The Heart of Fashion with Designer Ivan Frolov


Emily Lane, Bret Schnitker, Ivan Frolov


October 4, 2022


Emily Lane 00:09

Welcome to Clothing Coulture, a fashion industry podcast at the intersection of technology and innovation. I'm Emily lane.


Bret Schnitker 00:17

I'm Bret Schnitker. We speak with experts and disruptors who are moving the industry forward


Emily Lane 00:21

and discuss solutions to real industry challenges.


Bret Schnitker 00:24

Clothing Coulture is brought to you by Stars Design Group, a global design and production house with more than 30 years of experience.


Emily Lane 00:35

Welcome back to another episode of Clothing Coulture. Once again, we're in the marvelous city of New York during New York Fashion Week, and we have had the opportunity to meet some amazing designers from Ukraine. And we are sitting here today with one of our very favorite designers we've ever talked to Ivan Frolov love. Welcome, our say for love, right?


Ivan Frolov 01:00

Oh, I like what do you say like? Hello, I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for having me today.


Emily Lane 01:09

Absolutely. We had a chance to view your collection. We've been following your career. And I liked the fact that you're a provocateur really, you make some powerful statements with your fashion and culture. It is hot, indeed, daring, but still with exquisite taste. And that was what key leaders in the industry that are trend forecasters and those who have made careers looked at what you are creating and you know, they see the beauty, the sex and the joy in what you're creating. I'd like to know a little bit about how maybe your vision has transformed since all of the conflict came into being or has it?


Ivan Frolov 01:50

Yeah, it's a difficult question. But yes, as you see our consumption I named our consumption led intelligent provocations. So we always tried to find the balance between sexuality and something classic. Something very gorgeous. So with a lot of crafted things like handmade embroidery, and it's always about Yes, exploring the sexuality, finding new meanings, finding new ways to express your sexuality to look for your body to find you cards, new, different forms that can show your sexuality in the right way. Just not make it vulgar. Make it very, really sexy and eye catching, you know?


Emily Lane 02:37

Yeah, some of your designs, I feel very reminiscent of Gauthier, some of the corsetry that you fold into your designs. What I like about it is it doesn't feel like it has the same kind of constriction that you would experience in traditional corsetry.


Ivan Frolov 02:52

Yes, it's our own technology that we invent. Like few years ago, we made this corset. And it's very important that you still can breathe, eat and dance. Have fun in this dresses and corsets. But also you'll see your beautiful reflection in the mirror with a very, like tiny waist. And it's also like a magic for our customers.   they see it on the rail or on the track. They just see. They don't understand how it will fit it with them. And then when they were wear it, they understood that it's like magic, so they still feel very comfortable. But they see another reflection so it's helps them to develop this sexuality in themselves. Even for people who never tried corsets before, it's really interesting that they started wearing them with our brand. And for me it's always my like small winnings.


Emily Lane 04:05

Yes. There's a little bit of humor in some of what you design as well.


Ivan Frolov 04:10

Yes, you know that we're not the couture brand, but we named our way of couture like hot couture. It's like irony that it sounds similar even in my childhood  I heard and watching Gauthier and watching Dior couture shows and it sounds like hot couture and I never understood why it's haute. Especially it's so like good hear freezin bride brides like show it's was like not hot. Yes, but when uh but now I understood that haute it means sexy, sexy couture. So we decided to main to named like this is our couture line like couture? Now that couture that version couture? Yes. But we also use a lot of couture techniques, a lot of handmade embroidery for this line.


Bret Schnitker 04:11

Is it all being done in Kyiv?


Ivan Frolov 05:00

Yes, yes.


Bret Schnitker 05:07

The needle work is fantastic. We were walking the show. And we had a number of individuals that really, really know this industry, they were bragging on the exceptional needle.


Ivan Frolov 05:26

Oh, yes, and yes, but now for me, the most important thing, not to change the identity of brand, the DNA of brand, because, of course, my conception of my brand, all that we did before 20, fours. Not use the situation that we have now in Ukraine. That's but we didn't start like change something. And doing like hoodie or sport fit or something like that. Of course, we open like several charity projects, to support our children to support people who, whose home is ruined. And but it's like a separate project. It's named Frolov Heart Project, it's like separate from the brand. Because for me, it's very important to show that even in this situation, we still continue doing what we do, while the best in the best way.


Bret Schnitker 06:31

And how do you do that with this constant daily siege, this fear that the Russians are going to pull something? You know, right now Kyiv is relatively quiet, right?


Ivan Frolov 06:40

Yes, yes. So we come back to our production, we're so lucky.


Bret Schnitker 06:45

So you're back to producing everything?


Ivan Frolov 06:47

Yes, we we have wonderful production in  Kyiv, and it's safe. So we are so lucky. And I think even those, it's enough to ask for where we find inspiration, we are safe, who is still alive?


Bret Schnitker 07:03

I find artist is this balance between kind of joy and pain anyway, every artists lives in this space between the two. And it influences what they do on a daily basis, you know, they the outlook and the challenge, you know, you as a creative. You know, many times people think you've got to have this perfectly great environment to be creative. And and I think I think that's not necessarily true. Clearly, in your case, you're doing some astounding things, and sometimes difficult, uneasy place


Ivan Frolov 07:35

The most difficult. It's to do it, like doing something with a happy mood, when you have alarms or alarms everyday, like twice or even twice and denied twice during the day. And, of course, but at the same time, understood that we're lucky. Our army doing such a brilliant job for for us to save us, not only Ukrainians. I think now, Ukrainian Armed Forces protect the whole world from the biggest terrorists in the history.


Bret Schnitker 08:12

We're talking to Mickey earlier and nobody likes a bully. And you guys have shown that people can stand up to a bully effectively, because,


Ivan Frolov 08:20

Yes, if we didn't stop it on our territory, we didn't know what will be the next because they already told by their propaganda, that right how many seconds they need to send rocket to the center of London to the center of Paris to the center of New York. And of course, we understood that it's totally a terrorist state, for now and our army, just protect the whole world to continue to, but we also have a message from our soldiers that they do it not for us, just stop and say and wait and cry. They said for us messages to continue to work, because they do it for us to help us support our businesses support our country, because there's only one one way to support economy. It's rebuild our businesses, save people, save their salaries, save for working places, for people even make more places to work for people who lost their job.


Bret Schnitker 09:31

So howlong have you had your brand officially


Ivan Frolov 09:35

Since 2015? I have my own company. I mean, it's a year when we started export was 2015.  . Okay. Yes,


Bret Schnitker 09:48

Where is your biggest market today? Outside of Ukraine?


Ivan Frolov 09:51

I think Middle East Middle East? Yes. Qatar. Kuwait,


Bret Schnitker 09:55

And you've had a pretty good visit so far. Are you in the US you were in California? Before here, correct?


Ivan Frolov 10:01

Yes, yes, I've been like five days ago in California in Los Angeles, had a PR company who supports us and doing like, working with stylists and doing celebrity fittings for us. And for 20 fours, we also worked with other companies in LA, but we must cancel our agreements, because we can't pay, because we need money to help our employees. So we just find any ways how we can save money to give it to our employees. And that's why I need this like working trip to LA to visit because we live there a lot of samples of different collections that we send it before. And that was very interesting. I just asked my friend to pick up them when the war started. And when I came to her home, we just open everything. And there was like 200 samples of different years, different seasons. And it was like a trip for me to explore our brand again. Yeah. And yeah, yes. I felt like, Oh, we did so much things before. And it was like a very difficult decision that what we need to leave what still can work for us. Because before we were we were like more or less season brand. So we not concentrated on seasons, because all our pieces are most of them are like statement pieces of the brand. And they works good not only for one year, and we also send it to our clients, when you invest like 500 bucks to our corset. It doesn't mean it just for one season, it can works for you even more, even for the whole life. And I worry like this story, especially with our clients who order like customized looks when mother bring her dress to her daughter.


Emily Lane 12:13

Yeah, yes, a heritage piece.


Ivan Frolov 12:16

Yeah, and for me, clothes never been like such a thing that you can just to put to the trash when the season is end. For me,


Bret Schnitker 12:28

I actually love sharing that.


Ivan Frolov 12:29

I feel that it's very important. For me, as a designer, when I put all my thoughts, all my ideas to this clothes, when people work hard to create it, when designers make patterns when we receive them. And we do embroidery, it's whole, like, what very big life and that's why we have a logo of our brand. It's a human heart, and we put small human hearts on each of our item. And it means that we want to say that these clothes are like a human, they are alive. And I will sell to our customers that you should try these clothes and feel is your heart is the same as the heartbeat of the clothes. And if you feel that it suits us


Emily Lane 13:31

heart. Yes. I mean, you clearly put a lot of heart into your work not only into the garments themselves, but understanding what you're developing. It's for a bigger picture. It's to give people jobs and feed families and support your country as a whole. I'm curious with your work. Are there any kind of cultural legacies that are a part of characters of your design is that the embroidery or certain things that you would find in Ukraine that you weave into your designs?


Ivan Frolov 14:05

I think handmade embroidery is like part of the DNA of each Ukrainian family. Since very old times because we have like different traditional techniques of embroidery in each region of our country and by the embroidery on your clothes. You can understood like from which part of the country is this person? Yes, yes, maybe I think you know, like famous Ukrainian wish Ivanka. Yes. Is like a DNA of each region. You for each family even so, this is like our cultural DNA and this craft is like our very important for me. That's why you know We have this charity project these shirts and sweatshirts with handmade embroidery, human heart, like our logo, but in different designs with beads with threads, and of course, all profit from this project we give to charity organizations that supports children or rebuilding homes of people who lose them.


Bret Schnitker 15:25

How does one buy that


Ivan Frolov 15:28

You  are welcome to our separate website, Yes, yes. Right. Because is our official website of our brand, and we put it in separate website and you can ship anywhere. Yes, we can ship anywhere, even without air connection directly from Kyiv. We can ship it everywhere. Yes.


Emily Lane 15:51

So make sure to have that information.


Ivan Frolov 15:53

Yeah. Yeah, for Thank you. Yes, so these sweatshirts, like, it's handmade. So the one way we support like, charity organizations, and then there is another side of this project, because it gives us the opportunity to give more people work like jobs, especially those who have these unique skills, yes, how to save how to, and people use different Ukrainian traditional techniques to make these hearts. So they are free in design, because in our site, you can or choose to design or just say good with the design that artists can, can give to me can create for me. So they create different designs that I need to create in yellow and blue, a human heart like the same. And that's why each of them is unique. And we have like a number of each of them.


Emily Lane 16:54

Oh my goodness,


Ivan Frolov 16:56

They're numbered so you can check your number and see to on our website with a picture of your design. Oh, wow. Yes. So each of them is unique. And then you can leave the message from for people on our website, just for children, for people from your


Emily Lane 17:14

awesome, really. We'll make sure that we'll grab a photo of us with you. We will remember this moment, but you'll be able to see the beautiful embroidery on our socials at Clothing Coulture. It's extraordinary. You see the colors of the Ukraine flag. It's a human heart. It is beautiful. Everything all of your work is great. So


Ivan Frolov 17:36

I think nowadays, Ukraine is in heart of everyone. Yes. thing that he is like a normal person.


Bret Schnitker 17:46

Everyone's been bullied in life and a you're a real life fighter of bullies. I mean, the country is just so it's shocking the galvanisation of the world. I don't think Russia really anticipated the rest of the world to feel like it does. You know, our hearts are with you. And and we're thrilled to hang out and get to know you guys better.


Emily Lane 18:06

Yeah. So thank you so much, Ivan, for joining us today, we are going to be eager to see what results is a time of you being here in New York. But I feel like you're just at the beginning of a glorious career.


Ivan Frolov 18:21

Oh, thank you so much for this invitation and for this wonderful conversation. And thank you so much, that you still continue to support Ukraine, because it's very important right now. Because everybody should know that. War is not over.


Emily Lane 18:37

Yes. Yeah. And it's not just Ukrainian


Ivan Frolov 18:39

or no, we're in. We're sitting here and talking with you, our soldiers fighting on the front line. So please support Ukraine,


Emily Lane 18:47

of course and thank you for being here to share the story. Thank you. Well, and thank you for joining us today we are going to make sure that you have access to all the information you need to follow Ivan Frolov's career, his no profit to help those in Ukraine, and lots of great photos to share from our experience together. Don't forget to subscribe stay apprised of upcoming episodes of Clothing Coulture

Watch the episode:

Click below to watch the entire episode.

The Heart of Fashion with Designer Ivan Frolov