The saying "two minds are better than one" is proven true by Russian designer duo, Alice and Julia Ruban. The sisters behind high-fashion label, Ruban, are known for turning modern feminine silhouettes into three-dimensional haute couture works of art.
Established in 2010, Ruban continues to gain prominence in the Eastern European fashion scene with its bold use of experimental textile treatments and complex handwork techniques. With 10 collections under its belt, the brand has been named as the label to watch by Vogue Russia, Harper's Bazaar Brazil and Glamour Russia, to name just a few.
In October this year, Ruban was handpicked by Miroslava Duma to showcase its collection to industry leaders, buyers and influencers at the Buro 24/7 Fashion Forward Initiative — a project created to develop and support young design talents — during Paris Fashion Week.
Now making its Asian debut at the Buro pop-up store, we speak to the sisters about their brand, and its exclusive capsule collection for Singapore, which is part of the Fashion Forward Initiative in Asia.
We try to find new ways to treat the fabric such that we can create haute couture hand-made decorations to make each piece in the collection look richer.
You started your careers as fashion stylists for magazines and celebrities. Tell us what sparked the idea to create your own fashion label.
While working as stylists for others, we were also creating clothes for ourselves on the side. One day, we realised that we wanted to share our personal styles with people and, as they say, the rest is history.
Ruban is known for its modern yet feminine collections crafted into three-dimensional silhouettes with haute couture details. What is the design process like for your collections?
When we start on a new collection, we look for new and unusual fabrics to create our aesthetic and print. We personally source most of our fabrics from Italy, and we try to find new ways to treat the fabric such that we can create haute couture hand-made decorations to make each piece in the collection look richer. We're always experimenting and searching for new ideas. Sometimes, it seems really hard to bring them to life. But every time we're done with a collection, we prove that impossible goals don't exist.
The decoration and applique achieved on each piece is almost origami like. How long does one abstract pattern take to make and is everything handmade?
Yes, everything is 100% handmade and is produced in our own atelier in Moscow. For example, it takes around 100 hours to make the haute couture decorations on the spring/summer 2016 gown (look 30).
You are also known for your experimental textile techniques on delicate fabrics such as organza and cashmere.
We really like working with organza and cashmere, and we've been working with these materials almost every season now. In the beginning, we faced many difficulties working with such delicate fabrics. For example, we couldn't get organza to adopt the shape we had in our minds, and we also tried to make cashmere a little stiffer to create three-dimensional looks. Now, after much experimenting, we understand how to work with these fabrics.
What was the inspiration behind the SS16 collection?
The main idea behind the spring/summer collection was asymmetry. We tried to show that by using a combination of different fabrics on unusual silhouettes.
What do you think makes Ruban different from other high-fashion brands?
We're not afraid to experiment. We're constantly thinking of new ways to work with fabrics and create textures. You can always tell Ruban apart from other brands from our signature silhouettes and creative approach to detailing and decoration.
Tell us about the capsule collection created especially for Singapore and what we can look forward to.
This collection was created just for the Fashion Forward Initiative project between Russia and Asia and, of course, Buro 24/7 Singapore. This is our first time entering the Asian market and we wanted to create a special collection that's Asian-orientated. We've introduced our iconic hand-made decorations and designer print organza to the capsule collection.
What makes this capsule collection for Singapore special?
While creating this capsule collection, we were looking forward to combining both Russian and Asian cultures together. We used red and white as they are the colours of the Singapore flag. We also wanted colours that would be well received for the festive season.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
Our favourite piece is the red organza midi dress with handmade detailing. We love how it's feminine and modern at the same time.
Singapore will be your first entry into the Asian market. How do you think Ruban will excite the Asian consumer?
We are really happy that we have this opportunity to present the brand in Asia. We are sure that our designs will be welcomed for its unique styles, handmade details and high quality.
Who do you think is the Ruban woman?
The Ruban woman is someone that is confident in anything she wears. The main idea behind our collections is versatility, where each piece can be easily mixed and match to create different styles.
Ruban has just celebrated its fifth anniversary. What do you think you've accomplished as designers, and for the brand?
We are really proud of what we've achieved in the last five years. When we launched our brand in 2010, there were only three of us working out of a tiny showroom not far from the centre of Moscow. Now, we have a big team and our collections are moving in markets we never dreamt of. We want to keep working hard to achieve international recognition.
Ruban FW15 and SS16 collections will be showcased for pre-orders at the Buro Pop-up at 6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square #01-06 (open daily from 10am to 10pm) from now until 6 December 2015.
The exclusive capsule collection will be housed at the Buro Pop-up store for pre-orders from now until March 2016.