Global Young Designer Spotlight: Tata Naka

The brainchild of twin sisters Tamara and Natasha Surguladze, Tata Naka is a young, London-based womenswear label mixing it up with funky, fashion-forward styles which incorporate bold colours and contemporary cuts.

The brand name refers to the sisters’ collective identity, coined by childhood friends who couldn’t tell them apart. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2000, the sisters launched their eponymous label and have been creating their recognisably quirky collections ever since. Drawing inspiration from whatever catches their eye – be it American high school cliques or South American dictators – results in statement pieces with an aesthetic combining bright colours, loud patterns, intriguing textures and striking silhouettes, which was recently seen on the catwalk debut of their AW16 collection.

This audacious duo is mixing it up in the fashion world by breaking away from the popular minimalist trend with anoisy eloquence. We asked them all about it…

Brand name

Tata Naka

Designers

Tamara and Natasha Surguladze

Origin

Designers are originally from Georgia, but the brand was established in London

Homebase

London

Type of brand

Womenswear – and we’ve just branched into interiors and homeware which is super exciting

Where we can find you?

Browns in London and then lots of different stores worldwide

How would you describe the ideal Tata Naka woman?

Adventurous, with a sense of humour

How closely is your brand connected to your hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital?

We were born and raised there so there’s always going to be underlying influence. In terms of our collections, at the beginning of our design career the influence was more literal and we’d directly use Georgian films or the house we grew up in as inspiration. It’s more subtle now though.

Why should we visit Tbilisi?

The city has a lot of history and has been through a lot of change. It’s so interesting to trace these developments from ancient Georgia right through to the Soviet era, and the modernisation of the city that we see today. Not to mention, it’s also an extremely charming, exotic city to explore.

Tell us three things we must see or do in Tbilisi

Get lost in the old town and the Sololaki district, then wander around and check out all the Soviet architecture, it’s fascinating. Look out for all the old churches too – so beautiful.

You explore so many different cultures and themes in your collections, from poolside socialite culture to Russia‘s famous ballet. Talk us through the specific influences behind three of your collections.

We love researching random ideas which we think would translate well into our collections – we never know where it’s going to lead us. For example, for AW15 we had fun exploring the ‘whodunnit’ genre, specifically the board game Cluedo. For SS16, we were inspired by the magical realism of South American culture, which we absolutely love and covered the literature of Gabriel Garcia Marquez as well as the art of Diego Rivera. The work of the late German dancer Pina Bausch was another huge inspiration behind our dance collection for SS12.

How do you choose what part of a culture that you want to represent?

It always depends on our mood and interests at the time. It could be an exhibition that we saw that inspires an idea which we want to explore further and see how we can translate it into clothes. For example, the Maharaja Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum a few years ago influenced our SS10 collection which was a hybrid of a maharaja and an English gentleman.

How do you ensure that cultures are sensitively and accurately represented in your collections?

Obviously our inspiration is always done from our own point of view – it’s not a historical depiction but rather Tata Naka’s interpretation of a certain culture.

You presented your latest collection AW16 during London Fashion Week not too long ago. What inspired this collection and how does it show the growth of the Tata Naka brand?

The collection was called ‘Last Days of Disco’ and was inspired by the transition period between the free-spirited and decadent disco era of the late 70s and the start of the Wall Street-led Reaganomics of the 80s. We love to explore contrasts.

What remains constant throughout each of your new collections?

I think a sense of humour – that’s one of the most important aspects of our collections

As designers, where do you want to travel to next?

Mexico

Where do you think will be the next fashion capital?

Fashion has spread so much now that it’s a difficult question to answer. We don’t think it’s as much about the place but the designers themselves, who seem to be constantly moving around. It’s a really exciting time for global fashion.

What advice do you have for other young designers?

To make sure they create their own identity and really believe in it – you have to really own it

Global Young Designer Spotlight

REJINA PYO