In 2009 Alina Malyushkina was the editor of “Afisha” (Billposter) magazine where she had been writing about the new clothing shops for several years. But at that time the good stores were uncommon. Just then Alina decided to create her own store. Today “The One” concept store is a very famous shopping point in Kyiv.
Alina Malyushkina: When I opened my shop I already had a designer’s degree and friends of the same profession. We were dreaming of such a location where we could put in place our ideas and sell our clothes.
We opened the store at Pushkinska street in “Inzhir” (fig) store where we had a room. The interior was minimalistic: 4 brackets, gray walls, black table. We were not very successful due to the fact that we did not have enough experience and did not pay enough time to promotion and advertising; instead, we were focused on the content itself. Vintage and young designers presented their creations in the store. In six months we moved to Mykhaylivska street. We expanded the collection and stayed over there for 4 years. Then we closed the store for 2 months and reopened in a new location at Reytarska street. It was 100% hit in terms of what we wanted and what we got. We have been here for 4 years already.
Destinations: Alina, tell us please about the designers that are represented in the store as well as about the criteria for their selection.
Previously, we relied completely on our own vision of design. And now we have a range of clients, friends and fans. We do not accept things that cause internal dissonance. We welcome the designers with good taste who do their work well and create good things.
Destinations: “Made in Ukraine” trend becomes very popular now. Can you please advise how the foreigner can choose something of high-quality and at the same time authentic Ukrainian.
I would advise to search for such stores that already have a selection of really good products. Here you can choose the clothes of high quality produced in Ukraine. Any good store really cares about its reputation.
Destinations: How do foreigners react on Ukrainian design? What is your personal experience?
Their reaction is really positive. They really like our design and they are ready to pay for that. They even want to support these designers. The price is attractive and our designers’ approach is a bit different from that one they already know.
Destinations: Who are the competitors, partners and friends of “The One” concept store?
I don’t follow the competitors but I know that there are some nice stores around. For example, the “482” at Yaroslaviv Val street. It represents Ukrainian clothes for young people. By the way, in some stores different things of the same designer can be exposed.
There are also “31 Apartment” store at Kostelna street, “Miakoti” (Pulp) accessories’ store, Corner Concept Store at Vozdvizhenka. The consumer has a great choice today.
Destinations: Who is your customer? Describe him/her, please.
The audience is very different: young and adult people with different income and they are free and creative people of different professions. Foreigners are also our clients. Six months ago they wanted to buy some things with Ukrainian symbols now they want high-quality and beautiful authentic things.
Destinations: What do you think about modern Ukrainian design?
I notice a lot of very different designers and I like this variety. I want the inner freedom to be reflected in our design. Now it's time for something really creative and worthwhile. Designers need to transform our heritage into something modern but not to copy our past achievements.
And if we talk about the fashion weeks, we certainly have a lot of very successful designers. I can name a lot of them but I’m afraid to forget someone: Helen Przhonskaya, Sasha Kanev, Konstantin Kofta, Kralya and Weird Bird underwear, LAKE (formerly known as KAMENSKAYAKONONOVA), Lilia POUSTOVIT. “Follow my eyes” brand creates really nice men's coats. There is also Transcarpathian cosmetics and household goods.
Destinations: What would you like to wish modern Ukrainian designers?
I would like them to have more confidence and trust. We can offer innovative approaches and they don’t have to be afraid to try something new. I wish them to think less about the difficulties, to focus more on goal and to go into the creative process.
Destinations: Would you like to have such a store abroad?
Yes, I was thinking about Germany and Poland. There are difficult times for such plans but the idea still exists. There are people abroad who invite our designers and want to represent them there.
Destinations: How hard is it to be engaged in fashion retail now?
The most difficult thing is unpredictability. But it is not terrible; you just need to take it for granted. For me it's more artistic project than a business one. But, nevertheless, we have gone through very difficult times such as the winter of 2013. So now the main thing is to do our job and move forward.
Destinations: Share your plans and dreams, please.
I want to change the interior of the store, to make it lighter, to expand the collections. I plan to move on with “The One” brand of clothes. If we talk about dreams, I want to create a global platform for designers and creative people. It should be a platform where they can implement their ideas without thinking about the material stuff. For the most talented people it should be like a kind of buffet table with opportunities for studying, assistance, experience and support. The platform should be an offline location where designers will be able to communicate with their customers. I believe that this platform can help to create healthy competitive environment that will enrich and improve our design.
The Ukrainian designers represented in The One Concept Store in Kyiv: Lena Yastreb, Anna Yasynska, Secret Garden, Silver Wag, Serhey Zhirnov, Jam Und, Iryna Duch, Masha Kalashnikova, Love Mert Luvaj, Forma Sa, Karpenko, Macabre, Styd&Sram, Julia's Dream, VIS, Natalia Radchenko, Norm Kofta, Anastasia Glotova, Fox&Button, Les Marolles, Mitenky, Vahan Avakian, Veronica Beauty, LoveMySocks, Arlynn&Planarts, Dari Chernikova, Tania Chernaya, PSSN "Pasion Pride", Olga Fradina, Follow my eyes, Weird bird, Kralya, Black hole, D.F.F., MariMir, Yulya Yefimtchuk, Hush Brand, Kikot’, Finch, Cyan, Anis, Celestial Body, Tina Petrakova, Zina Likhacheva, Marchi Booriva, Yana Chaplygina, Yulia Shaleyko, India, Natalya Dmitrieva, Brukh, Bogush, Vika Baron, LL, Tako Mekvabidze, Nelia Rozina, Yury Kolomiyets, Przhonskaya, FionaStyle, Annet Amegan, Kostelni, Sveta Selezneva, Shapkina, YY clothing, Kifisso, People's, Bobkova.
Address: 35 B, Reytarska street, Kyiv, +38 (066)626 66 14, +38 (044) 272 15 46
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak