We talked to Amanda Pastyrnak about her journey in creating her brand, Olga Pastyrnak. She talks about her inspiration and passion for perusing her dream for becoming a fashion designer. Through her designs she inspires women to be creative, unique, and own their individuality.
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Was it always a dream of yours to become a fashion designer?
Yes, and it’s never wavered! I got the brand logo tattooed on me at age 17, that was my first sign of commitment. People often remark that it’s courageous or impressive to pursue a creative dream, but when you have that dream, it’s a part of you and it doesn’t feel optional, it just feels like what you’re meant to do. I’ve never even considered a plan B, and there have been plenty of periods where staying on this path seemed downright insane!
What was your journey like to creating Olga Pastyrnak?
As you see, it’s been a long one! And this is still just the beginning. But I’m really happy with where the brand is right now. I am super passionate about the messaging behind our brand, which is to encourage women to take total control over their unique style and own it completely, instead of allowing a designer, or an editor, or an influencer to dictate how we each dress. This is why our business model is so unique- we want every single customer to put her own personal spin on the clothes we make, so that each piece best represents the woman wearing it and is a reflection of her unique taste.
Tell us about the name of your brand, Olga Pastyrnak.
Well, Olga is my middle name. I was named after my Ukrainian grandmother, Olga Sawiak, who became Olga Pastyrnak when she met my grandfather, William Pastyrnak.
The brand is very different to what is already out there, it consists of unique silhouette fashion pieces. Tell us a bit about your vision in creating these pieces?
Thank you! I think it’s pretty unique. So my goal with all of my silhouettes is to create a blank canvas that can be transformed by color to reflect different women’s preferences. That being said, my designs certainly do carry certain of their own characteristics. They are minimal, modern, and sculptural, but also have a sexy, feminine, effortless 90’s feel to them as well. I’d say those two aesthetics combined are what my ideal style is- confident and strong, but with a cool, easy side.
You offer a try-before-you-buy model so customers can get a true at home shopping experience. How does this work?
Yes! It’s such a fun process, I’m so excited to be able to offer it. For absolutely NO cost and NO commitment, anybody can try our clothes. You simply shop for a style on our website as you would on any ecommerce site, but instead of “buy now”, you have the option to “try it first”. When you choose this option, the price drops down to zero, and you continue the checkout process for free. We then ship you 3 dresses to try on- whatever size you indicated on our site, as well as a size above and below. That way, if your normal size isn’t right for you in our brand, you have a larger and smaller size to try on and find your perfect fit with us. We also send out fabric swatches of the 19+ colors that you can choose from. So after you send the samples back (did I mention shipping is free both ways?), you can order the dress, confident in the fit, and in any color that best represents you! We make everything to order, in 2 weeks flat, all in NYC.
How do you use your brand to empower women?
For me, empowerment is a natural side effect of owning your choices. Knowing who you are and making decisions based on your personal character, convictions, principles, and tastes, is key to that. Sometimes it makes you stand out, sometimes it’s unpopular, sometimes it’s weird, but if you know who you are and own it, and live by it, you can’t help but feel empowered. So as far as translating that to clothes, I simply want to encourage women that when it comes to what they wear, they should also make choices according to what best suits them in all their uniqueness. By letting women get involved in the final outcome of a dress they buy from Olga Pastyrnak, I want to remind them that they are the authority on their style, not me as a designer, and not anyone else. I want them to stand taller, and be empowered knowing that they have ownership of what they’re wearing.
If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would they be?
Sharp, chic, irreverent.
What are your thoughts on the current fashion industry today?
I think a lot of people lose their sense of self and personal taste in the great big machine that is the fashion industry, and trends, and all of that. I think it’s an area that people don’t feel total freedom of choice in, because if you want to stay “in” fashion, there are certain rules to follow. I personally feel that that hinders a lot of people from feeling their best and most confident, when they don’t feel fully themselves in what they’re wearing. So that’s the arena I feel led to occupy, to remind people, especially women, that their opinion is the most important one when it comes to how they dress, and they should never compromise that.
Here at BELLA our tagline is Beauty Defined by You. How would you define beauty?
I couldn’t agree more. Beauty, like fashion, is so so personal. It’s got to enhance who you already are, not mask it or misrepresent it. You’ve got to always feel like yourself, in my opinion. That’s when you stand the tallest, feel the most confident, and can really make your mark on the world.