This interview can be found on the John Tran Casting blog.

Designer: Austin Sherbanenko
Homebase: Los Angeles, California
Number of Collections: Developing the 3rd
Studio's entrance and showroom images courtesy of Odyn Vovk

AGENT: Oscar Garncia
IMAGES: Karl Simone-www.karlsimone.com
GROOMING: Yinna Wang-www.yinnawang.com

Odyn Vovk F/W 2009-www.odynvovk.com

Designer: Austin Sherbanenko
Homebase: Los Angeles, California
Number of Collections: Developing the 3rd
Studio's entrance and showroom images courtesy of Odyn Vovk

Odyn Vovk's Design Studio/Showroom's Entrance, Los Angeles, CA

1. ODYN VOVK—How did you came up with the name?

Odyn Vovk means “One Wolf” in Ukrainian. I am the ONE WOLF. I'm the last Sherbanenko boy to carry on the name. I also wanted to dedicate this project to my grandparents, who worked in labor camps during WWII / Nazi Germany in Germany. In the early 1940's the Nazis invaded Ukraine and took my grandparents along with some relatives to work like slaves in Germany. They went through a lot, and the horror stories I've heard are incredibly inspiring to me. The courage they had was amazing. My grandfather reminded me of a Wolf, hunting and searching to maintain their existence, like Wolves. He and his family did whatever it took to stay alive, and eventually made their way to the US.

2./ Motivation—What led you to start your own collection? Inspiration—Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve been fascinated by clothes ever since my early childhood—everything from altering them to coloring my hair. My appearance just seemed to be the most natural creative outlet for me. And, I’ve always had a somewhat different perspective on fashion than most of my peers. But, as far as starting my own collection, I went to design school for a while, but that didn’t quite work out so well. I wanted to do my own thing; I had a tee shirt line in high school, screen printed graphics, etc… Then, I had a major shift in my perspective on fashion, and quickly started to expand my designs into actual garments. I learned the basic ropes on my own by the simple method of trial and error; and I knew that I didn’t need school to figure everything out. But, I think the real motivation came when I completed my first piece, and just seeing my own creation come alive from start to finish – understanding the process and going through it step by step. The feeling I got was unexplainable, and from that moment I knew this is what I wanted to do. And I truly believe in myself. I think that is the main thing. Once you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to.

3./ Since this is a casting/styling blog—could you describe the ideal guy for your clothing?

Anyone who will look good and feel comfortable, and appreciate the design and quality construction of each garment. Or tall, long haired, anorexic boy who loves BLACK METAL!!! haha

4./ Could you describe to our readers, how your collection is created—from idea to execution?

I develop each piece mostly out of pure spontaneity. Truly, I’m inspired by anything that sparks my curiosity. Right now, many of my inspirations come from old photos, my travels, leather, fabrics, European folk music, classical music, English Punk, and Norwegian Black Metal. I transmit all of these influences through my work. The last piece I did started with a photo of an Indian ritual entitled, “Chest Piercing Sun Dance Ritual,” which was taken in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. I used every element from that photo: colors, textures, and clothing design. I then translated those elements into my own point of view through a sketch and some quick notes of what I saw. I searched for the fabrics and, thankfully, became inspired by the fabrics I found. Once I acquired the fabrics, I sewed and draped the pieces together and worked off of my dress form. After that, I took what I’d made, along with a specked out sketch, to my pattern maker, where we then sat down and went over everything from start to finish. But from there…it’s a complete mystery! Sometimes the piece ends up entirely different than the original vision. But I love that lost connection that sometimes happens in fashion.

5./ Are there advantages of being based in the west coast vs. the east coast as a label?

Weather!!! I actually love the cold. haha. At least, in my opinion, I think the West coast has more positives than negatives. Los Angeles is perfect for me. I feel like I’m just more naturally inspired from the LA landscape. But, the cultural landscape of LA, as rich and diverse as it is, also happens to posses quite a dark side, which, due to my darker interests, happens to be the perspective of LA I’m so inspired by. This idea ties into my strong belief in the psychology of art, to be more specific, the subconscious and unconscious process of creativity. For example, by surrounding myself with darker interests, Music, art, etc., I’ve developed a somewhat unconsciously dark workflow. This darkness I’ve chosen to encapsulate myself in has, in turn, allowed me to produce a darker product. Also, not to be flippant or anything, but, being that I live and work in the Skid Row sector of Downtown LA, I continually find myself inspired by the homeless population—and, for many reasons. Mainly, the homeless in LA have cultivated a look that serves both form and function: they throw on every piece of clothing they own, and, more often than not, it actually looks good—un-intentionally, of course. Being surrounded by that demographic happens to be extremely motivating to me. Some people may find it depressing and dispiriting, but it only makes me want to succeed even more. It's not NY, it's not Paris. It's Downtown LA, and it’s a different world over here. I call it the “Golden Hell Hole”.

6./ Dark imagery and music seems to be a recurrent theme in fashion, could you tell me what separates you from the other brands that has a similar vibe?

Yes, this is very true: music plays a huge role in the fashion world; it sets a mood and a tone. But, for me, Black Metal and the Industrial sound is where I get most of my inspiration. It’s what feeds me. I grew up listening to Punk and Metal, so that’s where I get my momentum. However, I don’t design “punk rock” clothing…I live it! ha. Goth is something else. Some people like to label me as “Goth,” but that’s because they assume that since I do a lot of dark pieces that I must be Goth. But, my dark inspiration and colors don’t fit into just one category- it’s apparent in so many other styles, forms, shapes, and lines. I don’t want/need to be pigeon holed.

7./ If I have a limited budget to purchase one item, which item in Odyn Vovk's collection from F/W 09 is a crucial "must have" and why is it mandatory?

Haha. Don’t sacrifice one piece. Starve for six weeks to afford a leather piece! I would recommend the reversed terry hoodie coming for fall, perfect fit, comfy, and the hood is gigantic. Perfect for sleeping on planes, or a bench in Central Park, or under a car in the Golden Hell Hole, just pull it over your face.

8./ Economy—that seems to be on everyone's mind these days, how does an indie designer like yourself stay afloat during this rough economic climate? Is it still possible to be a creative designer without limitations or do you have to rethink what sells vs. what doesn't?

It’s definitely affecting me in some ways. I’m not reacting like most are, so its not affecting me as much. Though, the US has been affecting me the most. Stores closing, canceling orders, not buying too deep into the collection, etc… People are being very cautious and a bit more conservative over here. But, It definitely doesn’t change the way I design and express my creativity. I do think more about materials now and how to bring costs down to make it more accessible, but that’s about it. I also jumped into the game at the worst economic time, and it has been only going up for me. So things haven’t been as bad for me as it has been for a lot of others. I’ve been going full force and haven’t looked back, I keep looking forward and everything happens the way it’s going to happen and I don’t think you can change that.

9./ How would describe your feelings/process about doing your first runway show? Did it meet your expectations? What are your plans for future shows to come...

YES! The first show was everything I expected, and exactly the way I wanted it to be. Fortunately with the help of John Tan and Ryan Turner things really happened. Without them I couldn’t have done it. All of the models were great, Rie and her make-up team did an amazing job, Billy Keith and his Hair team were awesome. Everybody was really into helping me out and there wasn’t any bullshit going around; except for the model scuffle during rehearsal, haha. Future plans for the next show will be a surprise this coming September!

10./ Any hints about what the next collection would be like?

Its still going to be along the lines of the previous collections. Just new fresh designs, fabrics, and fabrications. More Odyn Vovk.

11. Bonus question: What's your moto in life?