Knitwear Designer Ksenia Seraya Is A Russian Label To Watch

She made her debut this season in Moscow at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.
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A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

I'm now more than halfway through Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, but the very first show I saw, fresh off the plane, remains a standout. Designer Ksenia Seraya made her runway debut on Friday at the biannual event after being invited by its organizers. "They called me and said, 'Okay, you are [talented], come and [put on] the show for free," she said backstage. And what a debut it was: in a city where craftsmanship on the runway is not always on par with the designer work in the more established fashion capitals, Seraya delivered a knitwear collection that was impressive both in construction and style. 

Seraya has been designing clothing for a decade, having earned degrees from the Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing in Florence and interned in the knitting department at Ermanno Scervino. "They invited me for a job but I [couldn't] move to Italy because of visa," she said. She returned to Moscow and launched her namesake label in 2013, experimenting with knitting software that she likens to a 3-D printer. It allows her to merge synthetic, chiffon-like material with traditional yarns like wool and cotton. The result is delicate knit pieces that hold the structure of a silhouette while still creating movement. Seraya says she relishes in the challenge of breaking new technical ground with her knits, a process she does alone. 

A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

In regards to the spring 2016 collection she showed Friday, Seraya name-checked artists of two different mediums as inspiration: American sculptor Alexander Calder, whose movement-filled static pieces she tries to emulate through knitwear; and the late avant-garde German dancer Pina Bausch, who collaborated in 1998 with designer Yohji Yamamoto on a collection featuring a red dress that made an impact on Seraya. She made a red dress for her collection in Bausch's spirit. 

A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

A look from Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

While the brand is currently sold in only three shops in Moscow, Seraya is not worrying about market expansion quite yet. "Step by step, I think," she said. "It's more important to make good stuff and if I make enough, people will want to buy it." Knitwear is Seraya's life passion, she said, and infusing her designs with a "piece of her soul" is her highest aim. With a platform like MBFWR, hopefully buyers will take note. 

See Ksenia Seraya's spring 2016 collection in the gallery below. 

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