How Silicon Valley Is Making Strides At New York Fashion Week

Profile on Mariya Milovidova

September in New York City is a month about change. As August vacations come to an end, everyone returns to the city after Labor Day Weekend, our unofficial end of summer. I was sitting in a cozy, minimally designed café trying the specialty iced tea when I noticed a small cardboard square posted on the wall with an inscription written by someone who had a knack for typography and an appealing insight to life: “If Plan “A” didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool.”

Mariya Milovidova's 2015 Fall Collection @NYFW

Let’s just say that at that moment, in all of the excitement and adventure of New York Fashion Week, I was doing my best to follow that advice. I was minutes away from meeting one of San Francisco’s hottest fashion designers who was coming back to The City That Never Sleeps to present for a second year in a row. This, of course, was after she had already been featured in Paris Fashion Week earlier last year.

Mariya Milovidova is a product of both Ukraine and the tech hub of Silicon Valley, providing the fashion world with a unique blend of technology and high fashion. Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Mariya, along with her close friend and brand ambassador Svetlana Jilenko, to hear a bit more about her brand, MM Art & Fashion. When you see Mariya’s designs, you immediately appreciate that her garments are true works of art. In her words:

“It’s not about making the dress for me, it’s about expressing my art through fashion.”

In fact, Mariya was formally trained as an artist and has been drawing since she was two years old. Her mother was an artist and her father a sculptor, so it’s only natural that she would take up arms in the creative world. What separates her from the rest, however, is her innovate process in creating her elegant and bold dresses.                                                 

Mariya Milovidova's Leather, Silk & Lace Dress Modeled by: Svetlana Jilenko

Coming from the Bay Area, it’s impossible to avoid the tech boom, no matter which industry you find yourself in. Using 3-D printing technology, Mariya’s paintings are printed on a variety of materials such as silk, lycra, and leather. Then, these different materials are combined to create a new look for the runway.

This year, she’s taking her 3-D printing process a step further. One of the pieces in her latest collection features a hand painted black leather dress combined with lace and a bit of silk, showing off a powerful train of sculpted fabric and edgy curves. This unique blend of materials and technology has caught the attention of many in the fashion world, including the notable fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. Last year for New York Fashion Week, Mariya featured a stunning dress studded with LED lights that she created in collaboration with Stylematic app creator Karen Song. While the photographers were electrified with her creation, they quickly turned their lenses to Mr. Cunningham, who was fast at work documenting Mariya’s flashing oeuvre-d’art. Not thinking much of it, Mariya shares, she was completely beside herself when her dress was featured in The New York Times just a few days later. This feature gave her a considerable boost in her career and fueled her vision to blend more technology into fashion.

One of her latest collaborations with SOLZ owner Brad Carrick led to the creation of a dress with her insignia that responds to sound. Imagine a lovely black cocktail dress that begins to light up when you engage in conversation or when your favorite song hits the dance floor. In Mariya’s words, “I wanted to give meaning to a little black dress.” In this sense, we see Mariya’s innovative drive to make a statement with pieces that become interactive performances in their own right.

By the end of our interview, I truly felt the unique and imaginative spirit of Mariya. She has a limitless passion for creating and a well-tailored palate that is spreading waves in New York and Paris. I closed the interview by asking Mariya how Living Out Social’s concept of living colorfully applies to her own life. Mariya answered, 

Mariya Milovidova walking the runway with her models @ Fall 2015 NYFW

“It’s about enjoying life every single moment. Some people say that you should separate personal life from business . . . but if you’re really passionate about what you do, then it’s impossible to separate the two.”

Take your passion and let it live through your work!