WHO’S NEXT THROUGH THE EYES OF AN EASTERN EUROPEAN BUYER
During the last edition of Who’s Next in September, we met with Nataliya Kinzerska, the senior buyer for Apt.13. Apt.13 is a concept store located at the heart of Kiev in Ukraine, the different brands are enhanced by the rare interior design pieces such as an antique chest of drawers from a Portuguese flea market or a carved wooden door from an antique shop in Cape Town. The space can be converted into a catwalk, a party space or a private fashion show for example. With Nataliya Kinzerska, we talk about the latest trends, her work as a buyer, concepts stores and the Eastern European market.
Can you introduce yourself and your work as a buyer at Apt.13?
I have been working in the industry for 20 years now, and I still work with the big names but I think the main focus now is the planet! All retailers creating ready-to-wear have to face the truth: people aren’t interested in “ownership” anymore. Even in Ukraine we are being hit by this wave of sustainability and conscientiousness, consumerism has fallen, it’s changed! In the past, the Eastern European market trends happened every 3 years, but now the whole world has a mobile phone. I have to say I was surprised that the Ukrainian population welcomed this new sustainability.
About Apt.13: we mix both mid and top range brands like Mesdemoiselles – which is one of our most popular brands – and we have some Korean and Japanese brands as well.
What inspires you?
I used to get inspiration from the big brands, I remember Margiela and Jil Sander’s tops and bottoms etc…All the big designers from the last 15 years I guess! Clothes and design don’t inspire me anymore because everyone has everything now…but when I see something innovative and different, it hits me. For example the brand Aime moi Paris which designs only one pair of trainers a year: a unique, unisex and limited edition product that you can customise. The brand is set to stop working in 2025, so they have just another 5 years to make their mark, that’s a story you can sell, it’s a real impact. I think we are reaching the end of the era of ownership and mono-products; the most important thing is the idea and its purpose (asking “what is it for?”).
What is your favorite shop/concept store?
I would say Colette and Corso Como 10: we used to love them, but we don’t have Colette anymore and Corso Como became very predictable…
The purpose of a concept store is to introduce something new or different on a saturated market. It is about showcasing crazy things, it has be to be inspiring and create a community, it isn’t just about buying and selling.
Tell us about your experience at Who’s Next.
I’ve been coming for 7 years now. The selection is really great and the decor changes all the time. I come to discover new brands and products that you cannot find anywhere else, it’s the place to be if you want to find something new. I am always looking for a new “buying experience” and so this year, I was really amazed by the unique and innovative packaging in the beauty sector, as well as with the dietary supplement brand Day+.
What advice would you give to people who want to launch into the world of design with their brand and want to take part in Who’s Next to gain visibility?
Invest in ideas, in fashion! But beware, it’s not easy. Of course, you need to find where you belong and so you need to do some investigating, bond with brands and key players in the industry. Regarding communication, unfortunately you have to be everywhere now because of social media, you have to catch people’s attention. Who’s Next is a good starting-point for young brands.
Who’s Next in 3 words?
Good merchandising and aesthetics
A main theme each year, which is becoming more and more important
An anecdote, a memory, an encounter at Who’s Next?
There were a lot of big personalities, but not in a bad way, they were interesting people. I remember last year it was all about the African theme and already about sustainability and crafts. Who’s Next pushes people to be creative and to broaden their horizons.
What were your 5 favorite pieces and what are the SS20 trends you spotted at Who’s Next?
AIME MOI PARIS, with their unisex trainers
MIKBUTTONCOVER, it’s like jewellery for clothes
MESDEMOISELLES, I love how they have grown over the past years, it is easy to wear and “mix and match”.
What do you see for the future of fashion?
It is all coming to an end. It may sound strange but, I think big names will stop existing and leave sooner than we imagine. I also hope that the social media will stop having such a big impact on young people and allow them to get a real life. Portraying perfect but unreal images is a perverted way of thinking, imperfection is real beauty. I expect that sustainability will last.