With a background in business, Masha Ruginets brings the analytical and practical aspects of clothing to the runways of high-end fashion. Her first collection debuted at last year’s Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) to great reviews, helping her gain recognition as she emerged onto the fashion scene.

The young designer was named one of the top five designers to watch for by Fashion Magazine and celebrities like Fefe Dobson have supported her designs publicly.

Her avant-garde techniques are influenced by many hours spent in modern art museums in New York and Europe. This year’s Masha Apparel line, inspired by Russian orthodox priests and their black garments, displayed her love of combining elements. She mixed soft elegant fabrics with the hard aspects of industrial chains; draping and accenting the evening wear gowns. After the show we snuck backstage with the experimental craftswoman and talked about what it’s been like preparing for the show with a baby due in one month among other things.

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR VISION? With this collection I was reading a couple of history books so a lot of it is rooted in history and it grew from that.

WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SEE IN THE VISION YOU CREATE? Beauty. The runway is an artistic expression. A painter paints and a writer writes, for a fashion designer the runway is the medium where you can create beauty and showcase it on a person rather than on a painting.

WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION TO CREATE THROUGH FASHION RATHER THAN OTHER PLATFORMS? It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. Instead of just playing with my Barbies I would make clothes for them. That was my idea of playing. When I got older I would make clothes for myself. I’ve always liked the idea of using my hands to create something beautiful and for some reason fashion was always that and I’ve never doubted it in my mind.

HOW DID YOU END UP CONNECTING WITH FAT? I did it last year and I really enjoyed it so this year it was just a natural thing. [FAT] is such a great medium for artists to show all different kinds of art. It’s not the typical fashion week; you see a wider variety of things, very unique and interesting things, and you can also be a lot more creative. You can do anything where as with other more conventional venues you need to be more conventional to fit in. Here the weirder and more different you are, the better.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE PREPARING FOR THIS WEEK? It was pretty stressful. A lot of the dresses I had done previously for when Toronto Fashion Week was happening so I just spent a lot of time preparing the chains. It was an interesting preparation now that I have this (a baby on the way). It’s been a lot slower; I gave myself a lot more time. I think I spent the last five days just putting the chains together.

SO YOU DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF? Yeah for the most part, especially for the show I find it’s important to do it yourself. You’re the only person that can create that vision [the way you see it].

Words By. Emma Kombora + Photos By.  Candace Nyaomi

Emma Kombora first found her interest for writing after graduating a journalism program in which she was Entertainment Editor for a youth-led magazine called Say Word through East Metro Youth Services in Scarborough. Through the same program at East Metro and other art/music initiatives in Toronto, she got a taste of everything that goes into journalism from writing and editing to photography. She hopes through Urbanology she can take her experience and knowledge to the next level and bring a new narrative to the world of entertainment and arts.

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