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Fashion for Strong Women: Emancifashion Exhibition Takes Place at HSE University

Fashion for Strong Women: Emancifashion Exhibition Takes Place at HSE University

© HSE University

In early November, the Emancifashion exhibition, dedicated to the representation of women in art and fashion, took place at HSE University in Maly Trekhsvyatitelsky Pereulok. The event, organised by first-year students from the HSE Media Communications programme, featured works created by students from the Fashion Design programme of the HSE Art and Design School.

The exhibition was organised by students Rinata Anisimova, Dara Timakova, Victoria Razykova, Daria Larionova and Ekaterina Kamenchenko. This idea came to Rinata when she and her friends were thinking about why many women give up a successful career in fashion and design. ‘We wanted to prove, through the example of HSE students, that women in this field are good enough to let others know about their professional achievements as well as about the activities of famous male fashion designers,’ explained Rinata.

The students believe that if you do not create artificial barriers, women can reach the same level of success in their career as men. ‘To do this, we need to dispel myths about women's weakness, low level of skills, and inability to work in competitive areas,’ says Rinata.

She shared that organizing the exhibition turned out to be a very time-consuming task: ‘Initially we made a lot of mistakes, because we decided to organise the event with a small team — there were only five of us - and it was not easy for us.’

One of the participants of the exhibition was a sophomore of the educational program "Fashion Design". Maria Syrvasova, second-year student of the Fashion Design programme, was one of the exhibition participants. She is convinced that such events are necessary to create a local women's community of creatives who support each other. At Emancifashion, she presented a work titled ‘poder oculto de españa’. ‘In the first module of the 2nd year, my reference for creating a historical costume was the work of Natalia Goncharova (Russian avant-garde artist, graphic artist, set designer. — Editor’s note) from her series “Spaniards”’, says the student. ‘In 1917, she wrote that Spain is the only European country which manifests some hidden power.’

In 1916, two poems were published in a Spanish magazine that mentioned traditional garments (the mantilla and manton), as well as an activist's article that it was dangerous for women to go out alone in Madrid because of unwanted male attention. ‘The functionality of Spanish shawls interested me,’ says Maria ‘In the course of my study, it turned out that they had different purposes: they served as decoration, demonstrated the level of wealth, were used while dancing, played an important role in creating a national image. Maybe Spanish women and the shawls covering them — very practical, but at the same time carrying a mysterious meaning – represent this hidden power of Spain.’

Second-year student Zlata Morozova presented two works at the exhibition. The concept of the first work, which is called ‘Unrealized goals’, is based on a person's desire to escape into a perfect world. It is based on Le Corbusier's plan of the ideal city ‘Plan Voisin’. ‘This topic is close to me, since I have faced this problem: what I have conceived remained only an idea,’ says Zlata. Her second project is ‘Spikes’. ‘It was an individual request,’ explains the student. ‘The image of the customer gave me an idea: this is a thing for a strong girl who can rely only on herself’.

First-year student Anastasia Gamulina presented a dress that she made for her school graduation. ‘This is a personal story about the formation and birth of the female tenderness in me,’ shared the student. ‘I was graduating from high school, and I had to create a dress. I decided to express my teenage changes through fabric and form. I finished it relatively quickly, although in general the topic of self-identification is not easy for me, and I had no experience working with such materials.’

First-year student Polina Mironova finds ideas for creating clothes in conversations with different people. ‘I can catch an interesting thought in the course of a conversation, hear an unusual word — and I capture it, I start to think about it. It seems to me that all my works are based on this principle: I am inspired by words,’ says the student. At the exhibition, she presented a hand-embroidered dress. It was difficult to work on it. ‘When I created this dress, I had the idea of making embroidery which would combine futurism with the Russian national style,’ she said. ‘As a result, the journey from the initial idea to the final stitch took about a year.’

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