When fashion designer Daisy Viktoria isn't working on her clothing line, she's in a laboratory with other chemical engineers. She tells RAW about the wide range of influences in her life, from mythical creatures to mathematics. See her clothing line live at the next LA RAW showcase on Saturday, February 13th!
When and how did you first get involved with fashion?
My mother taught me to sew when I was about seven years old. I always loved making things in general, and I constructed numerous outfits for my dolls, as well as various other kid projects. Around adolescence, I began to have trouble finding clothes that fit me. So, I started making my own clothing, and it was immediately evident that I loved wearing interesting and weird things. This was only the beginning, and my love for fantasy and mythical creatures led to the creation of so many fun costumes. I grew up in a family of historical re-enactors. I studied historical fashion because I loved the fancy dresses and corsets and seeing the evolution of fashion through the ages.
During college, I started to expand my sewing work, making a lot of fantasy and historical costumes and fancy dresses. Eventually, I reached a point where they all started to come together, and I've developed an aesthetic for elaborate, detailed designs inspired heavily by my love for fantasy and historical fashion.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by nature and mythology. I love faeries, mermaids, unicorns and all sorts of mythical creatures; years of staring at faerie art and medieval paintings has definitely influenced my entire aesthetic. I enjoy spending time outdoors in nature. I love pretty much anything that looks interesting, and I find inspiration in the most random places.
Do you engage in, or draw inspiration from, any other forms of art?
In my younger years, I wrote a lot of poetry, and my poetic themes were always focused around nature, mythology and legend. I also love music, and I have spent years listening to goth and darkwave bands; this genre of music has inevitably influenced the way I design. As a child, I was very artistic. I drew, painted, wrote stories and played piano and clarinet. Although I had to give up most of those hobbies when I started college, they have all shaped the way I look at the world and the way I design.
What does a typical design day look like for you?
My design process is not nearly as daily as I wish it were. Somewhere along the way, I made a bad decision to major in chemical engineering because I just love math. I am currently working as a graduate student at UCLA, and the hours required of me are not conducive to having hobbies at all, let alone pursuing a different interest. I bring my sketchbook with me to the lab and draw whenever ideas pop up. I make very rushed trips to the fashion district in downtown LA and multi-task everything else. I wash fabric while thinking about data, I think about designs while running experiments. Thanks to my years of practice, I can sew fast enough to finish things. If I didn't have the ability to sew like the wind, I would probably never get anything done!
What sort of techniques do you most like working with?
I enjoy using my excellent construction techniques in very finished and structured garments. Corsets are currently a big focus for me, and there is quite an exactness required to get them just right. Even my flowing gowns and billowy skirts are actually quite structured from the inside out, and I often use math to calculate angles and arc lengths and such when pattern drafting. I also love details, and I have hand-stitched beads and details onto many garments in the past. The most prevalent, though, is the employment of historical techniques. Almost everything I make has some origin or equivalent in historical fashion, and I build upon the techniques I've learned over the years through those studies.
Engineering? Science? How have your involvements in the chemical engineering world influenced you as an artist?
I am only just now starting to network more with other artists in my genre. For years, I have worked with chemical engineers and other scientists. This world revolves around lab work and intense theoretical concepts, and its people are quite oblivious to fashion and art as well as most other things in the world. My precise attention to detail and perfection has been tuned a bit while working in this community, but the rest of my growth has been entirely on my own. I came in with a magical wonder for the world and all of its energies and interactions. I always tried to understand how people and nature influence each other and where everything comes from. The engineering world tried to change me, and I complied only enough to get as far as I have. Engineers, as a whole, really do not understand an artist's perspective, especially those in the university setting. I love meeting new people, and I have had so much difficulty growing when so many of the people around me will not talk or discuss anything that requires complex non-scientific thought. All of my ideas about the world are constantly shot down when I try to discuss anything with the hardcore engineers. It gets pretty lonely when no one around me shares any of my interests. I love to learn on a more philosophical level, and it was only when I began to rebel against the harsh requirements and rigid ideals of the engineering community that I, once again, began to grow.
See her clothing line live at the next LA RAW showcase on Saturday, February 13th!