Congratulations to Asel Soorbekova for winning the House of Sheens shoe competition held in MDIS School of Fashion and Design!

Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Asel used to adore watching her mother customize clothes and manage with the materials available at an early young age. When she turned 13 years old, she knew that she wanted to be a fashion designer. However, when the time came to choose a college, her parents insisted that she should get a more classical education.

Following her parents’ wishes, she completed a degree in economics and got a job as an logistics specialist in an international company. Sitting at her desk, handling sales report and shipping operations, she felt strongly about her childhood dream of being a designer. When she reached a point in her life where she felt that she could no longer stay at the company, she decided on a change in career to learn new fashion skills and gain some experience of living abroad. So she quit her job, found a fashion school in a country so different from snowy Russia, and came to Singapore to pursue her  dream to be a fashion designer.

Here, we interview Asel to find out more about this aspiring designer.

1. Why did you choose to study at MDIS?

I discovered that the quality of education in Singapore is very high, and the cost is reasonably affordable, thus allowing me to achieve my dreams. Plus I have always wanted to live in the East, but still have the opportunity to practice English.

MDIS offered 1-year program in Fashion Design and Marketing which was exactly what I was looking for. I was impressed by lecturers profiles as well as the disciplines taught at this programme, such as business of fashion and design conceptualisation.

2. How do you think your course is relevant to your personal everyday life?

At the moment, every day of my life is built around my education. Never have I been so busy, whether spending hours at the fashion studio, learning pattern-making, sewing or at my laptop, searching for information, as there is so much to learn about fashion. And never have I enjoyed my life as these days, learning and doing what I love the most. 

3. How have you progressed as a student from the start of the program to the end?

When I came to MDIS, I was hoping to get the basic theoretical knowledge in order to continue my education in Russia. However, in just one semester, I’ve learned to draw from scratch, make professional technical drawings and presentations, create patterns and sew them into fashionable clothes. My portfolio has grown from strength to strength. 

When I think about this progress now, it seems that there is a lot of information to absorb in a short period of time. But I have found it rather manageable. I have gained a lot of knowledge about the world of fashion while studying at MDIS. Now I know that fashion is not only what people wear; it is almost everything, everywhere. How I see the world around me is now different.

The school regularly collaborates with famous companies, giving students the opportunity to create designs for them. In particular, our class has collaborated with one of the largest shoe & bag manufacturers, Bata. We were tasked to create different collections of handbags and I was so happy when my designs won!

I also had the opportunity to participate in the House of Sheens design competition and I was incredibly happy to be chosen as a winner!

4. Where do you get your inspirations from?

I find inspiring hundreds of things that surround me every day. The source of inspiration can be found anywhere, in nature, architecture, movies, my own dreams. In difficult cases I just start to think of places I have been to or things that I like. 

5. Who is your favourite designer?

Michael Cors. I love elegant and at the same time practical clothes. Woman in his clothes looks beautiful, with enough newness, but at the same time very realistic. 

6. Can you show us some of your best works and tell us more about them in detail?

My best works for now are the shoe design for the House of Sheens and bags for Bata Live project. 

When creating shoes, I was inspired by the magnificent cathedral in Malta that I visited few years back. I still remember how breathless I was at the beauty of the golden interior decorations, painted ceiling and marble flooring. That gem of baroque art was such a great source of ideas to me. I tried to convey the sophistication of the baroque in the details, such as unusual cuts and curves. I enjoyed working on the collection and proud of the final designs. 

For bags design, my inspiration was a horse harness. Being a little girl I spent every summer in the village, where riding a horse was a common part of a daily life. Thus, inspired by the harness shapes, curves, metal parts, I drew collection of bags that was chosen among top-3 finalist for Bata Live Project.