dye leather myself – it is a more complicated process and may require much more time.

What set’s your design apart from other’s on the market?
This versatility is very unique and modern. The corset itself can be worn tightly laced up as well as loose. The easier it is to put it on – the better. Furthermore, the Katya Komarova Corset is handcrafted in my studio in Adelaide, SA and by buying this corset you stand for like minded, passionate,  hard working women like yourselves. Work hard – shop hard, that’s what they say.

What is the right way to wear this piece?
I love wearing the corset over my coat. It’s so hard to look different when you’ve got only one go for winter piece. This is when the corset saves my life. I also love wearing it on top of the white shirt or a dress. I see other girls being more creative and wearing it even back to front with the lacing part on the back. Try it!

Who do you envisage wearing this corset?
The corset is quite easy to style with your daily outfit so I envision every girl having a piece like that in her wardrobe. I believe ‘less is more’ and accessories like a corset make it so much easier to create new looks by overlaying whatever you’ve got and tightening it up with a corset.

What does your current collection mood board consist of?
You will laugh, but I have things like tetris and minecraft on it. The thing is, my bags are so 3D shaped, so I couldn’t resist but to play more with shapes. There are also a lot of inspiring images of baggy clothes and you will see how I interpreted it all at AFF17.

What is the Katya Komarova design philosophy?
The brand is dedicated to creating the best possible sustainable way of production and care about the lifecycle of Katya Komarova products.

Who would you love to see wearing this piece?
I once saw Giovanna Battaglia wearing something very similar to my corset. I think my corset would suit her very well.

What can we expect from your collection at this years AFF?
A lot of versatility, new colours and life celebration.


Photography by Jack Fenby.