Nelli Nedre is a fashion designer from Saint Petersburg who, despite of her young age, has her own fashion brand Gills Clothes and who has been bound up with the buzzing world of fashion industry for many years now. Nelli will be showing her collection “Kinesthetic” at Fashion-Performance-Dance, an annual fashion competition held in Tartu, Estonia on the 3rd of May.

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

Please introduce yourself. Who are you and where do you come from?

My name is Nelli Nedre. I’m a designer from Saint Petersburg and I have been working in fashion design for more than 5 years. When I say that, I feel that’s a long time for my age. This summer, I will be 25 and now I’m a designer at Gills Clothes. Before that, I worked for a big Russian streetwear brand, travelled to China to check on our factory, took care of the photo shoots for our online shop and did a lot of things which taught me how to set up my own company.

What is your impression of arts and fashion?

Before this serious brand, I have worked for other fashion labels in my city since the third year at the university. I did this without salary and in order to gain experience. It gave me a lot of knowledge of fashion, helped me to know the shops and new people ‒ photographers, models and stylists. After 5 years, I formed my own style in fashion, an understanding of what I exactly want to do and how to do it ‒ I want something more than just sale my clothes. Art impresses me, I travel a lot and try to say something with my designs. Like now, all my collection is about kinesthetic – about tactility which we lose by living a busy virtual life with millions of gadgets.

How do you describe your style?

At Gills Clothes we call it “intellectual basic”. It’s the basis of all wardrobe but with some design details, like holes in sleeves to wear it on thumb. From colours, we prefer black and monochrome. You can wear Gills clothes with another brands, with high heels or sneakers, and in both cases it will be stylish.

Where do you find your inspiration for collections?

I can be inspired by everything, by art or by just one person. Last year I was travelling for 6 months and, of course, it was very inspiring to me. But my biggest inspiration are the books of Virginia Woolf. I also think emotions and feelings are the most important things in our life. And if you don’t feel anything you are not alive.

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

What is your purpose as a fashion designer? What would you like to achieve?

I think fashion design now is like new art. Design helps people to deal with their problems. I think for me it’s like art therapy and a way to say what I feel or what I want to feel. And of course it’s a way to earn money for living, so I am a happy person that it’s my vocation. At the moment I would like to do more projects with people in art or with a photographer. Maybe even clothes for theater (I love it very much). Right now, me and my friend are planning to do a photo magazine and take pictures of my clothes to show our concept in live with movement and feelings.

What has been the biggest disappointment in your design process?

I have never been disappointed in anything, everything in our life is a new experience.

What was the most memorable fashion show you have participated in?

I have done some fashion shows, but it’s such a big stress. I don’t remember what happened to me ‒ I was just tired, but felt happy again after a few days. Once I did an exhibition of my university works and first collection in an old building with three big halls in the center of Saint Petersburg. In every hall there was one collection and photo shoots of it. We had created a specific atmosphere with music and colour of the walls which matched each of the collections. People who know me, my friends and my family all came. This atmosphere was so exciting and comfortable for me. That’s the reason why I think it was my best show.

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

Gills Clothes by Nelli Nedre, accessories Asya Malbershtein. Photo: Tima Sergeev

At this year’s Fashion-Performance-Dance you will present your own brand called Gills Clothes. Tell us more about the concept. What inspired you the most? What is the meaning for Gills?

My brand Gills Clothes is for people who understand who they are, they listen to themselves and are very honest. Kinesthesis is the main philosophy of this brand and we try to underscore it in every way ‒ like with some structural details or by very tactile fabrics.

In your opinion, what makes a good fashion show?

Fashion shows are not only about clothes anymore, designers must show their entire worlds. You can use some very emotional music or make a performance, show it only online or make a film and sale it on iTunes. We have many possibilities to stand out from the crowd. To me, the best shows are where you can feel what the designer wants to say to you to the max and dive into his world.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind if you think about Estonian design/fashion?

When I think about Estonian design or fashion I see natural or folk crafts.

What is the coolest trip you have ever been to?

I have been in a lot of different places ‒ Tate Modern in London, Buddhist temple in China, for example. When I’m going to travel around the world I will tell you. But I also think all the places where you can see the nature. I am happy in the mountains, because I grew up in a village and feel contact with the beauty of the nature.

Gills Clothes on Facebook.
More information on Fashion-Performance-Dance can be found here.