​10 things you need to know about kiko kostadinov

One of this seasons’ most exciting NEWGEN recipients, Bulgaria-born Kiko Kostadinov is an authentic fashion upstart.

by Matthew Whitehouse
13 April 2016, 7:25am

Considering Kiko Kostadinov never thought of making fashion a profession, he's not making too bad a go of it. The Bulgaria-born designer may have just graduated from CSM but he's already got two sell-out collaborations with streetwear giant Stussy to his name, plus a recent NEWGEN nod (previous recipients including talented Christophers, Raeburn and Shannon). "There is a lot of structure to be built as a brand in a short period of time," he explains. "But I'm more than excited to begin showing on my own." You're not the only one. With that NEWGEN sponsorship set to provide an even bigger launchpad for the young designer, here are 10 things you need to know about an authentic fashion upstart…

1. He's always loved clothing
"I would go and spend four-five hours in TKMAXX when I was 17, aimlessly going through all the racks and picking things to try on."

2. And that very 'hands on' education still informs his work today
"I'm trying to be very focused and understand what will make my work different and why it should exist in the first place. I don't see the need in doing drawings and sketches to achieve that. It's more about fittings and talks between a close group of friends who I believe understand me."

3. The process can take a while
"There are a lot of fittings and experiments. Then all the adjustments and making sure it can be real and not just fantasy. I wouldn't want to lose this element in my work; the personal approach, the reactionary decision making and all the mistakes that are turned into something new."

4. But he tends not to overthink it
"It's one continuous flow in my head which is all very reactionary… I design for myself and for the people around me, I don't have a fictional muse or customer. I do try and build stories based on my cultural references but I don't feel that talking about which movie or exhibitions I've seen will help convince the audience. I'd rather have great work with layers of hidden references that will speak for itself."

5. While he lists Christopher Nemeth, Takahiro Miyashita, Jun Takahashi, Stefano Pillati, Kim Jones, Rick Owens as his main influences
"… It's more about the designer and how authentic their work is rather than the actual fashion. I believe in all those people because they are honest in what they do and if you to questioned them they can answer you without bullshitting."

6. Helping his dad as a decorator has certainly influenced his work ethic
"I've been working with my dad since I came here [exactly ten years ago]. Weekends and holidays. Thats how I earned money to buy myself new Diesel jeans when I was teenager. Also working around older people and being given tasks in this environment really prepared me to take what I do more seriously and be more organised."

7. As well as his clothes
"The actual utilitarian clothing references are becoming part of my work as it feels natural at the moment. Some sort of homage."

8. He's a prolific Instagrammer
"For me its a diary and I go back to it quite often to look for something that I know I posted. Sometimes I don't post for days, other time I do 10 in a row, there isn't formula."

9. Who has strong advice for other aspiring designers
"I think everyone needs to find their own way. It all depends on the level of commitment."

10. And he should know, fashion is now his full-time job
"I want to use fashion to create thoughtful processes and stories that generate products that make people feel something."



Text Matthew Whitehouse

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