At Uni, Dasha Selyanova had to come up with a good business project for a contest. Her idea; a t-shirt label. A sleepless night meant the interview involved no samples though, and Dasha didn’t win. But the booby prize was the catalyst to kick start a label… and so begins the story of ZDDZ
The current collection is a zingy array of shirts, blazers and trousers that own a sophisticated sense of graffiti print, in a dominant black and white palette that suggests a twist on something Victorian and decadent.
“I wouldn’t say it was a purpose of putting that print on a suit. I thought it’d be good to make a printed suit to give it a street vibe.”
While these unique suits are a statement of the collection, Dasha doesn’t want to box herself permanently in an androgynous angle, as there’s toughness in delicate and pretty directions too…
“There’s a common preconception about the fact that wearing jeans/trousers is more comfortable for everyday life. Whereas I think wearing a skirt or dress is far more comfortable as you don’t get squeezed into it! The truth is, wearing a good dress gracefully takes balls, and women (including myself) are just lazy nowadays. A dress or skirt can make a woman look much more powerful than a pair of trousers. I’m definitely planning to introduce more dresses in SS13.”
The recent lookbook has something addictively ghetto about it, with bomber jackets and loud shirts leading the chorus of clothes. Oh, and the shoot was taken in a hotel bedroom, obviously…
“90s were the main inspiration for the prints. I was a teenager back then and used to hang out with the cool gang of rappers. The graphic part of the collection is a narrative based on my memories of that time. I used old tablecloth, old Russian wallpapers, and magazines including ‘100 best Hip-Hop songs of 2000′.”
“The point of the shoot was to contradict the clothes and the environment. You’d probably expect this kind of collection to be shot somewhere on the streets. We decided to do the opposite. Initially I was thinking of using three girls, and I wanted them to look a bit weird in this hotel room so that you’d get confused whether they were sisters, lesbians, or just flatmates. But then we met Moussa and he seemed like a great guy to be in the shoot too.”
There’s an undeniable essence of East End style about ZDDZ, where the party monster crowd that control the Shoreditch and Dalston zones could quite happily hijack the collection for nightclub style beats. This is a designer that understands the urban obsession from the kids that take a trend and make it their own.
“The freedom of self-expression that I see in is just amazing and extremely inspiring. The way people mix things is just awesome! But I do enjoy the conservative side of London too. As much as I love wondering around Shoreditch and Dalston, I also enjoy taking a walk down Sloane street and all the small side streets there. It’s a completely different world and I find it interesting to nick bits of both and merge them in my work.”
You know you’ve made it when a Girls Aloud champions you, and who better than Nicola Roberts to rock up in a ZDDZ bomber jacket. Not only are the London cool kids taking note, but so too are the stars with just as much quirky East End essence about them…
“She’s a great example of a young woman pursuing a career. After becoming famous with Girls Aloud, I’m sure it could have been easy to get trapped in that role and not develop her own identity. She’s managed to show the public that she can really stand alone.”
Time to leave Dasha and ZDDZ be for now, she’s got SS13 to finalise, and the chants of demand for it are a rap song in itself!
Words by Charles Matthews