A Hidden Place: an interview with the young designer Irina Ursache

Of course it is hard for me to leave the black and white palette. But the hues of pink candy in Irina Ursache designs left no room for regrets. I tried the outfits, I talked with the young designer about the life of a collection (and “Hidden Place” was one of the collections that caught my attention at UNAB Gala), about fabrics and the tiring process of designing and making (in real) some interesting pieces. “I am a perfectionist. And I gave up some pieces right before the Gala, and ended up presenting only 6,”, Irina smiled.

Irina Ursache’s designs could be seen on this Facebook page

What was the inspiration for the collection presented at UNAB? For its name, “Hidden Place”?

I don’t necessarily have an order when it comes to creation. Sometimes I come up with an idea out of nowhere and then build the garment around it as I go and sometimes I do it gradually, with mood boards, music, fabrics, sketches and so on.

I find myself really into the surrealist, young and playful attitude in both shape and colour so I choose to play with my creations. I admire brands like Delpozo and Vivetta which also have this creative approach. For ”Hidden Place”, inspiration came to me as I was cutting up the images for my mood board and I randomly cut up a drop shape and then a few more. I did some research and, as I am very fond of fairy tales, especially Romanian ones, I decided to focus on water of life and water of death, common in Romanian fairy tales. It is said that it’s always a struggle to bring those kinds of magical waters to the wounded because they’re really hard to find, they’re kept in a secret, hidden place, therefore the name of the collection. I exploited the drop shape in different styles, such as 3D pockets or cut-ups in the garment.

Irina Ursache top

Irina Ursache collection

Irina Ursache details

Irina Ursache details

Where comes the inspiration from?

Inspiration can come from anything, I usually feel inspired around people, the people I surround myself with or the people I look at on the street, I can notice a gesture or a unique colour combination, an unusual twist to a look, an item out of context, anything really can be the start of an idea. I sometimes like to take notes on the ides I get because I tend to forget them easily and when I feel like creating something but have nothing to begin with I look for those notes.

A funny moment during the preparations…

I don’t know if this is necessarily funny but it definitely stirred some laughs. There were times when the garment turned out way different than the sketch and it looked completely wrong to the point where keeping it was out of the question. I learned a lot about fabrics during this process and realised that there are fabrics meant specifically for some types of creation and not everything goes.

What are the strengths that a young designer needs today? 

In order to succeed in this industry a young designer needs to be perseverant, work hard and have an out-of-the-box creative thinking.

5 old school items that will always inspire you?

I believe I’ll always be inspired by colourful oversized coats, mini bags, velvet shoes, skirts and denim.

The fashion period that you love? 

I love the sixties because it screamed freedom, youth and fun and it revolutionised the fashion industry from the mini skirt that was in but not in a vulgar way to the unconventional fabrics used in clothing like PVC which is used a lot nowadays as well. Also the androgynous look of the female and its playfulness is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for my designs. For ”Hidden Place” I chose some 60’s inspired shoes as well.

What’s next? 

I plan on applying for a masters next year so I will focus on my portfolio, creating more pieces and getting more work experience.

Irina Ursache & Alina Aliman

Irina Ursache & Alina Aliman

Style is: mixing it fearlessly your own way.

Fashion will never be: dull.

Signature piece: playful top.

The most extravagant thing you wish to design: I’ve never created menswear so, yeah, that’s it.

Who are you? In 3 words: passionate, creative, funny.

Photography: Daniel Păduraru


UNAB: new fashion designers @Bucharest