How did Ukrainian designer Natasha Zinko become an epicentre of LFW?

by Ieva Zu

It was in 2015 that I first met Natasha Zinko and her amazing CEO John W. Murphy. This was the first season when Natasha Zinko, Ukrainian-born, London-based designer, was on the official schedule of London Fashion Week.

The beginnings of Natasha Zinko at LFW

John and Natasha, at the doorstep of their way to the fashion stardom, agreed to be a part of the Fashion Bloc launch event in October 2015. Together with fashion journalists Anastasia Fedorova (Calvert Journal, Dazed & Confused, Guardian), Bojana Kozarevic (i-D), PR consultant Ausra Prasauskaite and Not-Just-A-Label founder Stefan Siegel they were a part of a fruitful panel discussion about changing fashion demographics and the rise of the new European fashion capitals.

Fashion Bloc launch with Natasha Zinko (first from the left)
Fashion Bloc launch with Natasha Zinko (first from the left)

This was back in 2015. In her first on-schedule presentation at LFW (same year in September), Natasha Zinko has already had some international endorsements. It was the first time when I saw Leandra Medine (aka Man Repeller) at London Fashion Week. One of the best known US bloggers was back at Natasha Zinko AW17 show this year again.

So how does she do it?

Natasha Zinko, with a law degree from her home country Ukraine, moved to London in 2006 where she graduated from Central Saint Martins with a degree in Jewellery Design. Having started as a jewellery designer, she has expanded her label to Ready-to-Wear due to a huge ad-hoc demand from family and friends.

Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week, Fashion Bloc photo
Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week

This is a creative part of the story. The truth is, Natasha Zinko opened her first Mayfair (Central London) boutique in 2011. This must have required significant investment. Thus, the first ingredient necessary to grow a creative talent – financial support. Supposedly, it doesn’t have to be a store in Mayfair and personal funds, to win a design competition or a grant is a good first step.

Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week, Fashion Bloc photo
Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week
Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week, Fashion Bloc photo
Natasha Zinko AW17 at London Fashion Week

Let’s admit it, even if you have the exceptional design talent and a bulk of cash, there is more to that. Personality! The red-head designer has a very charismatic personality. Straightforward (coming from Ukraine, right?), very humble and bright (literally as well). In her own designs, she is impossible to miss on the streets, even in London.

Finally, the management. Even if you are lucky enough to have an alternative (business, preferably) background or training that design studies, your management team is the key to success. Natasha Zinko has an amazing General Manager John W. Murphy, who is not just a business person, but also a people person.

The result

And here is the result. London Fashion Week AW17, Day 3 (Sunday), 2.30pm – 4.30pm. Selfridges was there, Browns Fashion was there, Barneys New York was there, Avenue32,, Vogue – everyone came to see the live showcase. From Leandra Medine to Yasmin Sewell.

Barneys New York fashion team ©Instagram photo by John W Murphy
Roberta Benteler from Avenue32 ©Instagram photo by John-W Murphy

Jeannie Susan Lee (Designer Womenswear Buyer, Selfridges) commented on Natasha Zinko’s Instagram account: ‘Congratulations Natasha Zinko for the coolest show of LFW’.

Natasha Zinko's son posing with models at her show LFW, Fashion Bloc Photo
Natasha Zinko’s son posing with models at her show LFW

This might have been the coolest show. The designer didn’t have a catwalk presentation but did a 2-hour showcase with models dancing and having fun together with the guests. This is the usual format of Natasha Zinko’s shows, and it has proven to be a success; two hours of fame instead of 15 minutes, why not? Well, we did have fun.

Watch this space to see who’s next.