During Boston Fashion Week I had the pleasure of meeting fashion designer, Rimma Zaika. She was featured in Boston Magazine as one of Boston’s 100 Most Interesting Women. Her designs are known for their distinctive textiles; which implement crochet and knitted pieces. Her designs demonstrate how fashion can imitate art, by incorporating the generous use of vivid color and intricate details. Zaika’s designs are in a league of their own. Would you expect anything less from one of Boston’s most interesting women? While viewing her collection at BFW, I thought of how the coloring captured the essence of fall foliage and how cozy and plush everything was – perfect for fall and winter days ahead in New England.
Chic Beat: How long have you been a fashion designer?
RZ: It feels like my whole life. When I was 7 my aunt taught me how to knit and crochet. I immediately began making designs – shirts and tops for my mother, never for dolls. I was knitting away through school, high school, 2 universities, often during classes when I made up a design and was too impatient to wait till I arrived at home.
Chic Beat: How have your designs evolved over the course of your career?
RZ: I would say that they changed and evolved a lot. I constantly learn, try new (to me) materials and techniques. At first it was only knitting or crocheting, in decorative 80’s I did applique and embroidery, used a lot of lace. Then I felt that my designs demanded jewelry to compliment my designs. I then learned some jewelry making techniques and a whole independent line of my jewelry was born.
I love flowers, feminine things, but all through the 80’s and 90’s I experimented with geometric patterns incorporating suede, leather, fabrics into knit wear. My garments are time consuming to produce, therefore the prices are on the high end, so now I’m working on the line of ready-to-wear more affordable designs, more fabric incorporated into knitted/crocheted clothes.
Chic Beat: How long does it take to complete a knitted design?
RZ: A very long time – depending on the complexity of the design from a week to 3-4 weeks (coats, jackets), crocheted garments may take longer.
Chic Beat: How does your culture inspire your designs?
RZ: I worked on my collection called, The Roots, for two years. I named it that because many pieces were influenced by the place I lived the first half of my life—Bukovina. Bukovina is a place of exceptional beauty located in a historical region in Central Europe, currently divided between Romania and Ukraine, and located on the Northern slopes of the Central Carpathian Mountains. This region has a very rich history and because of its geopolitical significance was invaded many times. It was inhabited first by Slavic tribes, then by Goths, Huns, and Avars. It then came under the influence of the Roman Empire, Kievan Rus, and later became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWI it became part of the Kingdom of Romania and in June of 1940; as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact it became part of the Soviet Union. So you see, it has a very long history. Bukovina is a unique place where people of many nationalities lived n relative harmony, where different cultures influenced each other and those influences can be heard in music, literature, architecture, arts, crafts and of course in the clothing people wear. While I am unable to show you any beautiful examples of the true wearable art that people of Bukovina wear to this day, this part of my collection—fur trimmed vests with geometrical patterns and embroidered flowers—is a vivid example of those ROOTS.
My collection has a second influence. When I first came to this country I fell in love with its beauty and the colors of New England – colors of forests, mountains, ocean, lakes and rivers – the golds and reds of autumn, dark evergreens against the snows of winter. All of this I loved. Yet spring—the season of flowers, rebirth, joy and creation—has always been the most important to me – and it is the flowers of the New England Spring that you see in my collection. Look around – it’s a beautiful place we live in. So this part of the collection is a salute to two countries, to the past and to the future, to old loves and new beginnings.
That said, I do use decorative techniques and bright colors that influenced me since I was a child; but my focus now is on a modern, contemporary clothing.
MChic Beat: You recently participated in the VOGE runway show
during Boston Fashion Week and you have an upcoming show at Marilyn Riseman’s Fashion Luncheon. What do you enjoy the most about runway shows?
RZ: The opportunity to see the whole look I created in my head modeled by beautiful girls – clothing, jewelry, accessories, make-up, hair – all come together.
You can see Zaika’s collection in person on November 4th during the Marilyn Riseman’s Fashion Luncheon at Brassiere JO (at the Colonnade Hotel).
Here is a video from the NHFW 2016 Rimma Zaika Show. You can also head over here to see her designs from the VOGE BFW 2016 show.