The radioactive inspiration behind IA London
Images are a powerful instrument to convey a narrative, message, or idea, and this is the focus of the work done by IA London. Taking inspiration from events such as the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear disasters, the work done by the label poignantly captures a darker yet intriguing aesthetic through the use of prints. Today we spoke to Ira Avezov, founder of IA London, about her journey and vision for the future.
You describe the IA brand as “the home of wearable image”, what do you mean by that?
As a label, we develop authentic imagery and print it on our unique garments, using advanced digital technology. We are excited by images, their beauty and complexity, their ability to be dramatic and evoke our deepest emotions, as well as being capable of making a fashion statement.
In terms of design process, once our images are chosen, we develop patterns of the garments to suit them, making sure that the garments are not only artistic and sophisticated, but also comfortable and wearable.
Describe the inspiration behind your most recent collection, “My Beautiful Fukushima”.
My Beautiful Fukushima was inspired by the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. My interest in nuclear disasters is rather personal - I spent my childhood in areas heavily affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The stories about strange creatures, designed by the radiation, became a kind of a fairytale in my mind, and I started to observe their strange, dark beauty.
For Fukushima collection SS18, I developed a series of images, based on authentic photographs of Maiko from the beginning of the 19th century. I gave them new eyes, to see the new reality. In collaboration with the amazing British hatter Gil Fox we also developed a collection of Fukushima Hats - unique hand-made headpieces for people with two heads.
If you could describe your brand in two words, what would it be?
You only started your brand a bit more than a year ago, what has been the most difficult part of the journey so far?
I’ve been in the advanced design industry for more than 15 years. At some point, I realised that I had developed a vision that was too big to be just a side project, so I left my very comfortable creative director position. Being a beginner again was the most exciting and challenging part of the transition. It is like crashing your private jet on a desert island, when your mind and hands (and a few Apple devices) is all you have left. It takes a lot of discipline not to lose your sanity, but after a while it settles and a new world begins to emerge.
Where do you see IA London going in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think today people don’t want to be billboards for big brands. They want to communicate with their own voice. We want to give them this possibility, and image is the most powerful way to show one’s unique personality. That's why personalised wearable image is the core of our creative start-up. We work toward the goal of being globally recognised as a pioneer in personalised wholesale fashion by the end of 5 years. From there, we will explore our vision further.
What’s your favourite piece of your most recent collection and why?
My favourite piece in the Fukushima collection is a haori coat with Basho’s haiku printed on the front and a large-scale drawing on the back. I like this combination because I love haiku, and because it was interesting to translate the message into a visual that yields the same emotional response.
What helps you find inspiration behind your designs?
We are inspired by many sources, from Japanese art, culture and philosophy to European painting, Neo-Brutalism architecture and the startling dark elegance of Shakespearean plays.
How did you get into fashion?
IA London is the home of wearable image. To pursue this vision, two skills were essential: the ability to design unique images, and the ability to design wearable unique pieces that can accommodate the images and work as one. I had to learn how to do both and use the combination in order to design wearable images. So I'd rather say that fashion got into me.
Who are your main influences?
Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, Gosha Rubchinski, Irakli Rusadze, Andy Warhol
If any celebrity could wear your pieces, who would you want it to be?
For those who are interested in stocking IA London - what is on offer?
Currently we offer two very interesting collections: Shadows Have No Eyes Men’s/Unisex, and My Beautiful Fukushima Women’s. The images developed for both collections are authentic and distinctive. Manufactured in Italy, the garments satisfy the most demanding of requirements.
IA presents new collections 4 times a year. What can we expect next?
Our next collection is going to be an exciting one. It is designed under the concept Sleep No More from Shakespeare's Macbeth. The collection will be introduced in two drops: January and March. Most of the garments in the collection are unisex, inspired by the dark aesthetics of the literature masterpiece. New images will be developed for the new collection, while the complexity of garments increases, including cage detachable constructions. The collection will be presented in Ozone Showroom exclusively.