Hello and welcome to my website
Making my own clothes has been my hobby for long. I've been trying to sew since early years of my life: for toys and for myself. It was also a necessity. Decent clothes were inaccessible for ordinary people here where I come from, non-standard, petite sizes in particular. My family had did not care that much, but I always felt I could change it by hand-crafting clothes. I am from Ukraine which was earlier part of the Soviet Union. Soviet clothing industry (Sovlegprom) was nothing to speak of, and the tradition carries on. In terms of technology, the quality is good and even superior, but styles, textiles, designs are... suitable for grannies to be worn at dachas while setting out cabbage, or onions, or potatoes...
The Soviet establishment (nomenklatura) had Western-made clothes. I believe, it was an issue of influence, too. Cool clothes could have been bought under the counter or from profiteers, but they were scarce and extremely pricey. Soviet modnitsas (fashion-conscious women eager to look trendy) forked out monthly salaries to sport “labels” and “firmá”. Well-to-do people from towns and the province - were “firmá” was even more scarce - often had their clothes made to measure by tailors. To school we wore dark-brown uniform dresses with black aprons. You can see a photo of Soviet school uniform in the article on Sovlegprom I linked above. Outside school, it was ugly department store apparel. Some parents tried to deck out their children - girls in the first pace - to make them look distinctly un-Soviet-like.
When Perestroika started, we got a chance to watch Western TV series , such as “Santa Barbara” and “Dynasty”. Well-dressed, well-coiffed women wearing perfect make-up were a thing from another world. It was about that time the open-air clothes markets started. Those were sort of shadow markets where people could buy “tryapki” or “barahlo” from Turkey, former Yugoslavia, later China. Those garms looked quite different from what we were used to, and cost a lot. Such markets are still around, and ordinary people shop for clothes there. The overall quality is cheap (and cheap-looking) - and overpriced.
Brand clothes are sold at steep prices, affordable by those who "do business" or have an "oligarch" husband/lover/daddy. Normal people do not earn that much or they spend all their earnings on clothes - just like it used to be. On the other hand, I cannot say from what I see that those clothes look very well. There is plenty of fast fashion. The prevailing styles are best described as some oblique urban street-fashion - utilitarian, no frills, no nonsense, many unisex features... Many affluent people prefer very casual clothes, albeit of high quality. Quite opposite to the purpose, such garments have become the very status marker - and a most expensive one, inaccessible to those outside the well-to-do circle.
Handmade is on the upsurge now. I guess, certain business-minded folks are trying to make it popular. As a side-effect, textiles are now very costly and price-tags on knitting yarn are eye-popping. It takes a lot of time to make your own clothes. But it is the only alternative from where I stand, if you want to have something nice and not junk fashion. Many people just do not care that much. Well, I hope you found the story interesting. So much for it.
If you are interested in homemade clothes - and wear S or XS size - occasionally you can even come upon something here. When I make a piece I won't keep - because it doesn't quite suit me - I may want to offer it away. I don't shop for clothes - can't even remember the last time I did. Sometimes, in the process of sewing, or when an item is ready, you realize that you'd rather have it in different colour. Sometimes, I wish wish to make something in similar style. Can't keep both. Why not offer the other piece to someone who has the same size? It is not a rule, but it happens. I also like to write about fashion, style and design - in Russian and in English.
Handmade is only a sideline for me - although a time-consuming one. I do not have tailor forms, no spare room for making clothes, not even a serger. I have a very simple camera, so the quality of photos is not what I would like it to be. I code this site and create the content myself.