Most children’s parents display their best artwork on the refrigerator or in their office. For Kira Plastinina, her father took his pride in her work a little bit farther. At just fourteen years old, Kira’s father, Sergei Plastinina, made her artwork into her own self-titled fashion line, Kira Plastinina. Although he had no experience in fashion, he studied the fashion industry and discovered that being current and having a newsworthy edge is what makes a person thrive. Kira has proven to be both.

kira3Who isn’t interested in how a fourteen-year-old becomes a business owner and designer? Or how  she became an international sensation within a year. Kira proved that she wasn’t just a gimmick. Sergei launched his daughter’s line in March 2007 with an independant fashion show, and opened their first store in Evropeisky shopping mall in Moscow. That same year, she won Breakthrough Designer of the Year from Glamour magazine’s Russian syndicate. The following year, her international debut in Rome landed her the title of “most talented and young designer” at the Alta Roma Alta Moda show during Milan Fashion Week. She continued to appear at shows around the world and now eight years later, with two separate fashion lines, and over 300 stores internationally, the designer has shown that she has more than an extremely supportive father. Her designs have garnered the attention of celebrities such as Paris Hilton, who attended the debut of her Spring 2008 collection during Moscow Fashion Week. Other noteworthy fans include Nicole Richie, model Georgia May Jagger, Britney Spears, and American super model Karlie Kloss. She also released a limited edition collection for Lindsay Lohan in 2011.

One of the things that makes her clothing line so popular is the very thing that started it all, Kira. From the beginning, the young designer did not put anything out that she wasn’t comfortable wearing herself. Her design team is relatively small, consisting of her and her assistant designer. After every design is finished she tries them on herself to see how she feels about them and how they fit. Her goal is to make clothes that exemplify the lifestyle of girls just like herself: girls “jet setting all over the world, always busy, living interesting lives.” Jet Setting is not only a part of Kira’s lifestyle, it is also where she gains inspiration for her work. Having traveled in parts of Nigeria and northern Africa, her Spring 2010 Lublu collection, “Dreams about Africa,” combined African motifs with rock style. In 2014 she traveled to Brazil to gain inspiration for a future fashion line.

kira1Across both of Kira’s clothing lines are evidence that she puts her life into her designs. Kira Plastinina, what she calls her “fast fashion” line, is playful with a hint of flirtation. Floral prints dominate, paired with natural but vibrant colors. One dress from the summer 2015 collection has a tailored to fit top ending at a natural waist. From there, it flares out all the way to the floor. In a pale pink, this piece exemplifies the style of the collection. The colors and lines are truly girly. Unlike other brands, there is a sense of innocence in the line that avoids cuts or fabrics that are too revealing. Kira has also tried to steer clear of anything “too adult.” The line is specifically geared towards the younger generation of fashionistas that Kira herself belongs to. However, she has always had a more sophisticated side.

Lublu, which means “I love” in Russian, was launched one year after her “fast fashion” line as a higher end collection that could exhibit the more refined side of Kira’s designs. According to lublukp.com, the line “celebrates the independent spirit of today’s dynamic female.” For her pre-fall 2014/15 collection, Kira imagined that the women she was designing for were from a mystical garden paradise, but were living busy lives in the big city. With these colorful images in mind, she creates styles that are cutting edge, yet still fun and full of intrigue. Kira manages to blend these creative, high-fashion qualities with clothes that are everyday comfortable, and wearable. Of the collection, one deep blue, printed frock stands out, paired with a thick overcoat with a matching blue interior liner, a black outer shell and gold buttons. The skirt, just a little longer than the overcoat, has just a slight flare to highlight the fitted waist. While Lublu is more mature in its style, it is still distinctly feminine. Also, included in this collection are some things that Kira feels that she designs the best: cocktail dresses and evening gowns.

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As Kira has come of age in the fashion world, she has not slowed down on her dreams. A new store featuring her Lublu line is recently opened in Dallas, Texas, which is close to where she is working on her MBA. While she is completing her degree at Southern Methodist University, her company’s headquarters are in Moscow. So, still spends a lot of time “jet setting” back and forth between the two, and to other places around the world to gain inspiration. At twenty-two, Kira Plastinina still embodies the dynamic, stylish women that she designs for. Her father may have boosted her start, but Kira has proven that she has the imagination and dedication to produce fashions that are truly unique.

-Tabi Lawson

 

pola5Fashion can be an extension of who you are as a person. Beyond the trends and styles, you’ll find that clothes symbolize your identity, personal values, culture, and even national heritage. Fashion designer Pola Thomson, for example, emblazons her creations with virtuosity and enlightenment. Ever since she was a child growing up in Santiago, Chile, Thomson’s had a creative urge. At twelve years old, she requested a sewing machine and discovered her muse in fashion design. Now as an award-winning designer, she is sharing her talents with the world via refined wardrobe designs and jewelry.

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mosi1Behind every big brand is a brilliant mind making the magic happen. Someone with an eye for trends will be picking the colors and the fabrics that everyone will be wearing the following Add Mediaseason. This job takes forward thinking, bravery, and a natural ability to discover tomorrow’s look today, but even these creative geniuses are not perfect. The mind behind Mossimo is no different.

Mossimo Giannulli was born and raised in southern California where he was surrounded by a serene, casual, and laid back environment. Mossimo desired to capitalize on this beach vibe and, with a small loan from his father, he founded his label Mossimo in 1986 while he was still in his early 20s. This young designer created a line of beachwear that he sold out of a garage on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. In its first year the company did really well for itself. It raked in over 1 million dollars in profit.

During the early years of the company’s life, Mossimo expanded the line to include more than just beachwear. It started carrying sweatshirts, knits and sweaters and by 1995, the collection included women’s clothing and men’s tailored suits. After only eight years in business, Mossimo, Inc. had grown into a multi-million dollar lifestyle sportswear and accessories company. But that wasn’t enough for the youngest reported CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company. Mossimo wanted more. When asked about his early success by the Fashion Model Directory website, an online source containing information about models and designers, Mossimo said, “From 1987 to 1996, we were on an absolute roll. Tons of profit, tons of growth…but we needed a stronger infrastructure to keep up.”

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Mossimo found the extra push his company needed with the multi-product licensing agreement he made with Target retailers. The Target agreement allowed Mossimo so much design freedom and opportunity. He was able to create a very wide range of product categories and he was able to take advantage of both their merchandising expertise and their product distribution capabilities.

Now Mossimo is a well-known brand that specializes in youth and teenage clothing such as shirts, jeans, jackets, socks, underwear and accessories. It draws its inspiration from street, urban, and sport styles. The company started off in a garage, but now it is sold in 1,700 stores in the US, with international licenses in Australia, Philippines, South America, Mexico, Japan and India totaling 600 stores.

However successful the brand has become, Mossimo has recently been criticized for many of his business decisions. In the LA Times article The Rise and Fall of Mossimo Giannulli, Sandy Potter, co-owner of Directives West in Los Angeles, which advises major department stores on California fashion trends, talks about Mossimo’s quick expansion. She said, “He enjoyed so much success so early that I honestly don’t think he knew how long and how hard of a transition that is to make… I always believed he had the talent to make it happen, but that’s the kind of thing that takes 10 years to accomplish, not two or three.”

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The Mossimo Company has recently experienced some drop off in sales, but there are still people who love the Mossimo products. I personally have closet full of Mossimo stuff from Target, but the business struggles have affected Mossimo. He has refused buy-out offers and he had been determined to turn his line around.

In 2013, Mossimo launched a line of brightly colored golf gloves. Mossimo commented on how the color options used to be just black and white but he wanted to give men a chance to be bold with their sportswear. In an interview with Minor House, an online publication focusing on the golf lifestyle and fashion marketplace, Mossimo said, “Non-fashion guys tend to get out of their comfort zone on the golf course, meaning that a guy that would never wear a white belt in real life will wear it on the golf course. A guy that would never wear a plaid pant will wear one on the golf course. A guy that would never wear a bright orange shirt will wear one on the golf course. So what a great opportunity for a guy to push the limits and have an interesting accessory? That was the motivating factor early [on].”

Mossimo has made some bold decisions that haven’t always been received well, but his brand is still alive and very successful today. I think as long as he keeps making the magic happen with his eye for trends and opportunities to provide young people with options he will continue to thrive. People think he is stretching himself too thin, but I think his versatility keeps him relevant. We will see how the brand continues to thrive in the future.

~Shannan Rivera