Interview with Karyna Sukha, founder of Fabrika

Find out what inspired Karyna Sukha to launch Fabrika, a high-end fashion sampling and pattern making studio based in London, specialising in bespoke, luxury and contemporary garments.

What’s your career background?

I acquired first degree BA(hons) in Illustration and Visual Media in London College of Communication (UAL) in 2014 alongside with Diploma in Professional Studies, which allowed me to spend a year in the industry interning for creative companies.

One of the highlights of this time was my internship in Prague in Czechdesign non-profit organisation, which was part of the Erasmus program. It gave me a chance to explore new culture, and to meet great creative makers, understand the similarities and differences of art and design in different communities.

I had my further fashion hands on experience working for Tata Naka, House of Holland, Alexander McQueen and Tateossian brands. Within those four years I had a chance to work as studio and production manager, graphic designer, print and textile designer, and embroidery assistant.

Here I learned to overcome challenges faced by big brands. Through this experience I have developed persistency as well as flexibility and stress resistance.

Why did you start Fabrika?

Then I moved on to my first entrepreneurial step by recognising niche in the market of manufacturing in the UK. While I was working for a fashion brands mentioned I found it challenging to communicate the creative ideas designers had, to the existing manufacturers. 

This brought me to start my own studio, to be able to build transparent relationship with young creative fashion brands, to understand and implement their thinking, as we all had similar creative background. This is how I found sampling studio – Fabrika in 2016.

What does Fabrika do?

Today together with a team of six, we create garments for Richard Quinn, Phoebe English, Matty Bovan and several smaller labels and start-ups. In my managing director role, I deal with all business operations, including team leadership, client management, accounting, marketing and campaigns, prints development, garment design and construction.

My hard work paid off when I was nominated and short listed for the ‘Alumni Entrepreneur’ at the Creative Enterprise Award by UAL in July 2019. Even though I did not win the main prize, this opportunity provided a great chance to meet and network with creative individuals and expand my knowledge and connections in the industry.

Did you change your business at all during the pandemic?

At the very beginning of COVID-19 I started e-com retail expansion of my business and founded a new brand. Vavi Studio is a fashion brand, made locally, using responsibly sourced materials, specialising on hand illustrated fabrics designed by me.

What drives you?

As a young business leader I see myself responsible for the contribution to a sustainable future. I aspire to make Vavi an international sustainable brand, to invent new models of running the business and rethink brand identity. 

The fashion world is developing fast, I would like to keep up the pace. It has a very deep surface requiring a certain level of knowledge to be understood.

‘International Fashion Business’ master degree program will help me gain deeper understanding of fashion market and further develop skills like building sales strategies, optimising marketing plans, understanding of the global dimensions of fashion business and getting better in analysis of market, competitors and trends.

What’s your USP?

The main benefit to most of our clients is transparency and quality. Clients can see their garments being made and we can discuss any issues or changes required during process. We take great care of our employees, they work in a comfortable, relaxed environment and we pay fair wages. 

Also, our central location is great for any visiting brands or brands headquartered in the UK and Europe. Not to mention the stamp of being ‘Made in the UK’ and furthermore ‘Made in London’.

We can work from any stage of development, from a simple sketch or photo to a tech pack, or even a sample. However, we do ask clients to bring as much information as possible so we can have a clear understanding of their requirements.

What’s the biggest obstacle you have you’ve had to overcome?

There were a lot of challenges in both working in the big fashion brands and running your own company, especially for the young professional, who is still building the career.

There are a lot of stressful moments in business. Fabric delivery is late, pattern is missing, the quality is not good enough, seamstress got ill. Over the years I learned to stay calm in stressful situations, to keep the mind clear. Only this way it is possible to resolve the situation and see the way out. 

Another thing I am still working on is not to be in control of everything, As the business grow, I am realising I can not continue doing everything myself.

My challenge is delegating some of the responsibilities to others, and trust people in doing things right. And as an outcome from this, I am learning to communicate my ideas clearly to the others. This is very important.

Who inspires you?

I get inspired by young creative people who are not afraid to go for and reach their dreams. Communication with like minded enthusiast is definitely an inspiring thing as well. That is why networking is very important, and I prefer doing it in real life, that is why it is a bit challenging for me during lock down. 

At the moment I am inspired by these brands and people:

  • Ksenia Schnider – Ukrainian sustainable brand specialising on denim. Modern, innovative, always looking for the new ways to solve problem, few of their creations: pant-shorts hybrid, asymmetrical jeans, re-used textiles.
  • JW Anderson – I like the personality of the designer as well as both of brands he design for JW Anderson nd LOEWE. I like how he mixes the creativity with the simplicity of the form and comfort. Designer invents the future, while at the same time show his skills in craftsmanship. 
  • Daria Shapoval – Ukrainian journalist, activist and fashion consultant, who make Ukrainian fashion week global and  she was and still do rise awareness about Ukrainian fashion designers in the world. Daria is a fashion innovator, in my opinion and currently  she is developing digital fashion experience retail company, and actively working on collaboration with google on fashion tech ideas.

What your advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?

I would advise not to wait. Get up and start doing something. Even the smallest steps to your dream are already steps. While you are waiting life is passing by and when we realise it, it might be too late. Work will motivate more work, idea will inspire another idea. Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.

Find out more about Fabrika.