Today we’d like to introduce you to Masha Titievsky.
Masha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I moved to Chicago in 2013 after majoring in Business & Fashion Design at Indiana University. My first job after graduating was an Assistant Buyer position at a personal shopping company called CakeStyle. I then moved into several management roles at companies like A | X Armani Exchange, LOFT, and Lacoste while developing my line VARYFORM on the side at Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s, a 2-year residency. I’ve been lucky to have shown my work in NYC at Lord & Taylor, in Boston on Newbury St., and in Chicago at various selling events like StyleChicago and gallery shows at Positive Space Studios. Nina Garcia has recognized 2 of VARYFORM’s signature wool crepe styles (Clara Classic Shift & Phoebe Flare) through my involvement with the designer pre-sale platform NineteenthAmendment.com. VARYFORM has been included in Tatler Magazine’s August 2018 issue, featuring the Aquila Wool Crepe and Silk Velvet coat. Now, I continue developing VARYFORM while working as a technical designer for a local patternmaker Xochil Herrera Scheer.
Has it been a smooth road?
As most entrepreneurs and designers must know, starting a business is never easy or smooth. What has helped me was being very resourceful and seeking out mentors. Although I conceptualized VARYFORM before even hearing about the fashion incubator program, I would not have been able to take it from idea to reality without mentors like Andrea Reynders, Birgit Rohm, Jane Hamill, and Trideep Das who offered invaluable support during my time at CFI from 2015-2017. I am currently on the board of Fashion Group International of Chicago for a two year period which has allowed me to connect with a variety of people across fashion, interiors, and beauty. Fashion design is a challenging and competitive field, and it helps to be connected and informed as a baseline. For those just starting out, I would highly recommend to give yourself time each week to develop your connections in some way and also to learn from experts. Some easy actions you can take to go in the right direction: stopping by a networking event (it’s not that scary!), taking a Skillshare course or local figure drawing class to improve your skills, and taking time to reach out to your LinkedIn connections and recognizing their achievements and personal milestones. Another point to remember is that everyone is figuring it out!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into VARYFORM story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the founder and designer of VARYFORM, a designer womenswear line based here in Chicago that I started in 2014 and launched in 2015. The name VARYFORM takes inspiration from fashion’s ability to transform the wearer and also from a pattern drafting tool called the Vary Form Curve Rule. The line focuses on bold and sophisticated separates made from luxurious fabrics like silk and wool in classic and flattering cuts. Aesthetically, I like to bring feminine details inspired by patterns in nature to enhance the body’s proportions and bring optimism and unstoppable confidence to women. That’s the goal in each collection! I am particularly proud of my ability to custom fit any garment and style it according to my customer’s lifestyle. While VARYFORM is a ready-to-wear line, I think the one-on-one bespoke approach is the most fulfilling for myself and for the customer. What sets VARYFORM apart from other brands is the luxury approach at a contemporary price point level. Collections are designed with an artistic story rather than an “assortment” approach and are created with high-end fabrics typical of luxury brands and sold with a personal touch.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
As I mentioned before, mentors have been key in my development so far. My advice is to find real-world communities where possible, rather than just focusing online. Some ideas would be: Fashion Group International, Fashion Mingle, Meetup, Eventbrite, Professional Women’s Club of Chicago, SOHO House, and 1871 are some options to check out. Always have business cards (it’s faster than having someone look you up on IG) and research the speakers or hosts beforehand! These events are usually short, so come to them, dressed your best with lots of positive vibes to make your best impression.
- $400 Custom Services Min
- $95 Pre-Order Styles Pricing Min
- $30 Half Hour Design Consultation
- Website: WWW.VARYFORMDESIGN.COM
- Email: MASHA@VARYFORMDESIGN.COM
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/VARYFORMDESIGN/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/varyformdesign/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/varyformdesign
Tim Fernandez, Carissa Lancaster