It all started with a LARP. Not many can say that but for Kate and Anna, their friendship blossomed during a LARPing session in Ukraine. Kate had a history with historical reconstruction, and after she had Anna on her team – they inevitably felt they were more than just teammates.
Anna remembers, “I learned Katerina created beautiful things in styles I loved, and I wanted to learn to tailor. We agreed Katerina would teach me, and I’d help her in other things. And over time, I began to create historical and fantasy costumes and dresses that have become popular.”
Now they run Dress Art Mystery on Etsy and it’s one of the most popular destinations online for those looking to rock a Renaissance/Medieval inspired look. Surprisingly, to them at first, even wedding looks. So sit back and learn a bit from two friends who turned their LARPing friendship into a career.
Kendra: There seems to be a number of designers in this realm in Ukraine. Do you have a big renaissance/medieval scene there?
Dress Art Mystery: Yes, there are many talented people in Ukraine, and we are very proud of it. Not that we have a very large renaissance and medieval scene. If we are talking about the Renaissance, there is a dance community where people go in for historical dances and attend thematic balls. Medieval is represented rather as a group of clubs of historical reconstruction. Well and, of course, a part of them intersect with each other. Most of them are role players. In addition to festivals and balls, we sometimes have historically themed events where both Medieval and Renaissance clothes are also popular. Actually, we find fantasy themes are more popular.
Kendra: Were you two designing clothing before you started Dress Art Mystery on Etsy a few years ago?
Dress Art Mystery: Yes, we have been professionally engaged in the creation of historical and fantasy costumes since 2009. At that time we worked only in Ukraine. We were making costumes and dresses for reenactors, LARPers, theaters, and movies. But then we understood that we wanted our products to be seen by of the rest of the world. So we decided to open an online store. Of course, it was unusual to work remotely, without a fitting, but we developed such a system of structures that allow us to be sure of its perfect fit. The DressArtMystery store at Etsy was opened in January 2015, so soon we will celebrate our five year anniversary.
Kendra: There are a lot of photos featuring your works in weddings and engagements. Are those usually custom orders?
Dress Art Mystery: To be honest, it was rather unexpected that we became popular as a wedding studio. Basically, our costumes were created for LARP events and festivals. We had only one wedding project – our bestseller Silver gray elven dress. But now we really have a lot of orders for other dresses from our regular collection – both fantasy and historical – come precisely for weddings. More than half of them are custom orders. Some of them are completely individual developments from scratch. From the sketch to the finished product, the other part – partial changes in regular collection models. For example, changing colors, details, and decorations or other elements.
We’re pleased the brides and grooms trust us such an important mission because wedding dresses are always something special. In our turn, we are doing everything to make our customers happy, we are very attentive to all wishes and nuances, coordinate every detail of the dress, and every stage of production, so that the client gets exactly what he dreamed of. It even became our slogan.
Kendra: Back in the day when these outfits were the norm, men really went there in terms of elegance. Today, we see on red carpets that guys pretty much wear a basic suit and call it a day. Why do you think men lost their sense of extravaganza when it comes to fashion?
Dress Art Mystery: Modern style is first and foremost convenience, and then beauty and elegance. Fashion goes to simplifying the outfits, to universalization. Although even now some events oblige both men and women to the dress code. Of course, it looks less pretentious than the fashion of past centuries, but the modern rhythm of life dictates its own conditions
Kendra: What are your plans for Dress Art Mystery in 2019?
Dress Art Mystery: There are a lot of plans, and we are already working on their implementation.
In 2018, we released our first collection of casual clothing – IntegrityCasual. In 2019 we are going to expand it, to create many new looks for everyday wearing, but with the interesting “fantasy” points DressArtMystery. We often hear from our customers that they like our dresses so much that they are just waiting for more reasons to put on it again. Therefore, we want to make this dream come true.
Besides, we are working on new models in fantasy and LARP style. 2019 seems to be the year of The Witcher. So we are creating a series of costumes in a Witcher style, which can be worn at festivals, LARP games, and thematic parties. The fans of The Witcher will love it, we promise! We have new opportunities, modern technologies to create even more extraordinary suits; and partners, in cooperation with whom we will make not just clothes, but a full set with elements of LARP armor and details.
Our friends – GameFanCraft, who are the Grand Prix winners of the ComicCon Ukraine 2018 – are real pros in LARP and cosplay crafting. We have already discussed our ideas, ways of their implementation, and soon we will show you our joint development! Follow the news!
And of course, we will not ignore the other styles in our store. In particular, we are developing new dresses in the Renaissance, Victorian and Gothic style. We’ll show some of them in January-February in our store and Instagram. We’ll present the rest at the WGT festival.