Irina Burdak Makes Mary Quant’s Mod Look Modern

March 24th, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Irina Burdak

Irina Burdak designed a collection for a young urban, chic woman. Mary Quant, Irina’s Master of Design muse, started her fashion career doing the same thing.

For anyone not familiar with Mary Quant all you need to do is think 1960s, mod, and miniskirt. She began her career at the age of 21 when she opened her own boutique with a particular client in mind: the Chelsea Set. The girls (close in age to Quant) of Chelsea, London, which was the pop-culture hub of 1960s London. The only problem was, as she set out to buy merchandise for her store, she found the kinds of clothes she wanted were not available. So, working from home, she began to create a look for the Chelsea girl.

Her approach was based on simple shapes and bold fashion statements. The looks took off and soon Americans were clamoring for the “London look,” which by 1965 included the miniskirt.

Mary Quant and the mod mini.

One of Irina’s looks certainly nods to the mod look, and Mary Quant would approve of the young fresh color palette Irina uses. But, her pieces are not period costumes for another Austin Powers flick. The Quant influence is there, but these looks are for today’s twenty-something client.

“My collection is for a woman in her mid to late ’20s,” notes Irina. “She’s a successful business woman, she’s very classy and chic, and she lives in the city.”

One look could easily go from office to happy hour, while another suggests the urban woman on a Saturday.

Irina brought a modern feel to her garments both in her silhouette and fabric choices, mixing some metallic fabrics with the corals and creams.

Irina used some metallic fabric for a more modern look.

While the clean lines and easy fit of her garments suggest Irina’s skill at construction, she says she enjoys each step of the design process, from concept through construction.

“There’s a great feeling when the patterns are done, and you pick your fabric, and then start to construct,” she explains, obviously relishing the journey.

While Irina now embraces patternmaking and construction, she didn’t’ come to CCAD knowing how to sew. She didn’t come to CCAD expecting to be a Fashion Design major.

A Columbus native since she was 11-years old (when her family moved to Ohio from the Ukraine), Irina started out at Columbus State Community College with an eye on a profession in medicine. With encouragement from a high school art instructor ( she had received a silver award medal from the Scholastic Arts Awards) she applied to CCAD. She came to CCAD thinking she would major in Fine Arts, but after attending a major selection session her sophomore year and visiting Fashion Design, she changed directions, again.

Illustrations & fabric swatches.

“I liked the idea of being able to construct my own clothing,” Irina said when asked why she wanted to study Fashion Design. And now she has a collection to send down the runway May 13.

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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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