Without noticing, we began to feel more comfortable in our sportswear. Realms of movement and sports are becoming one with our everyday activities and training clothes became an everyday outfit. This change opens up creative and fascinating design options that are required to be simultaneously functional and wearable.
The “Babushkas of chernobyl” are women living in the “Forbidden Zone” that was created after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine at 1986, where it is forbidden to live in the wake of high radiation levels. Those women live in a strong and supportive community and cope alone with the wild animals and the winter weather. They are not willing to leave their homes in the forbidden area and live cut off from civilisation.
In this area there is a sense that time has stopped, after the explosion nature has died and the community that lived in the area left it. Against all odds nature began to return to life and renew.
The babushkas wear headscarfs called “Platok”, with flowers hand-painted on them.
After the explosion, people from all over the Soviet Union who were required to cleanse the area were brought in. They worked as purifiers and wore rubber shoes and rubber suits that included a meter for measuring radiation and a mask.
Despite the great dimensions of the disaster and the transformation of whole cities into ghost towns nature continues to regenerate and grow and takes over the built-up areas.
In the new nature that developed, genetic changes occurred as a result of the exposure to radioactive material that led to mutations. Another source of inspirations is the artist Jaime Pitarch who creates works of art in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. He uses the familiar structure of the Matryoshka doll and the Russian color palette to create mutations.
In my designs I wanted to preserve the element of nature that regenerates and takes control of the area in which it grows, as well as the mutations that were born out of the blast, maintaining the functionality of sportswear and the visibility that resonates with the Russian headscarves.