Ivan Frolov, the fashion designer behind the Frolov brand, has been gradually making his mark on the Ukranian fashion landscape. His upcoming Summer 2018 collection, presented at the White Show is on par with the best international contemporary fashion designers. He is gaining wide interest internationally, with Russia, France, Asia and even the USA taking notice, the lattermost where his creations are available in Opening Ceremony, a renowned store. Deep research of tailoring techniques and being thought provoking are Frolov’s main traits. With his collections, he explores the meanings and boundaries of sexuality and gender relations without forgetting about easiness and fun. He developed this lattermost trait even further in his next SS18 collection, where he reflects on the phenomenon of divas, giving it a fresh and ironic connotation, one which many find to be personified in millennials. We caught up with Ivan to hear the story of how he was driven to succeed and were surprised by how he acted like just a normal and humble young man.
Иван Фролов @ivfrolov улетел с новой летней коллекцией в Милан на выставку White, поэтому интеллигентно провоцировала гостей Odessa Holiday Fashion Week команда бренда. Презентация скорее напоминала перформанс, словно всех пригласили «подсмотреть» за одной из девушек Frolov @frolovheart в ее личном номере с выходом к морю. В шкафу — вещи из религиозной коллекции оcень-зима 2017/18, повсюду белые гладиолусы, в воздухе запах ладана, а в это время в душе — полуобнаженная мокрая модель и надпись с названием бренда на запотевшем зеркале. #bestinua
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and about how you became a part of the fashion world? I was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine where I studied engineering, design technology and construction at Kiev National University of Technology and design, graduating in 2014. To this day, I still return there to give lectures to the upcoming generation of students. Before that, when I was 16, I first worked as a stylist, but after gaining experience, I decided to start my own label, FROLOV in 2011. At first, I used to do capsule collections, specifically school collections and take part in some contests with these, until in 2014 I won Best Fashion Awards nomination “Breakthrough of the Year” and that’s how my journey really started.
What are the distinctive elements of your brand? With my brand, I want to exalt women’s sexuality, but not in a loud and provocative way. Instead, I want to do it in a more humorous way. I believe there to be a combination of underground and feminine elements in my clothes that allow women to feel comfortable yet still feel sexual at the same time. This mixture of styles is visible in the collection with the mixture of fabrics such as denim and lace as well as the choice to lay a bra or corset (very sexy items) over some easy-going garments. When women wear my clothes they feel full of sexual energy and thus, ultimately, full of life.
Does your cultural background influence your aesthetic? The thing that has the most influence on me is really the people who surround me. My friends and my family have far more of an influence on me than my cultural background. My studies also had a huge influence on me. I had an education in engineering and construction, which made me develop logic and maths skills responsible for shaping my mind and my techniques.
How does your creative process work and where do you draw your inspiration from? It’s very spontaneous. Two days before a show or finishing a collection, I come up with something for the next one. It’s like, during those days, if I feel empty, I’m more open to inspiration, which usually comes from very small things. Sometimes this inspiration might come from the previous collection, something I want to develop more. Usually, however, it is totally different little things that catch my attention. Once I’ve found these little things that inspire me, I put a lot of energy into them to develop a whole collection.
How do you merge complex tailoring with a provocative aesthetic? Creating a provocative aesthetic, much like some of the tailoring techniques I use, are just instruments leading to something new. My clothing isn’t there to shout “I’m sexy” but it sets the right tone with subtlety. In addition, the clothes aren’t provocative, they’re easy. It’s why it’s called “intelligent provocation”, you need to use both your brain and your heart to understand my brand.
Photo credit: Yaroslav Bugaev