"We have an exciting mission – to find new ways to tell people about art": meet the curator behind Art collections at DressX
DressX Classic Art collections curated by Olga Sushko have now been launched at DressX! Featuring the artworks of the world's most famous and influential figures in the history of art, the project allows its viewers to literally step into the paintings and experience the legendary works by wearing them on custom-made digital clothes. Olga Sushko – a former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Ukraine and Kommersant-Weekend Ukraine magazine, globetrotter and art collector – has joined DressX team to lead the Art project merging classic art, modern creativity, and digital fashion to introduce a completely new approach towards experiencing and consuming art. Before the launch of classic Art collections, we spoke to Olga about her experience in the creative field, current art projects, passion for food and, of course, the future of digital fashion.
You’ve had a bright career in journalism and fashion, becoming the youngest editor-in-chief of Vogue in the long history of the magazine. Nevertheless, your interest in art has always been apparent through artistic Vogue Ukraine covers and creative Art issues. How did your passion for art start to develop?
Working as a creative I have always been surrounded by unusual people – mostly journalists, fashion designers, and artists. I’ve also been visiting artists’ studios all over the world. Step by step I’ve got an impressive collection of modern art – partly buying, partly receiving as a gift.
While working in Vogue Ukraine, art became our language of communication with the readers. To show our incredible energy of freedom we used a synergy between our vision and the vision of international artists. I would say that my favorite projects at Vogue Ukraine were all of our art issues covers that we used to do every August. Especially a shoot with the actress Chloe Sevigny made by an underground photographer Nan Goldin, when Chloe was immersed in a lake in a transparent dress and a full set of Bvlgari diamonds.
During the last few years you have been actively working in the art field, creating several successful contemporary art auctions in Kyiv and a big art exhibition in Paris. How the idea for these projects was born? Are you mainly working with young Ukrainian artists or do you also feature international artists?
The purpose of the auctions in Kyiv was to create a new young generation of art collectors and to introduce contemporary artists to them in a playful way. That was a kind of an education through play. For me as well, as I had absolutely no experience in this field, yet I was obsessed with the idea of auction. And it turned out very successful. Two years ago I moved to Paris, and so the pull of Ukrainian artists expended with the international ones very naturally.
Recently you have also finished your internship in a Parisian Michelin Restaurant working alongside the famous chief Bruno Verjus. Tell us more about your interest in French cuisine and gastronomy. How do you combine it with your work in art, why did you decide to do this internship and what did this experience give you in a professional way?
I see gastronomy as an art form, which it surely is. I used to travel a lot to get different food experiences – I could even take two planes and one hour drive through the snowy Swedish steppe in December to have a dinner at Faviken restaurant that was run by chef Magnus Nilson, or fly to Tulum to get a dinner in Mexican jungles in a pop-up restaurant that made by Rene Redzepi.
My idea to have an internship at Bruno Verju’s restaurant was born simply out of the desire to jump to the other side, to be not just an observer or a taster, but rather a participant of the creation process. It was amazing, but perhaps the most difficult working experience in my life.
Tell us more about your current art projects. Did the pandemic affect your work in any way?
Currently I am working on a project called the Art Issue gallery. It’s an online gallery of affordable contemporary art. Due to the lockdowns we are testing the possibility to hold our auctions online. We also had an idea to make art dinners – private evenings where artists are cooking for the guests, but, unfortunately, had to postpone it this year due to the pandemic.
When the lockdown has just started a lot of museums opened the access to their collections online for free to the general public. How do you feel about viewing art online?
I think nothing can replace live contact or watching art in its physical version. When quarantine was lifted this fall in Paris, I took this chance to go to Louvre for the first time – it was totally empty.
Do you think that the Internet has made art more accessible to the general public? Speaking about this, do you think that art should be accessible for people for free, or does paying for art and watching it in a physical space make it more exclusive?
If you know how to see and notice beauty, you will pay money to other people with gratitude – for art, objects, beautiful clothes, food etc. It will bring joy to your life and as a result even more income.
Accessibility or gratuitousness of art will hardly help a person, who is not interested in it. We now have an exciting mission – to find new ways and solutions to tell people about art and spark interest in them.
Tell us about your Art project with DressX.
DressX Art project is a great solution to share knowledge about art and artists. We are currently launching a collection dedicated to classic masters – Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet etc. For each item of clothing we prepared non-trivial information – when and where it was created, and under which circumstances – so that the clients could have enough catchy details to make their own opinion about the artists and their works.
In your opinion, what can digital fashion bring to the art world?
I believe that DressX is a great project with a lot of possibilities in both fashion and art fields. All the project’s values are very well aligned – it is a new way to produce more sustainably and produce less.
Last spring I went to Spain to spend my birthday weekend there and only took a small hand luggage with me. Because of the lockdown I was stuck there for three months. It made me totally shift my perception and value system, and accept how minimal our real need for physical clothes is.
What benefits does digitizing of the artworks give to the artists and/or art lovers?
When buying one of the garments at DressX you are basically buying digital art. This is a totally new way of investment and also a great chance to introduce yourself to the art scene.
Do you have any specific goals you want to achieve with this collaboration? What are your plans for the future digital art collections and what should we expect to see next?
We are working on the idea of creating limited edition pieces with world famous artists. These art garments will be represented by DressX on respected auctions, becoming a part of the museums’ or galleries' collections.