I love the first week of a new semester not only for the new classes but meeting new people as well! This week, I met Roxana Adibekova, a Design and Management junior hailing from Almaty, Kazakhstan who just so happened to start her very own street wear line this summer. The line, Ottepel, is an interesting blend of Roxana’s life in New York City and her hometown of Almaty. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about starting her own company and her inspirations behind the line!
Lauren Davis: Hey Roxana! First things first, Why did you decide on the Design & Management program here at Parsons?
Roxana Adibekova: I have always been interested in many aspects of art since childhood. In whatever I do, I feel that I am leader. The Design and Management program fits me well because it provides me with leadership skills in the artistic world.
LD: Being that you are an international student was it hard adjusting to life in the Big Apple?
RA: After high school I took a gap year and went to Paris to study French. Having gone through that incredible experience I understood that I definitely wanted to live in a metropolitan city in order to constantly get inspired by my surroundings. Living in New York gives me so much inspiration and motivation to do things I love. I feel this city fits me very well and I never even had a hard time adjusting to the crazy rhythm of New York.
LD: Tell me a about your line, Ottepel, what was the inspiration behind it and why did you start it?
RA: I always wanted to have my own clothing line, which would be autobiographical and reflect my own life. The city I am from is a fast developing metropolis with skyscrapers and concrete; however, it is very different from New York. Almaty, is surrounded by mountains and has a whole different atmosphere in terms of the vibe, people and culture. I decided to combine the city I am from with the city I live in and depicts the contrast of these two absolutely different cultures and demonstrates the free spirited and adventurous lives of the people like me!
LD: How were you able to combine the urban cultures of NYC and Almaty and translate that into clothing?
RA: Initally, I wrote a poetry book with the name Ottepel. When translated, Ottepel, actually means the transitional period when it finally gets warm after a cold winter. The poems were mainly about the spirits of the two cities and my feelings about them.
Then, I thought about translating this concept into something that would contribute to my dream career in fashion. I started with inventing the signature Ottepel font, and then, implementing my own film photographs for the first summer collection of T-shirts. A good friend of mine, who is a renowned motion designer, helped me out with the start up in general and with the making of the lookbook promo videos. The recent winter collection also features warm sweaters with prints of Almaty.
LD: What’s in store for the future of Ottepel?
RA: I plan on making Ottepel diversified with new styles and designs with each collection and season and possibly introduce even more lines and categories within the brand!
LD: Any advice for other students wanting to start their own brand?
RA: It is always the hardest to start. But once you’ve got an idea that you feel is unique – stick to it. Give yourself time to consider options and get more inspiration and knowledge while you’re in school. Only then, when you believe in your project and idea with your heart and soul, you’ll know right away that this is a perfect time to start a brand.
Be sure to shop and check out more of Roxana’s line, Ottepel!