Today I am thrilled to announce that Yana Gorbulsky of Supayana is the $1000 winner of this year's NEXT BIG THING competition. Click here for the full results or read on to learn more about this SUPA talented designer!
Congratulations on winning NBT!!!! How does it feel?
We've heard you're donating a portion of your winnings to charity. Can you tell us more about that?
I have a real soft spot for soft furry things... July in Montreal is what they call "moving month", when a large percentage of the city population moves apartments. This results in an influx of abandoned animals and the SPCA is filled to the brim this time of year. I want to give them some money and I want to pay for my friend Jen to take a stray cat that she's been feeding to the vet for a check-up.
So you're in Montreal now, right? When this year's NBT launched we listed you as residing in Brooklyn. What gives?
Ch-ch-ch-changes! I just go with the flow of things. I fell in love with this city (and a boy) last year and I decided that I wanted to try it out. It's such a beautiful city and the artistic community here is great. Also, you can live in a mansion for the price of a crappy one bedroom apt in Brooklyn. I'm going to be taking French classes in the fall, so I'm just going to study for a while, and then we'll see what happens. I'm so excited to learn French!
Tell us about how your business started and how it's grown. Would you say it's gotten easier or harder?
I first started selling reconstructed shirts on eBay, and then I ventured into selling things I made from scratch. Eventually, I opened up Supayana.com, and then started selling to various boutiques across the US and Canada. I would say it's gotten easier because I was a full time Speech-Pathology student when I started doing my line. After I graduated, I could focus solely on my clothing and it felt like a breath of fresh air. It's much easier to stay creative when you don't have other things to stress out about.
The entire purpose of NEXT BIG THING is to support up-and-coming talent. What advice can you give to younger people who want to share their designs with the world?
Work hard and don't give up. Things may be rough in the beginning, but don't let that discourage you. It's normal and you're not the only one who is broke. Always follow your intuition and be good to other people who come in contact with. Make as many friends as possible... Never underestimate the power of networking.
Your fans seem wildly enthusiastic about the clothes you make for them. Can you share some outstanding email, letter, photo, gift, etc that made an impression on you?
One of my favorite gifts was from this girl Emily, who I've gotten to know pretty well through the internet in the last several years. She sent me a big box of beautiful vintage fabric from her mom's collection. I think it was from the 60's... I mean this is stuff you can't find anywhere anymore. Also, my internet friend Maria sent me something she got in Mongolia... and I thought that was really special. Oh, and someone sent me a rape whistle.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
I've been going to a lot of art shows here, so I've been really inspired by different artwork and what people are wearing there.
What was your dream job when you were little?
I was really interested in the paranormal. I thought it would be so awesome to research ghosts and measure auras. Then I realized I was really bad at math and that there probably aren't many open jobs for parapsychologists. I think my dream job now would be a professional garbage picker. I always find the best stuff in the trash!
We have to ask... What's YOUR fave entry from NBT 07?
Seriously???? I can't choose! They are all so awesome and I am in awe of how creative everyone is. Can I give you my top 5? In no particular order....The Baker's Edge brownie pan (I'm addicted to chocolate), the scented house necklace by Plastic Bat, the Mini Golf Windmill Tote by Mika Yamamura, and the grey striped jersey dress by Nice Face and Little Racoon's panda hats... Ahhhh! I think I'm having a cuteness seizure!!!
Yay, thx! Here's a quick final SPEED ROUND...
FAVE MOVIE: I like sappy love ones that make me cry!
FAVE DESIGNERS: My friends Laurel Wells, Rebecca Turbow and Angie Johnson (she designs for Yarncraft)
FAVE BOOK: I'm really into "The Secret Life of Plants". I also just found "Anna Karenina" in the trash and my mom is convinced I'm going to love it cuz she did when she was my age. Getting down with my Russian roots!
69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields. I can listen to that album all day.
FAVE CANDY: Dark chocolate! The cocoa content has to be 70% or higher, though. Milk chocolate is for wusses.