Russian born Sabinna Rachimova is a one of a pack of new designers bringing an intense and fresh outlook to the emerging fashion world. A relative regular on the Fashion Scout schedule, she is becoming renowned for her ability to skillfully blend new technology with traditional techniques, producing collections that speak of the past and look to the future. Luxury knits have become a signature for Sabinna and the hand crochet pieces inspired by her grandmother’s skills run like a vein of memory through every season – her desire is to pass on a little piece of her history to the modern woman who loves authentic luxury.
With a bio that includes Central Saint Martins, Christian Dior and Mary Katrantzou, Sabinna was more than qualified to launch her eponymous brand in 2014. Since then she has continued to explore her own heritage, and that of her family, producing feminine styles with an innovative feel. For AW16, Sabinna used 3D printing to immortalise her grandmother’s embroideries of Russian landscapes on fabrics such as silk organza. Her signature knits explored flower motifs and a subtle palette of dusky pink and muted red. Sabinna is a designer whose balance of past and future fascinates us, so at The Glass Pineapple we decided to find out more.
You have spoken of the “family archive,” what does that mean to you?
When I talk about the family archive, I refer to all the treasures that my grandmother and my mother kept for future generations, for me. This archive is full of photos and memories that show different stages of the lives of my family. I find that incredibly interesting. No one in my family had a career in fashion, my grandmother was a mathematics teacher, but she was very skilled when it came to handcraft. She taught me crochet, knitting, embroidery, sewing and many more techniques. She was born at a time when the term fashion designer didn’t really exist, at least not in the USSR. And my parents are both professional athletes. I am the first one in my family with a career in fashion.
You blend traditional techniques with technology in your work, where does your interest in technology come from?
Probably from my partner David. We have been together for a very long time and he is in the IT industry. He always shared his knowledge and interest with me and somehow I developed my own approach to technology and combined it with my handcraft skills.
What designers keep you excited?
I’ve always enjoyed the work of Raf Simons. Same goes for Phoebe Philo. There are also a lot of young and upcoming designers that I find very brave and inspiring.
What makes you stand out from your peers?
Everyone has a different background, grows up with different values and goals. Our surroundings influence our aesthetic, and everyone’s brain is different, processing the same information in different ways. I try to show people what is happening in my brain. My clothes are wearable but at the same time they have solid research and a strong point of view behind them. My research is based on personal topics, which give me access to insights that no one else has. I think that is what makes the brand stand out.
Do you have any rituals when you being the process of designing a new collection?
No rituals, just strict deadlines. I really enjoy the process of building a collection, it is fascinating to see how research forms the design and evolves to final garments.
Have you started to think about SS17?
I like to think ahead and plan everything. There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many unpredicted delays with fabric deliveries or sampling. That’s why I always try to think at least two seasons ahead and have my research and design development happening throughout the whole year.
What kind of woman wears Sabinna?
A very confident woman. She knows what she wants from life. She is strong, feminine and inspiring for other girls.
Where do you see the future of your brand?
We had a really good start with the brand, so I am hoping to continue with the same spirit and pace. It is hard to forecast how quickly we will grow, but we are confident that it’s going to be steady. The last season was extremely exiting and we reached important milestones, so hopefully it will continue like this.
Do you think fashion will ever be seasonless?
To be honest I don’t care about seasons when I am designing. I sometimes get the feedback that my winter collections look too summery and the spring collections too wintery. Personally, I wear the same clothes throughout the year, just sometimes adding a coat on top of it or swapping sandals for boots. I do not think there a point in separating seasons too strictly.
What do you think of the idea that people can buy straight from the catwalk?
We offer pre orders on selected items straight after the show and have had great feedback so far. People are exited to be able to get clothes straight from the catwalk. Of course it is very challenging with the production but, again, we try to think ahead and prepare everything that is necessary to get the production going as soon as the first pre orders are coming in.
Sabinna is supported by the Austrian Fashion Association and has stockists across the UK, Europe and Asia.