George Shaghashvilii

George Shaghashvilii AW16

During The Glass Pineapple’s recent trip to Tbilisi Fashion Week in Georgia, one of the runway shows that really stood out for us was George Shaghashvilii, a former medic now doing wonderful things with polka dots, who sees endless potential in black. The designer himself admits coming late to fashion but says he has always had an eye for the artistic, creating his first collection while studying for his medical qualifications.

After a joining Fashion Design at the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi, Shaghashvilii finally went ‘full fashion’ and at Tbilisi Fashion Week in April, his AW16 collection, Earth is a Polka Dot, closed the event. An homage to black, it was as dramatic as it was singular and the experience inspired us to find out more about the designer behind the brand.

How do you balance conceptual and wearable?

I try to think practically. I have a business to run, so clothes need to be designed for many types of people and for many purposes. However, the drive for a collection always comes from conceptual inspiration of a theme; a sentiment or a journey.

Where do your inspirations come from?

I was always interested in scientific topics, and geometry is very important when I design. A lot of my inspiration comes from my journeys, in Asia or Africa – but certainly also from my experiences of art and history. I love to dwell on cultural practices and costumes, and combine that thinking with modern national art.

George Shaghashvilii AW16

What’s your process of creation and how do you choose fabrics and textures?

After having zoomed in on a concept, all my creations or styles are produced fairly quickly. Already I will have ideas of textiles, as different fabrics have different expressions, stiffness and softness etc. That is very important for my collections as they are mostly in monochrome colours and often just in black. This means that texture is key to introducing variety. Once the production starts, however, I sometimes continue to experiment. Ideas that are good on paper sometimes end up different in reality.

George Shaghashvilii AW16

How would you describe your designs?

Black, geometric and transformation of function and form.

Tell us about Earth is a Polka Dot

My latest collection was in some ways a homage to Yayoi Kusama, the greatest contemporary Japanese artist. She has a fantastic story, and was able to reinvent herself, first in the 60s avant-garde New York scene and then again when she journeyed back to Japan in the late 70s. Her artistic story is one of revolt against the conformities of traditional Japan and later of ‘creative’ healing through art. She is impressive in her visions of the world – her creations are beautiful and she provides the perspective to understand the importance of small particles in the big fabric of things.

Yayoi Kusama

Why show in Georgia, what’s special about Tbilisi?

Tbilisi is the city where I was born. I have not lived in Georgia for quite a number of years, yet I chose to have my studio and production in Georgia. This gives me the strong connection with my mother country, my family and my friends. I always feel very creative when connected to my home country

Why have mixed-gender catwalks?

I just love unisex clothes, which is why it comes naturally to me to have mixed genders on the catwalk. Most of my clothes can be worn by either sex – but very often my clothes have a strong masculine expression.

George Shaghashvilii AW16

Which designers – or people – do you admire and why?

I love the ‘old’ Japanese designers, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcon). Their fashion is still current and hugely appealing to me. I am also fond of the Antwerp 6 in particular Ann Demeulemeester and Dirk Bikkembergs. And finally, I like Rick Owens. I really admire their interesting cuts and this type of geometric fashion has always captured my imagination.

Which other new designers are inspiring you?

Iris van Herpen is probably one of the most interesting younger designers, to my mind.

Iris van Herpen

What’s the most important thing fashion has to offer the modern world?

Fashion is often not considered as a serious art form but I think it is, and one of the strongest things that fashion brings is constant ‘NEWNESS’. Fashion changes all the time, sometimes as a reaction to socio-economic, cultural or political developments but sometimes fashion is almost ahead of societal changes. So, fashion is a strong barometer for the world – beyond that, of course Fashion also fashion brings beauty, aestheticism and channels for personal individualised expression – in that way fashion is super democratic.

George Shaghashvilii AW16


What role does tech have to play in fashion?

Technology plays a big role! New technology can positively influence new looks, new textiles, new forms – the actual designs but it also just from a digital perspective helps spread of global trends so that fashion’s transformative power is accelerated. As said, for fashion for NEWNESS is good and technology can support a fast pace.

Where would you like your career to go next?

I am not a young designer. I became a designer quite late in my life, so my ambitions are quite moderate. I wish however, that my clothes continue to be appreciated; and that I can expand my market to include urban centers in Europe and maybe Asia and US.

All images George Shaghashvilii AW16