Designer of the Month: Anastasia Chatzka
We’re so thrilled to have talked to our Designer of the Month Anastasia Chatzka about her brand and her story this past week!
Midwest fashion designer Anastasia Chatzka was born and raised in Detroit and now calls Chicago home. Vibrant colors, prints, and textures are what characterize Anastasia’s designs; her original inspirations came from musicians such as The Beatles and David Bowie: “They were extravagant in their styles. Their music and clothing was bold and they were always on stage even when they weren’t. When I was 11 or 12, I wanted to wear what I saw them wearing, so I decided to make my own clothes.”
These days, Anastasia draws on classical sources to inspire her designs: historical fashion, architecture, and art. Though her separates are popular, Anastasia’s swimsuits are most recognized for their unique prints and colors. She creates many of her unique patterns herself (see the wasp pattern on our July Giveaway swimsuit!) using Adobe Illustrator.
Says Anastasia about the reason she began creating her own patterns, “I love experimenting with prints and different textures. I didn’t want to limit my designs to what was already available. I found a company online that would make small batches of whatever design I envisioned, printed on whatever kind of fabric I requested. This way I can utilize a design I love for more than one type of garment. It gives my customers a lot to choose from, too.”
As you would expect from an artist, Anastasia also has an eye for color: “Each creation can be made in different colors, so if you see a design you love but would rather have another color, I can do that. For example, my wasp design [pictured in pink on Balodana’s website] looks fantastic in white.”
Designing custom made swimsuits differs vastly from other forms of clothing. “The material is different,” Anastasia explains. “It’s more elastic and presents its own challenges. Also, we use different types of machines to make bathing suits. I find that as a designer it can be more fun—you are allowed to be more sexy with your appearance.”
Because her fabrics are made-to-order, Anastasia is able to keep excess waste to a minimum. “Fashion changes so quickly that it’s beneficial to buy fabric in small quantities, whenever possible,” she says. “In the case of custom fabrics, almost nothing goes to waste.”
Anastasia also goes beyond being green to enforce ethical responsibility throughout her supply chain. “My creations are made in Chicago. Everything you see I make myself. When I have larger orders or need help, I outsource to a small manufacturer, also located here in Chicago. I can walk into their shop and see the conditions. I know their workers receive fair compensation for their labor, and work in a clean, safe environment.”
When it comes to creating made-to-measure designs for online customers, getting proper measurements presents the biggest challenge. Anastasia notes that measurements are especially critical when it comes to swimsuits. “It’s good to communicate with the designer how you prefer your clothes to feel,” she says. “The torso is the most important measurement, from crotch to shoulder, followed by bust, hips, and waist.”
For high-waisted styles, Anastasia says a customer should know where they would like the design to sit on their bodies. Her advice to a first time customer is to be descriptive and share with her what it is they want and expect: “We all know that not every body is the same. You should think about your most comfortable clothing and how it feels when you have it on, and where your natural waist is. That will help give me the information I need to make you a suit that you’ll love.”
Anastasia’s vintage styles are flattering to women of all body types. She is also able to alter patterns to address a customer’s desire for something a little more sexy or more modest: “I can create a piece that offers more or less coverage, depending on what the customer wants.”
Sharing her love of fashion is what matters most to Anastasia; she takes satisfaction from seeing her customers happy. “My customers are young professionals, metropolitan, culturally intuitive, hip. They enjoy traveling, getting out, and being seen. I want my clients to feel good about what they wear. I enjoy seeing the photos my customers send to me—it’s rewarding to see people having fun in what I make, and enjoying the art of fashion.”