For the world of fashion the name of Krasimira Stoyneva is a phenomenon. With her extraordinary designs and avant-guard decisions, the Bulgarian lady managed to create a true revolution in the industry, and for a short time she found her place at the London Fashion Week. Hard work, talent and a pinch of luck are part of the formula for success of the gifted designer. Here is what else her way to the world fashion stage is paved with…
Do you remember the first time you took a needle and thread in your hands?
Yes. I think that it was my grandma or my mom who first gave me a needle and a piece of fabric in order to try it out. Before that I loved drawing dolls and clothes for them, which I then painted and cut out.
What did you sew and for whom?
A dress for one of my favourite dolls. Then, I was sewing a lot of these ‘quick’ dresses, skirts and so on. At a later stage, I started sewing for myself (new things for the Friday disco). And this is how the sewing of different pieces, skirts and tops all started. I believe that trousers came out the best.
I remember that I was quite proud with my work and I also had the opportunity to wear things that I liked a lot. I can’t claim that they were super unique. I used ready patterns from my mother, she even taught me how to make them myself just by the size. I took my patterns from Burda…
Was this your childhood dream?
Not the first one. Perhaps the third one. I adored singing and dancing, I dreamt of becoming a singer. I was giving a headache to my neighbours when I was playing the same track the whole day over and over again, singing at the top of my voice. I still sing, but only in the car on my way to work, or every now and then I send a funny video to my beloved cousin Diana.
Afterwards, when I realised that I was able to draw and paint well, I wanted to become a very good artist and it was so until I took up the sewing machine and found out that I could combine it all into one. Inspiration from music and art, transferred into ideas for collections.
Why London and not Paris or Milan, for example?
London, because in my early childhood I said to myself that I would never learn English. That’s why: Never say never! London was famous all over the world with its creativity and its rebellious spirit, and perhaps this is the reason it attracted me.
The city is inexplicably colourful and, I would say, filled with many different nationalities, cultures and subcultures with their own different movements in fashion. It is an astonishing city for inspiration!
What does a usual working day of yours look like?
Every day starts the same way unless I have a business meeting, a show of one of my kids at school or I teach at university. The first thing I do is take my keys from the reception, leave my heavy bag, filled with what not, and then prepare the tasks for the day. Next to my studio there is a computer room where a part of my assistants usually work. They are responsible for the PR of the campaign as well as the marketing and the social media. After I assign these tasks for the day, I set the tasks for everybody else from the team while enjoying my morning coffee. In case my day is not too busy, I manage to read everything interesting that is happening in the globalised fashion world.
At the moment, I am working on the production of my winter collection, the completion of the one for summer 2018 and the preparation of a capsule collection for a private exhibition in Rome, which I was invited to participate in. Also, I am working on a personal presentation of my new collection, several art projects and the promotion of my latest collaboration. I wouldn’t be mistaken to say that now is one of the fastest-paced periods of the year.
The things you can’t do without in your everyday life?
I can’t do without my kids and family, without a chat to a friend over the phone, without my positive mood and my great team. I really can’t do without these things!
The biggest challenge in your work?
Succeeding in not taking up too many new ideas! Creativity usually takes over business and this is not the most appropriate thing for a successful business. I am now aware that everything has its proper time and place.
When does a dream become a reality?
An interesting question. Perhaps, when you believe that you can. When you actually make the first step and refuse to give up after a small failure. When you have the support of many people. When your loved ones do not lose faith in you and do not stop supporting you. I would say that dreaming is easy, but the hardest thing is to make this important step.
How much time did this process take you?
It was very quickly that I took the decision to leave for England. I knew that what I actually wanted at that time could not be achieved in Bulgaria. Afterwards, I faced the reality in London, I had to become fluent in the language, to study at university and that was impossible at the time because the tuition fees were quite high. This is why I found a job and started studying and dealing with life. Later on, in 2007 Bulgaria joined the European Union and university fees became much more bearable. But I had already got married and I had a child, after that our second child was born and in 2010 I decided that the time for me was now or never to make my dream come true. Ever since, I have never stopped dreaming and working to make my dream come true.
What compromises did you have to make?
I gave up smoking, no matter how funny this may sound. I decided that cigarettes take up a huge part of my finances, which I could invest in my business. At the beginning, I was making a lot of compromises with my free time, with my time for friends (some of them stayed, while others left), I was very busy learning how to manage a business, to balance between family and work. My children were small, my husband – jealous, the party invitations – plenty, and work – more and more, and on top of that I had to constantly learn new things.
Which names in fashion did you learn from, and which do you admire?
Christopher Kane, John Galliano… I like fashion houses like Prada and Gucci and the artistic approach they add to their clothing.
Is there a particular person that you would like to make a piece for?
Rihanna. She is amazing at what she does. I have always liked her. Kubrat Pulev is also great and I believe that a coat with the colours of the Bulgarian tricolour would look perfect on him. I also see Gery-Nikol as a very bold personality that would wear jackets or coats.
What does your studio look like?
Something between a sewing warehouse and a studio due to the fact that I am based at the University of East London, where I also teach and I have access to any equipment and machine. I am there from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I often have to stay until 10 p.m. or even later. Around the Fashion Week I have no days off, I work both Saturday and Sunday in order to make sure we are ready with everything.
Do you keep in touch with the rest of the Bulgarian designers in London?
Yes, I have quite a few friends in the industry. Ivanka Hristova is one of them. Quite frequently we share our successes and our failures. We help each other. I have always believed that sharing and helping another person is important for your own personal growth.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working mostly on structuring the brand as well as on my new collection.
What direction are your dreams headed now?
Developing the brand in countries like China and the USA. At the moment I am working on the opportunity of becoming more visible and accessible on these markets. I am expecting my third child, which is making me a little bit anxious. My dream is to have a peaceful baby and a successful business.
Text: Veliana Simeonova
Photos: Personal Archive