Red Hot Monde Exclusive Interview with Irina Pyleva

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How did your journey in the fashion industry begin, and what inspired you to become a fashion designer and creative director?

My foray into fashion began with a childhood dream of emulating the style of a fashionista or princess. From a young age, I engaged in designing and creating clothes, captivated by top models and fashion magazines. As soon as the opportunity arose, I immersed myself in photoshoots, starting with catalogs for wedding and prom dresses. This experience underscored the transformative power of clothes, colors, and textures in crafting distinctive
images, sparking my curiosity about the entire fashion business. The desire to contribute my creativity propelled me into design, eventually leading me to co-found and serve as the Art Director and designer for brands like Corsettery and Roberta Lavicci.

Career Highlights:

Could you share some key moments or projects that you consider as milestones in your career, especially your time as a creative director for fashion brands like Corsettery and Roberta Lavicci?

One significant milestone for Corsettery was the decision to embrace greater flexibility and collaboration with corset enthusiasts, venturing into made-to-measure pieces to establish a closer connection with our clientele. Another noteworthy achievement was our global expansion, reaching enthusiasts in over 60 countries from our initial focus on the US market. Pinpointing specific smaller milestones is challenging due to the continuous influx of new global projects, many of which involve collaborative efforts with corset lovers worldwide.

In the realm of Roberta Lavicci, our contributions to the development of travel trends in Cappadocia and Turkey stand out prominently. Shifting from rental wardrobes for tourist photoshoots, we ventured into producing magazine-quality photoshoots in Istanbul. This evolution includes the incorporation of rental wardrobes and even the integration of exquisite corsets from Corsettery, reinforcing our commitment to providing unique and visually captivating experiences for our clientele.

Corsettery’s Unique Position:

Corsettery is renowned globally for its corsets. Can you elaborate on what sets Corsettery apart in the fashion industry and how your creative direction has contributed to its unique position?

Corsettery has carved a niche as a global leader through a meticulous step-by-step process. A crucial factor is our proprietary patterning formula, a technique imported from Italy, allowing the swift crafting of made-to-measure corsets, even without a personal meeting with the customer, while maintaining an exceptionally high level of quality. Our flexibility, eschewing large drops, sets us apart, with a continuous introduction of new designs throughout the year, ensuring a constant flow of fresh and trend-aligned offerings. This commitment to innovation and adaptability forms the cornerstone of Corsettery’s unique position in the fashion industry.

Creative Process:

How would you describe your creative process when designing bespoke fit corsets for clients? What elements or inspirations do you typically draw upon?

At the core of my creative process is the powerful force of inspiration drawn from diverse sources surrounding us—whether it be art, people, the rich history of fashion, new technologies, or invaluable insights from our customers. Yet, maintaining creativity demands a deep understanding of the production process and the capabilities of our fabrics and materials. It involves discerning the evolution of historical corset patterns in the context of the modern world. Striking the right balance between creative vision and technical considerations is crucial, ensuring that innovation is not only inspirational but also technically feasible within the realm of corset production.

Influence and Fusion:

Your designs are known for their fusion of different cultural influences. Could you discuss how cultural diversity inspires your work, and how you incorporate these elements into your designs?

My academic background in social and legal science, encompassing cultural studies and history, plays a pivotal role in shaping my design philosophy. Drawing inspiration from various layers of time and cultures worldwide is intrinsic to my creative process. Profound sources of new ideas stem from the interpretation and amalgamation of images, with museums dedicated to fashion, clothing history, and fine arts remaining perpetual favorites. For me, the ability to transform everything observed into a personal experience blurs the boundaries between books, paintings, fine art, and clothing. This seamless integration makes it natural to incorporate elements from art and diverse cultural influences into fashion and design.

Accessibility in Fashion:

Your vision for fashion includes making unique designs accessible to people of all ages, genders, and body shapes. How do you approach inclusivity in your designs, and what challenges have you faced in achieving this vision?

Navigating the gap between imagination and the tangible reality of wearable products is a substantial challenge in achieving inclusivity. My primary goal is to construct a bridge between the realms of imagination and practical creation. This involves an in-depth understanding of diverse production processes and patterning techniques suitable for various body types, all while maintaining a focus on crafting distinctive pieces of clothing. Striking the right balance between the technical aspects of design and the overarching goal of creating designs that are adjustable for all ages and body shapes is a continuous effort. It’s about finding a harmonious equilibrium between the creative vision and the practicality of making fashion accessible to a broad spectrum of individuals.

Evolution of Corsettery:

You’ve overseen Corsettery’s evolution from a brand of authentic bespoke corsets to diverse directions, including the establishment of a fashion tech department. Can you share the motivation behind these changes and the impact on Corsettery’s brand identity?

Corsettery’s evolution mirrors the dynamic landscape of the fashion industry. Shifting from a focus on authentic bespoke corsets to diversifying into various directions, such as establishing a fashion tech department, is propelled by a steadfast commitment to innovation. These changes are driven by a desire to adapt to the ever-evolving needs and desires of our audience. The integration of new technologies is a strategic move that enables us to scale the company seamlessly while preserving the core DNA of the brand. Key values, including our collaborative process with customers, commitment to made-to-order pieces, and maintaining affordable prices, remain at the forefront of our brand identity throughout this transformative journey.

Fashion Tech Department:

The establishment of a fashion tech department is an intriguing development. How does technology intersect with fashion in your vision, and what role does the fashion tech department play in the overall direction of Corsettery?

Our primary focus has always been on the online realm, allowing us to connect with corset enthusiasts worldwide. With multiple online stores on different platforms and the recent addition of a store dedicated to our wholesale customers in 2023, our commitment to an online presence remains unwavering. The fashion tech department plays a pivotal role in enhancing the purchasing experience for both retail and wholesale customers seeking
made-to-measure corsets. We leverage existing technologies on our main site to facilitate smooth navigation through the buying process. Simultaneously, we are at the forefront of development, constantly exploring and testing new neural networks to streamline the journey further. The ultimate priority is ensuring that these technologies resonate with our customers, offering simplicity rather than complexity in their interactions with our brand.

Future Aspirations:

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Corsettery and your personal journey as a fashion designer and creative director?

In the coming future, our focus at Corsettery revolves around several significant collaborations that have been underway in recent months. We anticipate that these collaborations will not only contribute to scaling the company but will also facilitate the introduction of new products. Concurrently, we aim to leverage these endeavors as opportunities to engage, educate, and attract a broader audience. The aspiration is to see Corsettery continue its growth trajectory, diversifying its offerings, and becoming an even more influential presence in the world of bespoke fashion. On a personal note, my journey as a fashion designer and creative director involves pushing the boundaries of creativity, contributing to transformative projects, and staying attuned to the evolving landscape of the industry.

Advice for Aspiring Designers:

For aspiring fashion designers and creative minds, what advice would you give based on your experiences in the industry?

In reflecting on my own experiences in the industry, my advice for aspiring fashion designers and creative minds would be to maintain an unwavering focus on creating and developing your clothing designs. Regardless of the challenges encountered along the way, prioritize the act of making, learning, and building your portfolio. Embrace the philosophy that taking smaller steps consistently is more valuable than stagnation. Progress, even in increments, propels you closer to your goals and contributes significantly to your growth as a designer.


Photographer: Sheleg Anastasia @sheleg.anastasia
Publication: Tatiana Sayko @tatiana_sayko
Creative Director & Model: Irina Pyleva @happytappy2.0
Fashion Designer: Irina Pyleva For Corsettery @corsettery