BEHIND THE SEAMS: Ev Bessar

 

 

It takes a lot of guts to leave everything you've ever known and pursue your dreams, and even more to go halfway across the world to do it. That's exactly what fashion designer Ev Bessar did in 2011 when she moved from her hometown in Russia to New York to attend Parsons New School of Design. With her debut collection Bessar draws from inspiration New York, throwing black into a lot of her pieces with techniques, treatments, and manipulations of textures unseen in the fashion world today.

 

While talking to Bessar in the midst of designing one of her latest pieces, she exuded a quiet confidence in herself and her vision. "It’s important to ask for advice and follow it - but up until a certain extent because nobody will know your work better than you will,” she said. This idea rings true throughout her collection. Bessar discussed her vision, charity work, and the themes of her debut F/W Collection 2016 with her "Ev Bessar twist" on a traditional folklore.

 

Labeling Men: Tell us about your journey from Russia to Parsons and what you're doing now.

 

Ev Bessar: My family believed I should have a career in a finance or teching field. I graduated with Masters in Linguistics and Bachelors in Finance. After working in a high school and a bank, I moved to New York to study Fashion at Parsons. It was definitely a challenge to be alone in a different country. But it was like jumping into a waterfall and then following the current. Now I'm working on the FW16 collection and the Art therapeutical program for underprivileged children.

 

Labeling Men: What was one of the most valuable lessons you learned at Parsons?

 

Ev Bessar: I learned to listen, accept the constructive criticism, and to follow your heart. It’s important to ask for advice, but remember that no one will know your work better than you, or make it different and ultimately more valuable. Up until the day I graduated and presented my thesis, I was still getting criticized that my clothes weren't wearable or that they were too dark, that I needed to add some color or to be more commercial, otherwise I wouldn't be successful in my career. However, I continued with my work and my vision and my collection was very well received at the end.

 

Labeling Men: Talk about how you gravitate towards "Ugly Fashion." Tell us about that inspiration.

 

Ev Bessar: I feel like this particular style brightens the eyes of the one that wears the clothing and it makes you focus on an individual's personality. This style is meant to enhance the deepness within the wearer, and show your inner world and way of thinking. The outer perception is just a figment of the imagination.

 

Labeling Men: We know you've worked with a plethora of designers; who was your favorite to work with?

 

Ev Bessar: The more you see, the more you learn, and the more you are open to take in, the more you'll be given. It wouldn't be right to name one designer who would be my favorite. There are so many talents and there is nothing absolute, especially when having a favorite. They are all human beings and when you know them personally, you look at them and their work differently. I would love to work with other designers in different countries, but for now I am solely focused on my own designs.

 

Labeling Men: What is your personal style?

 

Ev Bessar: Effortlessly chic. I do a lot of layering. I do wear a lot of black, like my collection, but I’ve been told that I promote a very friendly appearance, which is different than my collection, but again both of these attributes come from within me.

 

Labeling Men: What is one piece you think every guy should own?

 

Ev Bessar: Cardigan, definitely. I love cardigans!

 

Labeling Men: Are there any men’s fashion faux-pas that you wish would go away?

 

Ev Bessar: I would say flower printed "Hawaiian" shirts

 

Labeling Men: [laughs]

 

Ev Bessar: [laughs] Personally I don't like them.

 

Labeling Men: Who do you think dresses better, American or Russian men?

 

Ev Bessar: The cultures are so different, it’s hard to compare.  Americans are more laid back. They prefer clothing that are able to transition from day to night, and on the streets I see mostly rebellion and vintage styles. When the regime fell in 1991, and Russians were finally able to follow the fashion, it was very overwhelming. I think that lead to their "loud and excessive" style. But now it's easy to get the fashion trends from magazines or on the Internet, so the way of dressing is a personal choice.

 

Labeling Men: Do you enjoy making a certain piece over others?

 

Ev Bessar: Well, my favorite is working with yarns and leather. I also love creating textured fabrics and combining different techniques to create one piece of art. You can see a lot of knit- skin combo in my collection.

 

Labeling Men: Oh yeah, you know I love it all!

 

Ev Bessar: Thank you!

 

Labeling Men: What are your future plans for the brand?

 

Ev Bessar: I am currently in the process of designing my Fall/Winter 2016 collection which will debut next season during New York Fashion Week. It’s the first time I'll be showing, and is my introduction to the industry. With this collection, I am experimenting with different hand-knitting techniques, embroideries, incorporating my own derived fabric techniques.  The inspiration will draw from the "The Firebird" from Russian folklore. The fire bird singing heals and she has magical feathers. 

 

Labeling Men: [laughs]

 

Ev Bessar: The show will coincide with my charity “HeartED", with which we will have an auction to follow the show. It’s a very important part for our aesthetic and the drive behind the label. The purpose behind my creations is to be able to save disadvantaged children through my work. We are also working on a new fashion film.. It's a lot of ideas to develop and new works to look forward to!

 

 

 

 

Labeling Men: Tell us about your journey from Russia to Parsons and what you're doing now.

 

Ev Bessar: I grew up in a big family in Russia where I was studying finance and linguistics. No one in my family really understood the world of fashion or art, so they wanted me to do something more "valuable and normal." When I graduated, I moved to New York where I began to study fashion at Parsons. Going to New York was definitely a change and a big challenge for me because I was alone while my entire family was in Russia. But, at the same time, it was also a relief because I could do what I wanted to do and I found my space and began to adapt quickly to the pace of New York City. I was always told, “it won't happen if you decide to take this road”.

 

Labeling Men: What was one of the most valuable lessons you learned at Parsons?

 

Ev Bessar: I learned to listen and to always do things with your heart; the way your heart tells you to do things will always be the right choice. It’s important to ask for advice and follow it, but only to a certain extent, because no one will know your work better than you will. You know your work, which will make it different and ultimately more valuable. Up until the day I graduated and presented my thesis, I was still getting criticized, people saying that my clothes weren't wearable or that they were too dark, that I needed to add some color or to be more commercial otherwise I wouldn't be successful in my career. However, I continued with my work and my vision and my collection was very well received at the end.

 

Labeling Men: Talk about how you gravitate towards "Ugly Fashion." Tell us about that inspiration.

 

Ev Bessar: I feel like this particular style brightens the eyes of the one that wears the clothing and it makes you concentrate on the scene and focus on an individual's personality. This style is meant to enhance the deepness within the wearer, and show your inner world and what you think. The outer perception is just a figment of the imagination.

 

Labeling Men: We know you've worked with a plethora of designers; who was your favorite to work with?

 

Ev Bessar: The more you see, the more you learn, and the more you are open to take in, the more you'll be given. It wouldn't be right to name one designer who would be my favorite. There are so many talents and there is nothing absolute, especially when having a favorite. They are all human beings and when you know them personally, you look at them and their work differently. I would love to work with other designers in different countries, but for now I am solely focused on my own designs.

 

Labeling Men: What is your personal style?

 

Ev Bessar: Effortlessly chic. I do a lot of layering. The interesting thing is that I do wear a lot of black, like my collection, but I’ve been told that I promote a very friendly appearance, which is different than my collection, but again both of these attributes come from within me.

 

Labeling Men: What is one piece you think every guy should own?

 

Ev Bessar: Cardigan, definitely. I love cardigans!

 

Labeling Men: Are there any men’s fashion faux-pas that you wish would go away?

 

Ev Bessar: I would say flower printed shirts!

 

Labeling Men: [laughs]

 

Ev Bessar: [laughs] Personally I don't like them.

 

Labeling Men: Who do you think dresses better, American or Russian men?

 

Ev Bessar: The cultures are so different, it’s hard to compare. Russian fashion is so loud and often labeled as "excessive.” When the regime fell in 1991, and they were finally able to access all this fashion, it was very overwhelming, which is why this style evolved in the first place. Americans are more laid back and want articles of clothing that are able to transition from day to night, but also have a little bit of rebellion in it as well, leather jackets and all. Now everybody is able to really get the trends of fashion from magazines and on the Internet. 

 

Labeling Men: Do you enjoy making a certain piece over others?

 

Ev Bessar: Well, my favorite is knitting and leather. This is my signature combination. I love experimenting with both of these fabrics, and creating different fabrics and to combine different styles, different work on garments to create one piece of art. The knitting and leather combinations are my signature. My collection consists of a lot of knit-leather combo tops and skirts, and really interesting avant-garde style pieces.

 

Labeling Men: Oh yeah, you know I love it all!

 

Ev Bessar: Thank you!

 

Labeling Men: What are your future plans for the brand?

 

Ev Bessar: I am currently in the process of designing my Fall/Winter 2016 collection which will debut next season during New York Fashion Week. It’s the first time I'll be showing, and is my introduction to the industry. With this collection, I am experimenting with different hand-knitting techniques, embroideries, tool and yarn, all incorporating my own derived fabric techniques. The inspiration will draw from the "The Firebird," which is a Russian folklore. When the fire bird sings, she turns everything into gold.

 

Labeling Men: [laughs]

 

Ev Bessar: I've developed some of my own techniques for fabrics, which will be shown as well. The show will coincide with my charity “Hearted", with which we will have an auction to follow the show. It’s a very important part for our aesthetic and the drive behind why I do what I do. The purpose behind my creations is “Hearted”, and to be able to save children through my work. We are also working on a new fashion film scheduled to launch around that time as well…lot’s of interesting new concepts in the works!

 

Find out more about Ev Bessar and her upcoming collection here.

 

Interview by Nisim Frank

Photograph provided by Ev Bessar

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