The Creatives: Yana Dvoretska

This year's theme for the Internation Women's Day is #BeBoldForChange!
One of the objectives of the worldwide campaign is to celebrate women's achievements and to applaud female role models. The idea of our Journal has always been to share interesting people from the art and design scene and you can now read 3 interviews with 3 really inspiring women - Yana, Sirma and Ellen.  

Yana Dvoretska works as a university teacher, creates stage costumes and is a fashion designer at her own label YOD
We've decided to invite her for an interview because she has helped and influenced us a lot throughout our education in university and has continuesly supported us with advice when building 05 Studio. We are impressed by her patience and grace with people and her ability to balance between the many creative projects she works on!
Yana's slow wear label YOD features prints, patterns and textures - a result from careful selected natural materials including leaves and herbs and using them for hand-dying and eco-printing. Distinctive aspect of her work is the mix of silk and hand felted wool creating magical and one of a kind shapes.    

Part of Yana's designs for her label YOD. Hand felted wool and silk.

With the International Women's Day coming this week, would you share a female creative that is the ultimate inspiration for you?
I don't particularly celebrate the International Women's Day mainly because it is part of the concept that women are different and have only one day a year to feel special and celebrated. I will list a few women that has been an inspiration for me in the past years - the composer Dobrinka Tabakova, the opera singer Sonya Yoncheva, the actress Irmena Chichikova and my friend Mila Ateva (founder and designer of Sassa Bjorg).  


Can you tell us a bit more about the slow fashion movement? Why are you passionate about it and how small brands can contribute to the cause?

It is probably a matter of definition. I don't perceive fashion and the part I take in it as a business or industry. For me it is a very personal and specific process and it cannot be in conflict with my own values and ideas. And since I love and respect nature, creativity and individualism, I cannot be a fan of the huge piles of polyester that comes out of the big fast fashion brands that are first presented at glamorous fashion displays at the shopping malls and then dumped in the developing countries. The problem, of course, is not only in the producers and manufacturers but also in the excessive consumation. I see the role of the small independent brands teaching the clients to respect the garments that has been invented by someone's mind, designed and created by the same person's hands and for this exact reason it can't have the same price as the mass production. Respecting the garments would change the duration of their life and consequently the overall amount of clothes we consume and the resources used for creating them.


What is missing in the Bulgarian art and design scene in your opinion? On the other hand, what makes it exciting to work exactly here in Bulgaria?

Most of all there's a lack of adequate market - people with critical thinking that can create a thoughtful natural selection. This leads to absurd and comical situations with various fashion awards and events that lack any value and criteria. Meanwhile, there's a number of people, creating meaningful products that are left outside of the public's attention and work in an aesthetical but illusive world. Most of the time their existence as artists is doomed to a financial collapse.                      
Some of the advantages of working here in Bulgaria include the low cost of materials and the lack of strict and specific regulations. There is an united and slightly hippie spirit of the people working in the art and design scene. Due to the lack of a developed market, there isn't a severe competition and conflicts.


Having in mind your experience,  what is the biggest advice you can give young people just starting their career?

Find your own product or idea that will make you stand out of the crowd.

Be persistent, because the beginning is always very exhausting. There's no university that gives recipes for a successful business. Very often in the early years you have to learn by yourself and pass an intensive course of self-education in a specific area that is important for your project.

Also, do not look for excuses! I am convinced that it is possible to start small without a lot of funding or machines. Having a good idea and a strong motivation to work are the key factors!


What motivates you to work with students and what are the challenges?

At first it was out of curiosity without a particular ambition that I can make a change. Now I take my role much more seriously. I accept the education as a personal cause. The success of my students, whether it is throughout the university years or afterwards, is really motivational. I am not imagining that it wouldn't have happened without me but I am happy if I've also contributed to it in a way.

The challenges change every year, it is probably related to the growing age difference between me and the students. I feel like a lot of the 20-year olds don't have the same value system when it comes to priorities in life. For example, they don't prioritize graduating, building a family and a carrier by the age of 30. Instead, it is important for them to travel, get to know new people and find what it is that they would like to work. I had a fashion student who realized in her last year of studying that she just has to be a veterinarian and nothing else.
On the other hand, what makes me extremely sad is the apathy of the students and their lack of desire to develop their skills.

How important is to work in a team or collaborate with other creatives?

Perhaps it is not particularly important if you do paintings for example but having fashion in mind it is almost impossible to work alone. Nowadays, it is not just creating a garments as a final product - working with a pattern maker, photographer, model, stylist and marketing specialist just to name a few, is inevitable. It is not realistic to think that you can do it all by yourself.

In Bulgaria the team work is not very popular and all of my attempts to create working teams of students as part of university projects were not successful.

We know opera and theatrical costumes are a passion of yours and you are currently working for a few productions here in Bulgaria, what is the most exciting part for you?

The final product has more value and it lasts longer. I've met with many exciting people thanks to my work with stage costumes. As challenging it is to create a miniature world on stage it brings a lot of adrenaline and intense brain activity, as opposed to the work in my studio. Probably the most exciting part is that it's never the same!