Thoughtful design sums up Marina Davis’ approach to fashion and her Ovna Ovich label. We asked her about the materials her garments are made from, as well as her mission statement, and what the future of fashion looks like to her.
Interview Carolyn Enting
What is the story behind the name, Ovna Ovich?
Ovna Ovich pays homage to my Russian heritage. Seeing as I am geographically removed I wanted the brand to be something to be with me here. Ovna and ovich are Russian suffixes for female and male and references my aesthetic for balancing feminine and masculine qualities. I like to think of it as a balance of energies.
When did Ovna Ovich launch?
I started working on the project in 2012 and the first chapter was released in the spring of 2013.
Where you did grow up in NZ? Did your upbringing inspire where you are now?
I grew up on an isolated farm in the deep south, with overwhelming views of the Pacific Ocean. I was alone with my imagination a lot and so in tune with the natural world that this grew in me a deep appreciation and ability to create something out of nothing. We didn’t watch very much TV and there was only one little shop that opened around Christmas and New Year, when the holidaymakers came to stay in the cribs.
What is your brand purpose/mission statement?
To drive a positive shift in the fashion world by providing an ethical and sustainable alternative to the short-sightedness of the industry, while still producing an outcome with uncompromising attention to aesthetics and quality.
If you had to describe your point of difference, what would that be?
I don’t like to create a work just for the sake of it, I build a story that means something deeper than the surface appearance. I’m a trained performance designer so everything needs to make sense.
How would you describe your brand aesthetic?
My passion growing up was classical ballet so I’m drawn to elegance, but I also like to not toe the line, so a balance of something rawer and free is in the mix.
What fabrics do you love working with most, and why?
I’ve just started working with a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic linen which I love, you can really feel and see the difference from the lack of chemicals. I’m also a massive fan of the sustainability of hemp and I’ve made some t-shirts using GOTS certified organic cotton blended with hemp, that have been locally dyed with eucalyptus leaves.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of the Good Sustainable Style Show at NZ Fashion Week?
Getting to meet other like-minded designers and showing what we do to a thoughtful audience.
What will you be showing on the runway?
Chapter 10 ‘A Beautiful Life’ which draws on my Russian mother’s birthplace of Harbin, China and where she was brought up as a result of the Russian Revolution, along with many other Russians.
What is your hope for the future of fashion?
That the protection of our environment and the respect for all people in the production chain, becomes a core guiding force for all brands.