Ukrainian LCF costume alumna Tetianan Semenova graduated from LCF in 2015 from the BA (Hons) Costume for Performance. Before her degree, she studied fashion design and had been working in the fashion industry in Ukraine – an experience which helped her to gain a deeper understanding of the industry and learn how the brands are built, which she could apply to her own brand Revival Costume Tradition. We had a chat with Tetiana to find out about her time at LCF and what she is up to now.

 What was the highlight of your course?

Our course included a lot of practical assignments that were directly related to the fields I had the biggest interest in. We created  a lot of costumes designed for plays, based on historical clothing with a modern twist. I was also impressed with the library at LCF. The books with information about clothing from all historic periods can be found there, and it also has free access to digital theatre where the most famous plays from theatres across the UK and US can be found online. During my studies at LCF I learned a lot about historical clothing and how to make a good quality garment. I also gained a lot of knowledge about costume construction, which is crucially important in the theatre or film industry.

What have you been up to since graduating?

After graduating I decided I wanted to make something valuable and long lasting for people to wear. While studying, I found that a lot of historical costumes have very interesting designs, that can compete with new popular trends. Ideas of small details, where everything has been created with special care, creates beauty in costume. It is something that modern clothes are often lacking. I fell in love with period clothing and the old traditions of costume creation, so I did a lot of research on the topic, and found out that there are lots of small handcraft communities all over the world.

Nowadays because of cheap and easy clothing manufacturing processes, these traditions are withering away. I decided to do everything I could to help preserve these communities and give them new life. I started on my own and I continue to invite interested people to join my team and to grow the community to revive the traditions. I attended the NESTA workshops which were organised by British Council in Ukraine. These courses helped me to develop my business idea and plan the steps for its realisation. I also went to many other workshops such as the UAL Creative Enterprise Week, a marketing short course, and the course on how to build successful team. I also continue to study in my own time and have read a books such as “How to Set Up and Run a Fashion Label” by Toby Meadows, “Turn Your Talent Into a Business: a guide to earning a living from your hobby” by Emma Jones, “Launch Your Own Successful Creative Business” toolkit by NESTA .

Tell us the ethos behind your brand…

My brand, Revival Costume Tradition is a women’s luxury brand influenced by period costume. Tradition plays an important role in everyday life, for instance, historical clothing represented in museums or through film and theatre. However we rarely see bobbin lace anymore or hand embroidering in everyday items, despite the fact that there are lots of small handcraft communities all over the world. The main aim of the brand is to preserve old handcraft communities within the UK as a starting point. We have started to work on our first collection, which is a series of jackets influenced by the 17thC waistcoat presented at the V&A museum. In the collection we have preserved a 17thC flower pattern from the original piece and recreated it using the best silk yarn in the world.

What advice would you give people wanting to study costume?

During your studies explores as much as possible and experiment a lot. Apply for internships from the first year of your study. Be precise and careful in your work – it will help you to understand it better and start working in the industry even before graduating.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

If you feel you are doing the right things, then never give up! From the beginning when you start to build your business there are lot of problems and distractions and situations that might put you down, but if you keep striving you will burst to success.

What are you plans for the future?

I want to continue working with old mills and hand crafts communities in UK in order to launch my collections. I would also like to invite other brands and designers to collaborate with these communities, and establish the worldwide online platform to connect the old handcraft producers with new designers all over the world. I believe that together we can change the face of the fashion and help to make the world better place.