Nobody could question Sveta Gruzdova’s commitment to her work. Two years ago, the fashion designer was putting the final touches to a project just hours before going into labour with the birth of her daughter, Maia. Living in Vladivostok in the far east of Russia means that Gruzdova’s collections are infused with both an eastern and western quality, reflected in her minimalist designs, clear lines and a femininity traditional to Russian clothing. Her collections channel her two style icons — Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tilda Swinton — in their otherworldly quality, use of soft colours and sense of comfort.
"I have clients who have the money to buy almost any item of clothing from any designer, Balenciaga or Kenzo. But they still come to me."
What marks Gruzdova apart from other designers is her willingness to tailor her designs to her customers’ needs. “I work with my clients and if I need to make an item in a different size, I will,” she says. It’s a small operation, but she’s happy with the pace and the sense of control she has over her eponymous fashion label. Gruzdova studied fashion in Vladivostok around a decade ago before joining Cherdak Forever, a fashion collective that helps local designers and gives them the opportunity to showcase their work at shows in Moscow and around Europe.
When her daughter was born, Gruzdova left Cherdak to launch her own label. “Even though I have less time now, I spend it in the most productive way,” she says. “As I work I’m always thinking that I want my daughter to be proud of me.” Despite living miles away from any centres of fashion, she keeps abreast of the latest fashion trends online. “I have clients who have the money to buy almost any item of clothing from any designer, Balenciaga or Kenzo,” she says. “But they still come to me because they know that the quality is up there with anything you can buy from across Europe.”