The Creatives: Ana Kremenlieva from Yt-shirt
'The Creatives' is a series of interviews that aim to showcase inspiring women in the art and design scene. Together we talk not only about trends and fashion but our daily lives, motivation, challenges, and doing business.
Ana is the creative force behind the Bulgarian brand Yt-shirt and the graphic designer of SVEMA magazine - an independent publication dedicated to culture and art. Ana first caught our attention with her impeccable branding of her T-shirts company - gentle visuals, minimal aesthetics and crisp white T-shirts that are versatile and made from the finest soft cotton. We catch up with her to talk about her brand concept and current inspirations.
Hi Ana, tell us and our readers a bit more about Yt-shirt and how it was born?
As most of those fashion focused brands it was born out of my love for white tops. I was already well-known among my friends with owning a lot of them so why not use the trend!
You've studied in Milan - what is your favourite thing about the Italian fashion capital?
Honestly, as a student you don't really have any access to that glamour. So Milan is a fashion capital only to the selected few. But otherwise the museums and exhibitions, all the people that are so meticulously dressed, the shops - they uplift you and you can see more clearly the perspective of your dreams. All of this make you even better!
Your T-shirts are made of exquisite Japanese cotton. How did you find the fabric and why did you choose exactly this one?
I wanted to find the best cotton in the world, and though you can find everything in Google, it turns out you can't find anything. I knew the qualities that I wanted to find. I am also like a hound regarding the textile – but I work with my hands. So I went to Milan where that particular year they had a special Japanese section. I went to all of the Italian factories and their cotton is really amazing. They are also more flexible when it comes to deliveries and qualities, their prices are considerably lower and they are in the EU. The Italian factories had everything I needed except for the perfect feeling of that Japanese cotton. I was very uncertain in every step on my way but it must have been obvious to my Japanese partners how much I wanted to work with them, and they also supported me. The Japanese are not the usual merchants, if they don’t think that you are qualified or suited they can turn you down. And of course, they have sustained traditions in textile. The factory that I am working with have only high-quality cotton, it is their niche. They import best Supima (American pima) and Suvin cottons, which is the reason for the jersey to be more resilient, flexible and soft. And then the extra softness comes from the double brush process that finishes the fabric.
Who is the ultimate Yt-shirt woman?
The one that knows that a white T-shirt can be enough. Since the T-shirt is so basic and it is already an iconic clothing piece I can't define a woman with a T-shirt. But my woman will define the Yt-shirt herself. And I always like imagining her at the French Riviera, where out of need and guided by style the jersey appears from under the layers of pretentious elegance.
What are your other wardrobe essentials apart from the white T-shirts?
Wide leg pants. I am also addicted to pleated skirts. And once you've put a T-shirt on, basically everything else is suitable for a bottom.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
Handing over the packed T-shirt and imagine all the new models.
How do you see the Bulgarian fashion and design scene? How is it developing and what are the main problems for the people in the creative fields in your opinion?
As for every craft and creative field the biggest asset is the knowledge that is passed form generations. We had an amazing textile production traditions, but we lost them. And now there are hardly schools or even craftsmen that can pass on this knowledge. In some of those fields, I don’t think you can learn anything frоm books, and you also don’t have experienced people to learn from. So now is the time that the new generation of artisans, designers and entrepreneurs are developing their skills and it will need time for their life lessons to flourish. Hopefully passed on to the next generations.
The richness of the cities or countries that we love to visit and admire so much is that there you can somehow absorb the inspiration from seemingly nowhere - it is actually all around you, in the buildings, people, history and even the small shops with amazingly decorated windows.
What is the latest artist or design object you were genuinely impressed or inspired by?
Recently, I am more impressed by illustrations of photo collages, they seem easier to grasp than paintings especially when you can’t see them in real. With paintings I need to feel the physical media of it. I find Christina Zimpel very strange, inspiring and with a sense of humor. Also, I would like to work with Kayten Schmidt who manages to capture, select and style - all the sexiness in photos without them being a cliché.