Grazia Daily give David Koma a grilling!

16 September 2010

 David Koma is one of a select group of NEWgen designers who will be showing his collection on the official British Fashion Council schedule for the first time this season. The Georgian-born designer has been on fashion editors’ radar since his block colour, boldly-embellished dresses, in very modern fabrics, burst out of Central Saint Martins MA course a few short years ago. His work has gathered momentum ever since, with off-schedule shows and A-list endorsement from the likes of Beyonce, Cheryl Cole and Kylie. We caught up with the designer as the preparations for his S/S ’11 collection got underway. And David was all smiles and charm; carefully considering the response to each questions, before replying with a quiet confidence.

Grazia Daily: How are you? Stressed? Calm? Euphoric?

David Koma: I’m feeling calm, I’m really happy at the moment. I’ve just got back from Saint Petersburg for my brother’s wedding. So, ten days ago, before I left, I was stressed and worrying about the collection, and thought I was too stressed to be spending two days away. But then I arrived for the wedding. It was on a yacht on the river and it was so beautiful - just such a gorgeous, summery wedding. The temperature was 32 degrees, everyone was smiling, relaxed, the couple looked beautiful.

 

So – the outcome of that lovely day was that I decided to stay for ten days in Saint Petersburg and have a holiday! When I came back, I felt completely fresh, calm and just so excited about working on the collection.

GD: How is it coming along? Does it change a lot as the deadline draws nearer?

DK: Well; yes and no. Little things change all the time – I change the place of this or that, or shorten the hem.  When I was at college, you could never change something drastically – even if you decided you didn’t like it - because of the waste of materials. Now, I’ve got the confidence to believe that if I’m not totally happy with something, it doesn’t go out [onto the catwalk]. But basically, I am developing the pieces. Not huge changes, but a lot of editing and tweaking.

GD: What can we expect from the Spring / Summer collection? When we think of David Koma we think: nifty little bodycon dresses with unusual embellishments. Would you agree?

DK: I hope that my designs are all recognisable as my work, in some way; although I am always trying to push it forward too. I would characterise it by a contrast between hard and soft. And I would say that we do aim to do something new, or something that hasn’t been done before in terms of embellishment.

 

GD: 2010 has been a huge year for you, would you agree? As well as press coverage you’ve had, the dresses have had amazing celebrity exposure  [Like Beyonce at the MTV music awards, and Cheryl Cole on X-Factor, and - after this interview took place – Kylie in her new video].

DK: Ha ha – I know who you are referring to. Yes, it’s been fantastic, but it was very unexpected as well because we hadn’t targeted anyone in particular. I don’t have a particular favourite celebrity who has worn David Koma, but any beautiful glamorous woman wearing my designs is a big honour for me. I mean – Beyonce! She’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. And she's so multi-talented and such a great person. Any time one of my dresses appears on someone, I am interested to know how they got the dress or where they heard about it. When someone buys a piece, that is the ultimate compliment, because someone like Beyonce – she can have anything from any designer in the world. So for her to buy one of mine is a big honour.

GD: Now you are quite a few seasons into showing, and you’ve got an on-schedule show with NEWgen sponsorship. Do you enjoy the business side of running your own label or is it a chore?

DK: Well my dream as an artist was always just to be able to do this full-time, which has come true now. I have to say that I do find the business side of it interesting, but it’s not me who handles it day-to-day. My wife deals with all of that; she's my business manager. She is the one that keeps everything like that running. When we met, she had studied sociology and wasn’t interested in fashion. But now, after eight years, it’s totally different. She's really into it and I admire what she does so much. She is an amazing person.

GD: Are you famous back in your home town in Georgia or St Petersburg?  

DK: No I don’t think so. When I go back I just spend time with friends and family and we spend time doing things I would have done when I was younger. Just hanging out and playing games like Mafia and doing normal things. I am not really interested in being a fashion designer for any kind of fame, or attention like this. I just want to make fabulous clothes and see people wear them.

GD: So we won’t be seeing you talk about your private life in interviews or posing naked in your own advertising campaigns in the future then?

DK: Oh, like Marc Jacobs you mean? Well, I don’t know. I have never considered the possibility before so I don’t know. Perhaps I will. [he adopts very serious, "Zoolander" hollow-cheeked pose] Now you have mentioned it, I don’t think it is a totally bad idea!

GD: You’ve had quite a lot of support from various journalists and you’ve been tipped as "one to watch" by a lot of people. Whose support have you most grateful for?

DK : Lots of magazines like Grazia and journalists have supported me a lot and so have NEWgen, but the one person in the industry whose help has meant most to me would have to be Louise Wilson [MA course leader at Central Saint Martins College]

GD: What are your plans for the long term? Would you like to collaborate with a mainstream brand or have a diffusion line, or design for a big fashion house?

DK: Mmmm, I am not sure who I would really want to collaborate with. I would be very interested to work as a consultant for other brand; a more behind-the-scenes role. From growing up and being a student, all you want to do is be a designer full-time and that is what I am doing now! I just want to continue and continue!

Thank you so much David. We REALLY CANNOT WAIT to see your show!

- Naomi Attwood


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