”Now to get real with you, fashion is a great, it is an incredibly interesting and rich industry, but it’s also not that big of a deal, you choose what it is for you. We wont ever try to push something on you, you do you girl, we will catch up. We don’t believe in perfection, what we do believe In is messiness and authenticity. The most beautiful and fascinating things in this world aren’t perfect, and these imperfections are what makes everything around us unique and special. This is why our clothing is made to look slightly imperfect. Thats the message behind it.” – THE EMPTY INDUSTRY
When you get your piece delivered from TEI you will get a detailed care sheet, the story of the piece you purchased, and well as a lot of information about where was that particular piece made, who made it, and where were the materials purchased. All the garments are made in ethical conditions and in small quantities as the designers don’t believe in overproduction and overconsumption and try to help the Earth little by little, as much as they can.
UPCYCLING PROJECT by THE EMPTY INDUSTRY
At The Empty Industry they do their best to not generate any waste. A lot of our fabrics are non-recyclable, and we know how much harm this can cause our planet. Which is why they started UPCYCLING PROJECT.
All TEI garments returned will be up-cycled and used in their next collection or stored for future use to be up-cycled later. This way, the fabrics won’t go to waste, and you will also not need to spend too much of your time trying to sell it online (because we’ve all been there). We assure you that none of this fabric will go to waste! Ever! This is not what this is about. See more here: https://www.themptyindustry.com/en/pages/upcycling-project
1) All the pieces are manufactured in ethical conditions, by people who don’t work extra hours, and get paid for their job.
2) They do not retouch their product photos. What you see is what you get, you can be sure of that.
3) They try their best to stay as sustainable as they possibly can.
4) They do not overproduce. They underproduce. Every item is limited to a number of pieces, and they will only make a new production run if there is demand.
A CHAT WITH NASTIYA RODIONOVA CEO + DESIGNER OF THE EMPTY INDUSTRY
How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?
I guess I always knew somewhere deep down in my heart that this is the world im going to end up in. My mom worked in fashion her entire life and I grew up around that. She would bring me with her as a baby to all the buying appointments, I always watched the way she dressed, listened in on conversations. So it came naturally to me to be in fashion
In terms of design , I tried to run away from it, but I always came back to that. I studied photography and what I enjoyed most was styling my own photoshoots, then I sort of shut out thhat part of myself by taking Psychology in uni as a Bsc, but I always came back to it. And eventually in my last year of uni I fully came back to fashion design and fashion business
My process is quite complicated as I tend to lose focus a lot, so what I would do is I would have what I call “design day” where I literally switch my phone off, disconnect from the world and I sketch around 20 garments a day. Then a finalise one or two and I bring them to our pattern maker, we further perfect it together, and then I come back to my sketches and do it again. This keeps me from being bored or too focused on one thing, cause if I do focus on something, as a perfectionist that I am , I will get stuck on it forever.
Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?
The last collection was really me coming out as a designer, it was that acceptance of the fact that this is what I set my mind on and this is what im going to do. So its a reflection of that one year where I was working on the collection
I moved from London to Paris, so there are a lot of Parisian architecture elements there. I kept looking at buildings and thinking of how people built that back in the day. Thats how the idea for ropes came about. And it was just that, every design for influenced by something different I discovered in my travels and in that journey of finding myself that year. We do post some specific inspirations for certain garments on our instagram! You should check it out!
Are you sick of people talking about millennials?
I’m a millennial so not really!!
Do you see yourself as a designer for the youth generation?
We design for women 20-35, generally, of course that varies slightly from country to country, but I do think it’s important to know the people you’re designing for, to know their needs and wants. I do think the younger generation is just not for me, I feel like they don’t dress up anymore at all, and im not into making streetwear.
The funny thing as we do have someone working in the company who’s is 20, for comparison I’m now 24, and I can really feel the generation gap! It’s good because I do have an insight into how they think and what their values are, but its also funny to work together sometimes as we have the most ridiculous debates.
How fashion competitions can change the business industry? Will you apply at some in the future?
I really want to apply for the LVMH prize one day, but I do understand that we’re not there yet, my designs need to be much stronger and the brand needs a much more solid presence on the market.
I think competitions are great and they do open doors and give you the funding you need, however I don’t understand why in competitions for “young designers” we only see established brands with a massive client base and someone who’s been on the market for 5-7 years. I think thats a little not fair and the competitions definitely need to be better categorised in this sense.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?
I want them to feel powerful and confident. Like anything is achievable and nothing can stop them
What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?
Definitely the lace up jeans! They created so much noise on the social media. We are even thinking of re-launching them.
What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, do you think it might be a good showcase the brand’s future?
We are online-only so far. The only exception for that being our showroom that is going to open after quarantine. I think online is the future, I do not deny the importance of retail experience but thinking about our customer – it will make no sense to open a physical store just yet.
As for third party platforms – that depends on what platform that is. You have to really filter out the good ones as there is just too many these days, but if you do find one that works for your brand then of course! The web can connect you to literally anyone in the world, there is no denying that
What young designers need right now from fashion industry to grow up?
Empathy. I really felt that when I started working in Paris. A lot of people completely disregard young brands because they would rather play it safe and work with someone established. Even hiring a company such as PR is a nightmare because no one wants to make a bet on something unpredictable. But then thats the same thing as “finding a job without experience and finding experience without the job”. You have to put more faith in us.
List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.
Right now it’s Lado Bokuchava, Masha Popova ( I believe she’s a CSM graduate) and Afterhomework.