Meet Daria Shugaieva, A Ukrainian Artist who designs fashion as well

by Amir Bakian

I saw Daria’s paintings recently at Les Couleurs Art Gallery in Downtown Miami. When I found out that she was from my hometown of Odesa, Ukraine. I wanted to meet her and chat about her art and passion for fashion.
How did you wind up in South Florida?
We came to South Florida for vacation, and once the war started on February 24th, 2022, we never went back. Odesa is a beautiful city; I miss it every day.


You are a typical mix of Greek, Ukrainian, and Russian. Tell me a little bit about that.
My mother is Greek, Odesa had a large Greek community, and we were proudly a part of it. While I have been many times in Greece, I am still waiting to have my creative experience there, which I am sure I will at some point. The light in Greece is amazing, I cannot wait to paint there.
What is your degree in?
English Language but I was constantly drawing portraits, collages, and fashion illustrations. All my feelings, fears, and uncertainty found a place of peace on paper and easel.
Tell me about your fashion experience?
I was already a mother of two small children when I had an idea for a Ukranian Brand that would be called Aphrodity. French Fabrics and the character of a Greek goddess. Just as the brand took off after a top model from Ukraine, Alla Kostromichova wore one of my outfits at NY Fashion Week in February 2020. But unfortunately, then COVID happened. The cloth and fabrics were in a warehouse near Odessa Airport when a Russian missile hit it. All my work burned down. But I am still young, I hope to rebuild the business eventually.


Who are your favorite designers?
I am inspired by the genius of John Galliano. He is an artist who created more than a dress. His shows brought fashion into a new era of creativity and performance. Another great genius is Alexander McQueen who was not only an extraordinary designer but an artist with a fascinating sense of style, creativity, and passion.


What is your inspiration for art? Which painters? What style do you consider your art to be?
It comes from nowhere and everywhere. I am not searching for it. It can be a regular day and I see my reflection in a cup of coffee or read a historical article on the history of Ukraine or maybe my memories. The painters who inspire me are Salvador Dali, Yayoi Kusama, and Frida Kahlo especially, her spirit and passion for life are already an art itself. I would say my style is eclecticism since I combine several techniques: contemporary and academic art, use of symbols, and sometimes folk motives.
All photos feature Daria’s fashion brand Aphrodity.
Follow her on Instagram: @Shugadaria.usa
Presented by APG

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