29 April 2019
Photograph: Qian Zhao
On April 17, out of her newly opened showroom in Glasgow’s west end, Scottish fashion designer Barbra Kolasinski held her “Designer Talk” in collaboration with Fashion Foundry. Kolasinski shared her story and experiences in developing her own brand, giving insight into her world of vivid colours and lots of fur.
Based in Glasgow, Barbra Kolasinski is a luxury womenswear brand characterised by confident designs, vivid colour, and a love for high quality fabrics. Use of sheepskin, faux fur, silk, and hand-dyeing results in a brand which evokes both playfulness and a touch of eccentricity.
The designer first graduated from Edinburgh Academy of Art, and then achieved a Masters at London College of Fashion, where her skills saw her designs featured on the catwalk of 2014’s London Fashion Week. Following her graduation, Kolasinski accepted a Paris-based internship at Alexander McQueen, where the trials of working in the luxury fashion industry helped shape a business mind and magnified her love for high quality fabrics.
Kolasinski said: “From my Masters collection, I’ve gone forward with sheepskin, faux fur, and silk. I love working with luxury fabrics; basic silhouettes and staple wardrobe pieces allow the fabrics to speak for themselves, and they’re just beautiful. It’s the way the luxury fabrics make you feel that has led me towards using them.”
Upon returning to Scotland, Kolasinski began developing the Barbra Kolasinski brand with the help of Fashion Foundry – an association which helps facilitate the growth of Scottish talent within the fashion industry, as well as the development of Scotland’s own fashion sector. To date, Fashion Foundry has supported the business development of 21 Scottish brands through their “Emerging Designers” program.
In our interview with Fashion Foundry Director Alan Dibble, he said: “We look for a balance of creative skills, talent, passion, and an understanding of the commercial world and how one wants to develop their brand. Barbra Kolasinski immediately struck us as somebody who had a strong aesthetic. She has the experience working in the industry for McQueen, and we knew she’d be someone who’d work hard to develop her business.”
Kolasinski shared some advice for aspiring designers, saying: “I think if you’re passionate about it, you just need to go for it. It’s a sacrifice for what you love to do, but you will thank yourself for starting. It’s hard, but the rewards are so beneficial.”