WE’AR ART: Samoseli Qartuli, Maia Bakradze

Continuing our collaboration with WE’AR ART, bringing to you the Georgian designers who lead the Georgian fashion scene, this month we present to our readers the creative mind behind Samoseli Qartuli, Maia Bakradze. In Maia’s mind, fashion and science can work together. Read on to find out more about Maia’s most cherished designer moment, her inspirations, the uniting point of the designer and customer, and more.

Clothing designer Maia Bakradze is a specialist in decorative-applied arts and ethnographic design. Currently working at the University of Georgia, she’s taking a course in Ethnographic Design and has her own brand "Maia Bakradze - Samoseli Qartuli" (Georgian Garment in English)

“I’ve been working with my team for years to restore and introduce various methods and technologies of ancient Georgian, endangered decorative arts,” she tells GEORGIA TODAY. “I’ve restored and processed dyeing, fabric painting, embroidery, and other techniques and technologies, on the basis of which I create collections of modern, classic, youthful, and modernist clothes and accessories.

“I create clothes that have their own history, their own color, their own mood, which originates from the historical past of Georgia.

“My design debut as an artist took place in Brussels in 1993, at the exhibition Days of Georgia in Brussels, which was organized by our current President Salome Zurabishvili, where my work was highly praised.”

Where did you get your education in this field and how important do you think professional education is for a designer?

I got my higher education in Georgia, but I had internships in Europe and America. I believe that professional education is very important in becoming a professional in general, and especially for a designer.

Have you taken part in any fashion shows?

Since 1993, I have participated in various assemblies, summits, exhibitions, and fashion shows in many countries around the world, as well as scientific conferences and symposia.

What is the main idea and goal of your design / brand?

My and my team’s creative direction is to make ecologically clean, modern clothes and accessories, created with natural materials and dyes, which are inspired by Georgian ethnographic motifs and are scientifically based on the traditions and technologies of creating Georgian national clothes, such as ornament, silhouette, color, cloth, etc.

What kind of person wears your clothes?

My clothes and accessories are worn by people of different ages and nationalities in different parts of the world. They are really different, but what unites them is my vision of clothes and the same perception of art.

How do you feel when you see a person wearing your design?

It's a very nice feeling when a person likes and wears clothes you've created. Many times in the streets I’ve seen people dressed in clothes I made, and it makes me as happy as a little kid! I’ve often been told from abroad that they like and wear my clothes. Years ago, I created school jackets for Georgian schools, for students in grades 1-4, and then I distributed them myself to the students of one school. They didn't know who I was and the biggest reward was their glowing eyes, putting on the jackets I’d created. I’ll never forget it.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business and designing style?

Covid influences everything, its impact on the life and creativity of the artist gets bigger every minute. It’s very difficult to think about fashion and art when world events are changing for the worse with lightning speed. The direction of my creativity has not been affected by the pandemic. As for business, today everything has slowed down due to the situation. I have an Instagram page (@dresscodemb_maiabakradze) and a FB page (@Samoseli Qartuli) where customers can browse my artwork and order online. It's been a few months now since I set up an online store on the ETSY international platform, DressCodeMB.etsy.com, where I already have sales and hope to have more buyers by the New Year.

What is the inspiration behind your works?

The source of inspiration for my creations has always been and is the rich ethnographic past of Georgia. It is very interesting to create such a modern garment, which sometimes repeats the form of an ancient Georgian garment. Sometimes you can use the same old technique of decoration, execution or dyeing traditions, and still end up creating completely avant-garde pieces. This work is also a big responsibility. I’m very happy when I achieve this goal correctly and I’m very happy when a guest comes to the exhibition or parade and perceives my creativity in exactly the same way as I conceived and created it.

Can you single out any famous or lesser-known, international or local designers (or artists in general) who have inspired you to create your collections?

I like many designers and artists, both Georgian and foreign. I like Christian Dior the most among designers and I’m a fan of Peter Otskheli. The source of inspiration is different at different times, but not the designers.

How has Georgian traditional clothing inspired your designs?

Georgian traditional clothing is unique and absolutely complete. It manifests centuries of perfecting. You can’t change it, so it adapts to your taste. One can only admire and turn it into a source of inspiration. I’m a specialist in this field and I teach it to my students in every lecture. Rarely have I seen in the clothes of other nations combinations so harmonious with each other; the abundance of colors and, controversy, such beautiful embroidery and subtle forms.

I put a part of this rich past in each and every one of my works, and give them new life.

WE’AR ART is a copyrighted brand/slogan with a unique philosophy: to create awareness of fashion and art. Since 2018, the WE’AR ART collection has only worked for one common ‘good’: raising funds through charity events and sponsoring competitions for young artists.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

03 December 2020 18:19