31 : Supayana Fashion Shoot
The front door opens. In a flurry of activity, two young models, their mothers, and the designer pour into the studio. Fall jackets and rubber boots are piled on the floor.
While the models get ready for their big debut, I discuss with the designer, Yana, which outfits we’ll be working with for the shoot. Yana finds her inspiration in all things vintage, and from her bag emerges an assortment of prints covered in bananas, cats and polkadots. Her work uses a unique collection of colours and prints.
Working with two models, aged 3, is an interesting change of pace from my typical adult portraiture. One of them approaches the shoot full of energy, while the other is much more timid at the beginning, before opening up to my camera. When you ask a three-year-old to move their right foot, you’ll often have a left one step forward instead. It was a challenge for me to disconnect the forced smiles that kids are trained from such a young age to perform in front of a lens, and instead elicit natural expressions and poses during the shoot. And the best part is, you can’t make a three-year-old do anything they don’t want to do.
Yana is no newbie to the industry and has been designing clothes for 14 years. I had the opportunity to sit down with Yana after the shoot to ask about designing children’s clothing in Montreal.
Q: What inspired you to start designing clothing?
A: I always liked to play around with fabric when I was a little kid. I started by making clothing for my dolls and then eventually began to make clothing for myself.
Q: What’s the main difference between designing children’s clothing and adult clothing?
A: I can have more fun with print and colour when I design kids' clothes. Also, since I sell mainly online, it's easier to get the fit right for kids. With women, everyone is different and it's so hard to guess how something will look. Basically everything looks adorable on a kid!
Q: What’s something about designing children’s clothing that most people wouldn’t think about?
A: That it's insanely hard to design boys' clothes! I have such a hard time with it. That is my goal for 2017!
Q: How do children react to your designs and patterns? Does this reaction differ from how their parents react?
A: I like to think that both kids and adults like my designs and patterns. I think I strive to make it fun and playful without looking too "baby".
Q: What is your favourite current pattern to work with?
A: The banana print has been a bestseller this season! I didn't design that one, but the fabric is great. I like to design my own fabric, but when I see something amazing that already exists, I use that as well!
Q: Which was your favourite photo we shot in studio together? Why does this photo stand out for you?
A: I loved the photos of the kiddos in their matching banana outfits! I think the girls took a little while to get out of their shell, but once they did they were so cute and silly. You did a great job coaching them!
Q: Can you share a challenge of designing clothing in the Montreal market? How are you able to overcome this?
A: I sell mainly online so most of my stuff is getting shipped off to the US and overseas. I sell at a lot of local sales likes Puces Pop though. The locals seem to enjoy it so I don't know if there is a challenge. I think Montrealers are more open minded about weird prints and colours, so it's actually a good thing!
You can connect with Montreal clothing designer Yana Gorbulsky through her online shop Supayana, give her a follow on Instagram, or meet her irl at some upcoming markets: Marché Nënë or the Idle Hands Art, Craft, and Vintage 2016.
This article about Portrait and Product Photography was written by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle.