Ukrainian-born Olya Kuryshchuk is devoted to supporting new generations of creative talents. In 2011, while studying at Central Saint Martins, she was among a gathering of schoolmates who founded 1 Granary, a blog created to bring visibility to themselves and other friends as they confronted the fashion system. One year later, she turned this fledging digital output into a magazine that has since become a multi-faceted platform to encourage and uphold young brands and designers. She continues to act like an antenna within the industry, detecting those with potential and standing up for their rights.
In what ways is exploration a natural part of the design process?
Exploration is a process. Once you realise this, you can cherish every part of your journey as a valuable research resource – from the first idea, to testing, failing, and making. Exploration is not just an aesthetic in design. It is about constantly adapting your methodology and materials, looking for new modes of production, sales, presentation, and team structure in order to innovate and create something truly authentic. What is so great about exploration in design is that it is never ending; there is constant movement.
What are some of the themes and ideas that you would like to see designers exploring through the next few seasons?
I would like to see more designers create a dialogue with the socio-political conflicts of our time. A few creatives have managed to do it in a relevant way (I’m thinking of Demna, for example) and I hope more designers will dare to open that conversation.
How do you, personally, explore what’s new and exciting in fashion?
For me, the only way to understand what’s new and the upcoming is through constant interaction with designers, factories, consumers, and showrooms. I try to avoid relying only on media for information. I’d rather witness what is happening and ask direct questions to understand where business is heading and what the actual issues are in the industry.
How have the past few years shaped your exploration through social media and the virtual world?
I aim to consume less content online and pursue active research, especially when it comes to visuals and opinions. Algorithms feed the same content to everyone. This passive way of exploring leads to a uniform aesthetic and a one-size-fits-all opinion. Curating what I consume online – and being mindful of what I do with it – is the only way for me to stay focused and produce new ideas.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.