Innovative Upcycling and Purity of Vision Chart Urgent Conceptual Waters
By Mark Wittmer
While each of Bevza’s collections are created with a theme in mind, often looking at its creative director’s Ukrainian culture and heritage through a lens of modern minimalism, this collection’s nautical and sailor motifs felt like the most literal and immediate we’ve seen from the label.
We are all in the same boat. The boats are a literal reference to the sea, to the ocean; we are responsible for the future and for taking care of the ocean. I’m not the first talking about this, but still I wanted to do a very clear reference with the sailor motif, the colors, the boots, the hats. In producing the collection we used a lot of sustainable materials, like recycled plastic bottles. We made the jersey dresses out of bamboo fabrics; we used nettle for the jackets.
– Svitlana Bevza, Bevza Creative Director
But this surface of easily identifiable oceanic iconography does not at all mean that the collection lacks depth. While classic nautical elements like sailor hats and collars or seashell bags and bras ran throughout, they were deftly incorporated into Bevza’s signature intellectual style – a minimalist modernism replete with beautifully thoughtful details. Signature touches like the bra-clasp closure, the Spikelet chain, and unique openings reemerged across the collection. The commitment to sustainability and upcycling was also carried through knits, which are composed of recycled polyester and denim.
Meanwhile, the collection saw Bevza incorporate more color than ever before. In addition to the seafoam, navy, and lagoon blue that we might have expected from an ocean-focused collection, the designer wove in joyful pinks and yellows – colors we might see in a sunset over the waves. “It was risky for me to put some colors in,” she reflects, “but really I felt that people needed a bit more colorful mood.”
Following its wearers’ movements in a beautiful, wave-like motion arising from the individual squares, the dresses composed of small tiles of fabric stitched together were already some of the collection’s standout pieces, but learning of the upcycling process behind them makes them even more of a revelation: each square is cut from fabric waste from the production of the rest of the collection, meaning almost no fabric is wasted. The design feels like a brilliant synthesis of the conceptual and technical principles behind the collection.
Backstage, the designer shared that the square is the foundational shape and starting point for Bevza, and from its simple rectilinearity a beautifully complex fluidity arises. The square appears on gridded dresses, jackets, and pants through the unique texturizing of the fabrics. The shape is also present as the foundation of the origami shapes of paper hats and boats, which suggest a spirit both of childlike playfulness and sublime sophistication.
It’s thoroughly impressive that a designer who has such a command for refinement and simplicity, who we can see recognizes the power of less, can also infuse so much narrative urgency into the same work. The message is literally woven into every piece of the collection. Reassuming control over her signature design elements, infusing them with color, and pushing them into urgent thematic territory – and doing it all with precision and wit – Svitlana Bevza continues to assert herself as a visionary design force that must be reckoned with.