“Post-Soviet Aesthetics Have Already Had Their Time”: Interview with Georgian Star Designer George Keburia

 

George Keburia is a name to remember – if the sole mentioning of him doesn’t already trigger the release of serotonin. Whereas other designers booked success after graduating from institutions like Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, this creative genious from Tbilisi is entirely self-taught, and managed to make it to the top of the Georgian fashion scene. His shows are among the most anticipated during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, and he is co-responsible for the recent obsession with Georgian fashion.

His success is clearly not limited to his home soil, as he has been featured in magazines like Vogue, W Magazine, and i-D, and his brilliantly tailored pieces have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga. This darling of Tbilisi’s fashion scene is not the one to shy away from political messages in his creations, and his spectacularly expanding fan base adores him for that.

We love his work, we love his vision, and we love how he embodies all the elements that we like so much about Tbilisi. We are proud and slightly humbled that George made time to talk to us about ‘post-Soviet cool’, his city’s rising popularity, and the connection between inspiration and location.

 

Hello George, thank you so much for talking to us! Recently, the Western world has started discovering the fashion scene in Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia: Gosha Rubchinskiy, Demna Gvasalia, Anton Belinksiy, and yourself have been featured extensively in many respectable magazines worldwide. With this fascination with the so-labeled ‘New East’, how do you feel about being associated with this ‘post-Soviet’ generation of designers?

First, I should say that I am thrilled to be mentioned alongside such designers. To be honest, sometimes I do not comprehend the extent of my success, because usually I am focused on everyday work and I forget to look at myself from a different perspective. Besides, I do not like talking about my success, but obviously there is a growing attention, and I am very excited about it.

 

During an interview, Gosha Rubchinskiy expressed that he thinks the ‘post-Soviet tag’ is a cliché invented by the media. He believes that it originated in the press not knowing how to put it in a box, and that youth culture is the same worldwide. How do you feel about this ‘post-Soviet’ label?

I consider that the ‘post-Soviet tag’ invented by the media is accurate enough based on our aesthetics, which were used by Gosha, Demna, and Anton. I think that the post-Soviet aesthetics have already had their time, and people are getting tired of it. As a result, I think that the press will change its emphasis, and the designers will change their aesthetics.

 

It seems like many bloggers and magazines are praising Tbilisi as the hottest new fashion destination – almost as if they are surprised that creativity also originates from ‘less obvious places’. Do you think that Tbilisi’s fashion scene is finally getting the attention it deserves, or do you feel that it is a superficial hype which is perhaps patronizing Georgia’s (/Russia’s/Ukraine’s) talent and potential?

Fortunately, Tbilisi is in a similar spotlight as Kiev was several years ago. I consider that this attention is well-deserved, as there is a very unique group of creative and talented individuals in Georgia, and that there are many fresh perspectives that Georgian designers can offer to the fashion industry. By itself, Tbilisi is also a spectacular place to visit with its culture, landscapes, diverse architecture, and club scene: the city has a huge potential and I consider that this is just the beginning…

 

In your opinion, is there an integral connection between geographical location and inspiration?

Yes, but it is difficult to specify the precise impact. I’m not sure, it is either that location usually inspires me, or vice versa, that I try to escape from geographical inspiration.

 

How do you see the development of Tbilisi’s creative scene unfolding in the near future?

Tbilisi’s creative scene will attract more interest, leading to a better integration into global fashion. As a result, Georgian designers will have more and better opportunities to show their collections not only in Georgia, but also worldwide.