Strong creative tensions can produce truly phenomenal results… Meet Yasya Minochkina. With nearly 40 stores carrying her designs in nearly a dozen countries, and a private appointment-only atelier in Beaulieu sur Mer on the famed Cote D’Azur, this Ukraine-born designer has quietly conquered the Eastern European “it-girl” niche. At a time when the post-Soviet fashion scene was divided between minimalist monochrome and the gaudy gold of the nouveau riche, her bright floral aesthetic struck a winning style chord.
In less than a decade, she has amassed a loyal following that spans generations within families on both sides of the smoldering international conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Over the past few seasons, Minochkina has assumed the unofficial role of a rising ‘fashion diplomat,’ showcasing her collections during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, in hopes to bridge the growing divide between two countries. Politics aside, how does one become a new household name in the Eastern European market obsessed with luxury heritage brands?! I spoke with Minochkina in Monaco, where she now lives and works. That morning she was reviewing plans for her flagman store opening next year in the heart of Moscow.
Daughter of a painter and an architect, as a child Minochkina took after her tailor grandmother stitching hems, sewing skirts, playing in the aisles of a local textiles market. By high school, she had a clear idea that she wanted to design clothes. Her schoolmates and neighbors already knew who to call for style advice and made-to-measure dresses. Yet, fate intervened. At an uncertain economic time, parents insisted on a more practical education. Minochkina graduated with a diploma in financial planning. She got the first job she interviewed for: launching British Petroleum gas stations across Ukraine.Things move fast in emerging markets. Within four years she hard-worked her way into managing an operations team of 400 employees nationwide.
Minochkina was living large, but not living the dream. Then came her own personal Big Bang… She quit the lucrative corporate job, stopped eating meat, took up yoga, and headed to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp to build up her fashion acumen. In 2012, Yasya Minochkina was reborn as a brand.
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Congratulations on this successful milestone…
Yasya Minochkina: Thank you, but this is not success, it’s just business! [Laughs]. I get messages all the time from my clients at night after they come home from events… Wow, I felt so good in your dress. Wow, everyone was asking me about my dress. Wow, wow, wow. This is the best news to read on your phone in the morning. This is success for me.
Do you remember your formal entry into the fashion industry?
It was a rocket ride. We showed my first collection at Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days in Ukraine. I thought it was received ok. Then someone brought me a Vogue Italia special edition where Sara Maino scouted me as one of international talents to watch. I couldn’t believe it. I burst into tears. It gave me confidence. Ok, I am on right path. I can spread my wings and fly to London, Paris, Moscow.