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Jahnkoy Designer Maria Kazakova On Being an LVMH Prize Finalist


Periodically a student’s graduation collection comes along with a freshness and energy that leaves the audience fully aware they had witnessed the birth of a future fashion star. It happened for John Galliano with his Central Saint Martins ‘Les Incroyables’ collection in 1984 and designer Maria Kazakova‘s “Displaced” collection shown in the Parsons show last year.

That collection sparked a groundswell of industry support which enabled her to launch the Jahnkoy collection and show at New York Fashion Week: Men’s in February. Her themes of the erosion of diverse ethnic cultures, secondhand fashion, counterfeits, flags and reconstruction melded to form a powerful and emoting collection that attracted the attention of Puma who worked to collaborate with the designer.

The Siberia born designer, thinks of fashion as a medium to bring people together which only makes sense with her global perspective having lived in San Francisco, Moscow, London, and eventually New York. That wordiness plays well to the global LVMH Prize which is has quickly become fashion’s most worldly and luxurious award nurturing new talent. The Impression sat for an exclusive with the designer to hear about being a LVMH Prize Finalist.Photo | Kira Bunse


How did you hear of your being selected as one of the 8 LVMH Prize finalist?
I received an email from the LVMH team that said “Miss Maria you are in!”

What was your reaction?
It was the greatest news!

As I was not able to be in Paris for the semifinal presentation in March, I am very very happy and excited to be able to attend the event in June to get the full experience.

What have you the most memorable take-aways so far from the LVMH Prize experience?
I was able to participate in the Paris presentation in March virtually through FaceTime and I was amazed with the energy that we shared with the experts and guests. I felt that the spirit can travel beyond borders. It was a truly positive experience.

You’ve quite the worldly background, how much of that experience plays into your outlook on fashion?
It plays a vital role not only on my outlook in fashion but also in life. It definitely helped to broaden my world vision and to form an understanding of life. When you cross borders you learn the similarities of all that there is. People are no longer divided by their nationalities but by their characters and their spirits.

What would your family give you an award for?
Determination, I would say.

Congrats on your recent show, what do you do the with your first moment of free time afterward?
I guess aside from sleeping, I am constantly in the creative process, if the sewing is finished then I observe, write, think, read, or draw. It takes my whole time and it is all part of my practice. I guess being in nature is something I find relaxing, but now it has become a privilege, as I live in such a big city. But even then you are constantly learning every day.

What was your favorite standout moment of the last year?
At the end of 2016 we started to work on a project with Puma and on my presentation for NYFW: Men’s. That was the most intense and exciting time. The greatest moment was the day of the show – the preparation, the rehearsal, building of the set design – and as you start seeing how all your plans are manifesting and the vision comes to life. The most magical moment was backstage when the show was about to start.


Born | Novokuzneck, Russia
Education | Novosibirsk State University; British Higher School of Art and Design, BFA Fashion Design, Moscow; Central Saint Martins, Graduate Diploma in Fashion, London; Parsons, MFA Fashion Design and Society, NYC
Experience | In Russia I worked as a stylist as well as designing costumes and sets for theater productions. I previously had another clothing brand that I designed as well.
Year Founded | 2016
Retailers | Private Clients
Previous Awards | Finalist, “Li Edelkoort’s ‘Talking Textiles’

Fall 2017
Runway Photos | Imaxtree
Backstage Photos | Laura Rinaldi