The brand with Siberian roots UShatáva, whose name is formed by the names of its founders, has existed for four years. During this time, friends Alisa Ushakova and Nino Shamatava (Nino is a lawyer, and Alisa is an economist) were able not only to create a popular clothing brand, but also to open stores in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Sochi. Today, UShatáva employs over 60 people, and orders for the online store come from all over the world. It all started almost banal - the girls could not find things that they liked in the shops of their native Yekaterinburg, and decided to try to create clothes on their own.
Once Alice and Nino happened to be together on board an airplane and for several hours discussed fashion, things, new collections and came to the conclusion that such similar tastes are rare and something needs to be done about it.
Returning to Yekaterinburg, the girls decided to learn how to sew in order to do things first of all for themselves. At first we tried it on our own, but nothing came of it. Then they turned to a private teacher. “For about a year we learned to cut and sew in time trouble - three hours three times a week - and we were very serious,” recalls Nino. - However, already in the third lesson we realized that we needed to change the program to suit our needs. A shoulder piece, a belt piece … What I'm talking about is the flip side of any education: you need to adjust to the system, you can't choose, you can't offer your own. Then Alisa and I came to the teacher and said directly: now we will learn to sew not using technology."
Nino Shamatava and Alisa Ushakova © press service
The first thing that the girls sewed is still present in the brand's collections in one form or another. It was a top canvas, they made it for their girlfriend in a couple of days. Patterns Nino and Alisa developed themselves and continue to work on them to this day.
In the absence of investors, the first collections were sewn by friends on their own savings and they themselves were engaged in promoting the brand (it all started with an Instagram account).
UShatáva positions itself as a brand of non-trivial basic clothing, although initially Nino and Alice did not have a plan to focus only on this segment.
“One of our clients very well described UShatáva:“You never know what you will see when you come here”. This is how we, in the opinion of our clients, differ from other Russian brands. We are not chasing trends, we make very authentic clothes, and I would not want to get attached to the fact that UShatáva is only a Ural or only Russian brand. We do different things. In each of our collections there are objects that do not fall under the concept of basic ones as complex enough for mass understanding, but it is through them that we want to show that we can also do this,”says Nino.
“In general, the essence of our collections is in compatibility. The same slip dress from the new Studio 54 collection falls under the definition of a basic wardrobe. It can be worn with a jacket and jeans during the day, and more dressy accessories in the evening. Our strength and difference from other brands lies precisely in the fact that we make comfortable things that look interesting, that are pleasant to wear and that give the feeling of something special. At the same time, everything is so simple that each object can be rhymed with another, creating very complex images,”says Alisa Ushakova.
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Friendship in business
Nino and Alisa admit that running a business and maintaining a warm relationship is not always easy. Poignant moments do happen, but designers try to stay cool. “I take conflicts and disputes for granted. This is an inevitable part of the work process, such things have nothing to do with our personal life. Even if we argue over something, in the evening we meet in a neutral atmosphere and communicate calmly,”says Alisa.
“As a rule, the final word remains not with one of us. We know very well what will be best for the brand. We can argue and express our point of view, show our position, but then we always find the right solution together. It doesn't matter who voices it,”agrees Nino.
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One of the brand's phenomena is affordable prices. A lingerie-style dress will cost 3900 rubles, trousers - 5700, a single-breasted jacket costs 7900 rubles, and knitted mitts - 900. At the same time, things are of higher quality than those of mass-market brands and look more interesting. Alisa Ushakova says that affordable prices have always been one of the company's key priorities. First of all, this can be achieved through the selection of materials: designers buy fabrics from stocks in Italy and China. Thus, it turns out to maintain quality and keep prices.
About the male line
Today UShatáva produces 10 to 12 collections a year. In addition, this is one of the rare Russian brands from which you can buy men's clothes. True, now the girls have slightly suspended the development of this direction. At the moment, they say, they are more likely to offer a unisex style that looks equally good on both men and women. “The men's collection is complex in terms of design: the patterns are very different from the women's ones. However, nothing is impossible. We now have a strong design department. We recruited shots that meet our expectations, and again thought about making more unisex models, but at the same time, so that they would sit better on the male figure. When we work out this process to perfection, we will start marketing, and everything will be better,”shares Nino Shamatava's plans.
As for the men who come to UShatáva today, according to the designers, first of all, they are people free from prejudices, who want to find something new for themselves. However, mostly the male line is still more readily taken by girls.
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UShatáva has its own distinctive features by which the brand can be easily identified. Firstly, this is a peplum skirt, which in different designs moves from collection to collection and remains one of the brand's bestsellers. Secondly, pencil skirts and those same canvas tops, patterns for which were developed by Nino and Alisa at the very beginning of the journey. “I would say that layering is another feature of our brand,” notes Nino. "If you see a complex, interesting image, sustained in muted, dusty shades, then we can assume that this is UShatáva."
Both Alisa and Nino unanimously believe that they have no competitors in the Russian market. “We have already worked on this issue, thought for a long time who could be named, and realized that no local brand coincides with our strategy and values,” says Nino.
Drawing parallels with foreign brands, the designers note that their philosophy, values and views on beauty are similar to Acne Studios, Études, The Row and Céline (of the Phoebe Faylo era, of course).
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About work and creative plans
Today, UShatáva stores are located in four Russian cities, and the designers are not going to expand yet. “Our strategy does not include the goal of opening points throughout Russia, and we ourselves do not want that. First of all, an offline store is needed in order for a person to get acquainted with our philosophy and values,”Nino notes.
But the girls do not deny the opportunity to become a multi-brand, among their favorites is Farfetch. At the same time, they do not want to present their collections in offline stores or shopping centers yet, Internet retailers are more interested in them.
In addition, UShatáva is open to cooperation with other Russian and foreign designers. “Nino and I often discuss that we would like friendships with other brands. In our subjective opinion, now there is some kind of unhealthy competition and anger, but we want everything to be easier. Perhaps this is only a subjective feeling. There are many clients, each designer makes his own special things and absolutely in his own style. We must be friends. The ability to create collaborative products and share ideas is awesome. If suddenly we have unity with another brand, then I see no reason not to do something together,”says Alisa.
Nino adheres to the same point of view and believes that the Ushatáva brand could work well with, for example, Cosmotheca: “In terms of ideology, in the way they conduct their business, they are very close to us. We were with them on the same site in the Yeltsin Center and made sure that they are very ideological, inspired by their work, madly in love with it."
The interior of the Moscow store UShatáva on Bolshaya Sadovaya, 5 © press service
Also in the near future, UShatáva is opening a new multifunctional space on the embankment in St. Petersburg. Details were not disclosed, but according to Nino Shamatava, this will be a completely new format for the brand. In addition, now the girls are actively developing the site, which accounts for 50% of orders. In the near future, an English version will appear there, as well as a buyer's personal account with a bonus program. UShatáva already has quite a few orders from abroad, and the number is constantly growing. Nino and Alisa see a certain potential in this: so we can assume that in the future we will see the brand stores abroad.>