The Studio Visit: George Keburia
If the name GEORGE KEBURIA isn’t already in your vocabulary, then commit it to memory now. The Tbilisi-based designer is part of Georgia’s new generation of creatives born and raised in the turbulent 90s known as the “New East,” tearing up the rulebook and breaking traditional norms with designs echoing the past, bringing socio-political issues to the fore and turning the country’s tumultuous history into a positive present. Think daring, innovative, sexy pieces that need to be on your radar and in your wardrobe.
On why he’s a fashion designer…
I have always wanted to be a designer, but sometimes I was also thinking about becoming a tennis player! Since my childhood, I have always been interested in fashion, sketching and looking through my mother’s fashion magazines, but during that time, fashion has not been taken seriously in Georgia. Despite my interests, I started studying business management but later I quit university and decided to pursue my career as a designer.
On what’s so good about fashion…
Fashion is exciting at so many levels. First of all, I love all the creative forces gathering in this field. I also love how it influences our everyday lives and most importantly, I love the idea that fashion gives oneself an ability to transform their thoughts into garments and make statements just using materials and threads.
It’s hard to specify what influences or drives my creativity, because I get influenced by many things – spontaneously and in different contexts. I don’t have a so called “muse” or a person who constantly inspires me, but I have been always fascinated by Kate Bush. I consider Nicolas Ghesquiere a true creative. I have always admired his work, because of his amazing sense of contrast, well balanced use of proportions and perfect tailoring of silhouettes. Creativity is important, because too much commerciality can be boring, non-innovative and uninteresting. Moreover, due to fast fashion and very high competition, designers should be as creative as they can be. On the other hand, they should defend borders with the commercial world. In today’s world designers have to merge creativity with commerciality and business. This is what excites me most, because it’s rather difficult and interesting at the same time.
On how his background influenced who he is today…
Growing up in post-soviet Georgia I was influenced by the existing environment, which was pretty turbulent and gloomy. Reflecting Georgian heritage is sometimes inevitable and important for me. This was also depicted in my works from previous years. My autumn/winter 2016 collection echoes civil war and soviet era. Weapon print was used as a symbol of the difficulties and rough times that the country went through, but on the other hand, rainbow colours were used with the aim to give an overall vibe of optimism and to undermine the above-mentioned darkness.
On his designs…
It’s difficult to point out a specific design philosophy, because I always try to experiment. Underground vibes and post-soviet era aesthetics are still rather dominant in Georgian fashion scene, but currently I try to keep more cheerful and whimsy vibes.
On using his designs as a platform to discuss socio-political issues…
I think it’s important for every designer or artist to use their platform to discuss socio-political issues but I don’t think that it’s imperative and always necessary to consider in your creations. Reflecting social issues or politics in art is sometimes inevitable, since our daily life is so influenced by those things. Fashion, as every other field of art, gives people a voice and an opportunity to express what they care about and what is important for them.
On the term ‘New East’…
Georgian designers strive to introduce something new and different to the fashion industry – the Georgian fashion scene is loaded with talent. There are many designers who can be a breath of fresh air to the industry with their unique, boundary-pushing visions. This fresh and cool generation of designers has an older, conservative generation standing firmly behind their backs. They are in the process of breaking the rules and traditional norms.
First thing you do when you wake up?
Smoke a cigarette.
Last thing you do before bed?
Set an alarm.
Travis Scott – Drugs You Should Try It
Do you have any phobias?
Where can we find you on a Friday night?
In a café or bar holding a glass of beer.
Favourite thing to eat?
What would your last meal be?
What can’t you live without?
How would you describe your generation in five words
Clever, motivated, risky, ambitious, lazy.
Describe yourself in three words...
Ginger, boy, lovely.
How would your friends describe you in three words?
Sophisticated, saccharine, purposeful.
Who do you most admire?
Your favourite place in the world and why?
I love sea, sand and swimming, so any nice place near the seaside.
What would you most like to change about the world?
I would like the world to be hatred free, more loving and peaceful.
The best advice you've ever been given?
Never give up and always aspire to reach goals.
Photographer: Jonathan Middleton
Stylist: Sally Bottomley