Surzhana Radnaeva is a "slow fashion" fashion designer who is dedicated to preserving traditional techniques while using forward-looking materials in her fashion lines for her designs. Having grown up surrounded by the vast natural landscape of Siberia, her style is influenced by her cultural roots and an intense connection to nature. The designer redesigns traditional costumes and adapts them to current fashion trends. In doing so, Radnaeva not only uses traditional forgotten materials such as kozo, fish leather or amadou mushrooms, but also agar-agar bioplastic or kombucha leather. Whereby she uses bacterial dyeing of the materials to develop unique creations. Radnaeva is also dedicated to preserving traditional clothing and material-making techniques by adapting and transposing them into our contemporary world. She sources traditional materials directly from material artisans, supporting their work and ensuring that their art and knowledge continues to thrive.
The esc medien kunst labor presents two creations from the Materia Bruta line, which was created to give a contemporary face to traditional costumes and techniques. Undina is a shirt that proposes an environmentally friendly alternative to the material "sequins": Instead of plastic, the designer used agar-agar to create the iridescent sequins for her top. The sequins for the Undina top were created in collaboration with Carolyn Raff.
In an aesthetic that oscillates between armour and mermaid, Undina reflects a juxtaposition of strength and beauty that unites the concepts of sustainability, closeness to nature and urban fashion.
Memory of Gami is a vest produced from paper. The vest was produced in collaboration with the company "Moulin du Verger", one of the last artisanal paper mills in France that specifically recycles waste products from the city. Thus, "Moulin du Verger" uses old handkerchiefs from the city and transforms them into durable paper. The design of the vest is based on a zero-waste approach that ensures no valuable paper is wasted during the production process. The aesthetic of the vest reflects the beauty of the material: the interplay of light and shadow in the folds of the paper gives the garment an almost sensual depth and texture.
Radnaeva's work is a successful example of how slow fashion can be a powerful tool for preserving cultural heritage, using new technologies for good, and promoting sustainability in the fashion industry. As the designer remarked about the collection: "In our modern world with its major environmental challenges, everyone has a role to play. The fashion industry, in particular, is considered one of the most polluting industries, which places a great responsibility on all sustainable actors, including myself. The challenge is to act responsibly and in harmony with our environment, and to culturally reconnect with ourselves and communities in a rapidly changing and globalized world. This project addresses both aspects. The focus is on biomaterials that connect us to the environment and anchor us in our cultures and identities by building on traditional patterns. The MATERIA BRUTA collection represents the first hopeful and persistent step towards wearable garments made of different biomaterials.”