It’s a cold afternoon in the Financial District in New York and Guvanch is smoking a cigarette while walking his dog Louis. He’s an explosion of color between the deco buildings and the rushing parade of black business suits.
Guvanch, What’s the driving force in this new collection ?
This season I was thinking about honesty. Showing who you are, without any boundaries. I didn’t want the collection to feel cohesive in anyway, I wanted chaos. I wanted freedom, cause in reality we are always changing and that’s great. I can be chaotic myself!
How has growing up in a place like Turkmenistan informed you as a designer?
When I came to NYC I didn’t know who I was, I was so new and didn’t know anyone. New York taught me how to be relentless. And the city, the people specially, never stop inspiring me. Where I come from there’s so many rules. My designs are a rebellion in a way. Especially this new collection.
Is casting part of the rebellion as well? You have come to be known for a diverse ensemble of models for your shows. How important is casting for you ? Who’s the Guvanch muse?
Yes and No. I take casting super seriously. I’m definitely making a statement. But it’s very natural for me. My shows represent the people around me, my friends, people that I see in the streets. A Straight guy wearing a dress for example. Nikita is simply stunning or Bri, who opens my show in a wheelchair. But the point is not that she’s in a wheelchair, the point is that she deserves to be seen and she’s stunning, you can’t deny her energy.
What has been the response ?
the response was immediate! I got 500 messages with the most amazing support and people telling me they felt seen. This is why I do what I do. This makes me so happy even if they don’t buy my clothes, probably bad to say as a business but it’s true !
You collaborated with nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch for your show, how did it come about?
When thinking about a show, I knew I wanted the audience I design for. When Susanne and Phil (stylist + collaborator) contacted me it made sense! Also having a show that might be seen as provocative or out of the box for some, it’s hard to get help and funding. Susanne was amazing!
Where does “Made at home” come from?
This really has two meanings I guess. It comes from the idea that you can make anything happen. I started my brand with 50 dollars, I made a lot of mistakes and learned along the way. I had to learn to believe in myself no matter what.
Also I want my pieces to feel special and romantic. I want them to be special because I made them, I touched them, I got the fabric, I know how many stitches went in every piece.
What are you excited most about this collection?
I have to say this collection was hard. I wanted it to feel artisanal. But also really chic. I wanted a revolution too, within my own work, more punk, in your face. You’ll see some raw edges but still have very clean lines. I wanted to put opposite ideas together. By mixing fabrics that no one will think would go together. But that’s the fun thing about fashion, there’s no rules. If there are, well, rules are made to be broken. I want to keep creating pieces that make people feel seen. Probably sleeping less and having a lot more coffee than I should. I always thinking about the next thing
CONNECT WITH GUVANCH
story / Francis Wintour
photos / Benjamin Aides