Georgia has increasingly been seen as a serious player in the high fashion industry. Designers from the country have made headlines across the European and American industry. Maya Tavadze is one of the latest faces to bring Georgian ideas and inspiration to the West.
Having worked in Ukraine, Central Asia, and Russia, she has a wealth of experience to draw upon.
However, before this, she was one of the earliest adopters of high fashion in Tbilisi, being ahead of her time. The designer of “Maya Tavadze Fashion House,” Director of “Universal Productions,” and the organizer of international beauty contests, fashion shows, and festivals, she is also a content creator for her own self-styled brand.
GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Maya to discuss her past, her projects, and what she sees for the future of her blossoming fashion brand.
“I grew up in a family where almost everyone on my mother’s side were artists or designers,” she tells us. “Making a design is as natural to me as making a cup of coffee in the morning. Also, I’m very good at drawing. This helped me a lot, not only in creating or design but in life too. In childhood, I would draw princesses in wonderful outfits, horses with strange harnesses, mysterious monsters, and more. Everyone around me predicted that I would be a designer and now I’m a fashion designer, producer and artist, but this is not a job for me – it’s a lifestyle. It is my passion. It gives me the possibility to feel completely free. Each fashion show, contest or event pushes me to pass new levels, and I’m always trying to come up with something new, smarter, better and more beautiful. I can’t even imagine myself with a boring job.
You had a magazine here in Georgia at a time when that type of publication was unheard of. What was that like?
Yes, I was an editor of a magazine. The name of the magazine was “MODEL” and it was in 1998. The first line of the first article in the magazine began with the words “Anyone can become a model.” Working on this magazine was both funny and hard at the same time.
I’m always trying to come up with something new, smarter, better and more beautiful
I dreamed of being an editor of a glossy magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Vogue, but there was no way. It’s not just about money; I’m talking about the quality of printing, the quality of photos and photographs. At this time there were no make-up artists, no photographers. Well, of course, there were old photographers from dusty photo ateliers and there were theatrical make-up artists, but this was definitely not what content for a glossy magazine was created from. Then, there was no digital printing, and offset printing was used. The magazine was really good because it covered fashionable life both all over the world and in Georgia, which, despite many factors, was still happening here and was at a very good level. I can’t even imagine how Georgian designers made their collections in those times, but the collections were created, the shows were held, it was a wonderful time and we wrote all about it.
Your brand “Universal Productions” is involved in a lot of beauty events. How has that been and what’s the most exciting thing about working in the field?
Beauty contests for me are like air, and to get into my first beauty pageant as a national director, I had to take out a loan from a pawnshop under the guarantee of my wedding ring. The competition was held in Kyiv and I did not have money for a flight, so I handed the ring to a pawnshop and unfortunately lost it. It was fatal and symbolic. With this step, I exchanged a calm family life for contests and a crazy, hectic fashion life. I remember everything from that very first competition to the smallest detail. I returned from Kyiv energized, and decided to create an event management company. More than 20 years have passed since those times and I do not regret that I lost that ring. And I’ve since been a designer, organizer or guest at numerous other fashion shows in different countries.
I founded production company Universal Productions and started to organize fashion shows and beauty contests. I like this job because every project is different, exclusive, and not one is similar to another. Every day something new happens here, and it’s very interesting, funny, and certainly not boring.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs from, and who influences you the most?
I believe that absolutely all ideas already exist. They are simply stored on a huge invisible portal that hovers around us. Imagine a super huge hard drive with all the files of the past, future, and present. Ideas are actually born there and the time comes when the mature idea must leave the portal and be born. At any given moment, talented people will catch these ideas and help them to materialize. I also consider myself such a person, so the term “inspiration” is not right, here, as my ideas come straight from the source. I’m like a diamond seeker or pearl diver: I dive for it into the far, deepest, and bottomless depths. I’m a hard worker and I’m a prospector; an “inspiration” for those who can’t dive into themselves and make remixes from other people’s work. I often inspire others, but others rarely inspire me.
All ideas already exist, stored on a huge invisible portal that hovers around us. At any given moment, talented people will catch these ideas and help them to materialize
What does the future hold for you and your brand?
“Maya Tavadze” with UP (Universal Productions) must grow, and reach higher and higher levels. I want to keep creating, fly freely and not turn down any crazy or incredible idea. Let’s see where this takes us.