ODOR offers a diverse assortment of genderless looks, taking cues from childhood memories, history, nature and more. Growing up surrounded by the arts, Kalmykov always had a keen eye for interesting visuals. After honing the craft through studies at the Moscow State University of Design and Technology, Kalmykov developed ODOR, a label that would later go on to be shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.
ODOR’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is its first to not be designed with a central character in mind, something we delve into more deeply in our interview with Kalmykov. Schön! spoke with the designer abou this and the other inspirations for the collection.
First, what is your history as a designer?
Art was always around me, and it still is. My mother is a teacher of the arts, so special books and paintings were all around me [growing up]. Together, we discussed art history, great artists, and she gave me any materials I needed for creativity. Art activities were the only thing in my not rich family for which we’d spare no expense. So the only question was which direction in art to choose, and after I saw several Galliano shows for Dior, I decided to be a fashion designer. I was sixteen. Then, after I graduated from Moscow State University of Design and Technology’s six year fashion course, I worked for a few big mass market fashion brands and had an internship in a private atelier in Berlin. That was a great experience. And after that, I decided to concentrate on my own brand.
What inspired this collection?
This is the first collection by ODOR without a central character. It’s about freedom and the breath of spring, about first flowers and fresh wind. I had references to some episodes of my own childhood, when I travelled to my grandmother’s to help her in the garden. There, I used to smell lilies of the valley, narcissuses and apple blossoms.
Some of the pieces in this collection utilise vintage works. Can you tell us more about the process of incorporating those elements?
All the time, it’s a big research process. After moodboards and sketches are done, I start to find vintage elements and laces that can relate to this exact collection. I spend hours and hours at flea markets, chatting with private collectors. Then I have to adapt them to our price range and the future assortment of the final pieces.
What emotions were you looking to capture with this accompanying photo series? And how did you accomplish that?
These photos are about youth, peace and calmness. It’s like cruise journeys, which we can’t have during these severe times.
You’ve also decided to go genderless. Why is this important to the future of the brand?
It’s not only for the brand; it’s for life. I don’t think about it anymore. There are no ‘correct’ clothes for exact genders anymore — neither in fashion nor in life.
What is your design process?
First, it’s reflecting about nice and tender memories from my past. Then, when the concept is ready in my head, I start to draw the nude person of my collection, with his own character, face, body and pose. After that, it’s time to dress him up in different ways. The big part is making mood boards and putting together different fabric parts and buttons, laces. Next is making samples, fitting and finally, production.