Katya Lozanova is the designer behind the young, fresh and creative brand Gizda. I met her on a rainy morning at her studio apartment / atelier, which she renovated and furnished all by herself. The moment I walked in and she offered me warm milk with honey, standing next to her ah-dorable pink toaster, I knew she was one of those warm and kind people that make you feel cozy and welcome. The conversation kept going back and forward so easily I can hardly call it an interview as it felt as if I was catching up with a friend.
Katya always knew she was going to be a designer; in fact she always was one sewing clothes for her dolls and later on alternating her own clothes by hand. “By hand? I’d never have the patience for that,” I say. “I know it was crazy, but I just couldn't help it when inspiration struck. Later, when I began studying in a professional school of clothing my grandmother bought me my first sewing machine.” Katya’s grandmother was a designer as well, following the lead of her great-grandmother who was a furrier. One can safely say fashion is in her blood and her creative designs prove it.
However, she’s humble about her talent. “There are things you’re just better at. For me it is making clothes. Until recently I thought designing, cutting and sewing up a piece of clothing was a skill every woman had. I didn't think it was all that special because it is so easy for me.” She sips on her warm milk with honey and continues, “Some people believe it requires a lot of patience. I am not a patient person, but creating clothes doesn't require any patience for me. It just happens.”
Katya is inspired and energized by people but never thinks of anyone in particular when she’s working on a new design. “I never try to concretely imagine how the woman wearing my clothes would look like but of course I always have a vague idea on my mind. However, more often than not I've been surprised by the people I see dressed in a piece I've made. I've met all kinds of women, from and elegant office-type lady to a girl with dreadlocks chilling in the park. It is always very exciting for me! I find I work most freely when I’m designing as if the piece is for me. I imagine how I’d style it and I know that even if it doesn't sell I’d gladly where it. That’s when the clothes look best in my opinion because they seem complete in a way.”
When she moved to Sofia, Katya was accepted to study Fashion in New Bulgarian University. After only a year she realized that she could already sew very well and met her favorite teacher who inspired her to transfer into the scenograrhy program where she studied History of Art, painting, graphics… the list goes on. “I believe this really enriched me and widened my perspective.” Now I think of doing my Masters in Fashion mainly because of the contacts. I always have the most amazing teachers that inspire and motivate more than anyone.”
The young designer says that the biggest struggle for her is to actually think a season or even a year in advance. “For the first time this year I actually started thinking about autumn pieces while it was still summer. Normally it doesn't even strike me in the last minute, but when it has just passed,” Katya says with laughing. “This is just how my brain works. I cannot really explain it. When I know I have plenty of time I just mess around and can’t think of anything until I find myself in a real time crunch. That is when everything is born with no effort at all; it just comes to life as if my brain has been working independently the whole time.”
Although she has decided to focus on fashion Katya says she wouldn't give up scenograrhy for the theater and cinema either after being part of those worlds several times already. “Fashion is very much your own process, it’s very calm and relaxed but I often miss the dynamic of the scenograrhy work. Working on a movie set can be quite stressing because you have to find many things you've imagined made by someone else which is already hard enough. Add the time crunch and you've found yourself a real adventure. The challenges of the theater are different. The stagehands are a guild of peculiar people that hardly ever allow someone new in, especially of that someone is a young graduate. You have to have a very good approach to convince them to collaborate and do what you want them to do. I find communicating with them is probably the most interesting part of the job. Honestly, I would be incredibly happy if all three could be happening in parallel all in the same time.”
“To be good at your job you have to love it,” Katya says. I have rarely met someone as driven, motivated and positive like her. After a promise to meet again for tea and cheesecake I left feeling sunnier although the clouds were still hanging over the city, my city where sometimes great things happen thanks to inspiring people like Katya Lozanova.
Discover more at Gizda's Facebook page and let me know what's your favorite piece!