October 10, 2011 | 8:30am
Anya Melkozernova says she knew she would be involved in the fashion world since she was a kid growing up in Russia.
"I've always been into creating art," she says. "And I see fashion as an artistic expression."
When she was younger, that sentiment translated to making clothing for her Barbies. Today, Melkozernova sells her life-sized creations at local Phoenix shops Conspire
and Galina Couture
, designer Galina Milhaleva's Scottsdale boutique. She also showed at Scottsdale Fashion Week
Melkozernova, who graduated from Arizona State University
with a bachelor in Fiber Arts, regularly rocks her own designs, which she describes as feminine, eccentric, and, most importantly, fun.
"If I want to be a pirate one day of the week, I can be a pirate," she says.
What are you wearing?
I'm wearing a handmade top and skirt that I made from scratch. My shoes are from urban outfitters. And the purse I'm carrying is from Japan, and I found it at Buffalo Exchange.
What's your favorite thing to wear?
I like wearing stuff I make. That's when I feel most comfortable. I like to make and mix patterns that you normally don't see together. Weird stuff like that.
What's the most attention grabbing thing you've worn?
I usually wear attention grabbing things, but I recently started wearing this lipstick with bright blue sparkles.
What's the last item of clothing you bought?
The last thing item I bought was an Anthropologie dress from a Buffalo Exchange in New York.
Where do you usually shop?
I like to shop at Buffalo Exchange a lot. Sometimes I go to Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie too. But I really like going to places that recycle clothing.
What do you like to accessorize with?
I love rings. They're my favorite. Also, I always lose my earrings, so I only wear earrings on one ear. I like all kinds of necklaces too. I also make my own cuffs cut out of leather. I'm always wearing those.
What item of clothing do you most covet at the moment?
I want a jacket for the fall. I love jackets, specially fitted blazers.
Where would you love to have a shopping spree?
If I could have a shopping spree anywhere, it would be at a Vivienne Westwood store in London.
What are some of your style icons?
I'm kind of obsessed with London and everything English, so Vivienne Westwood. I also really like Gwen Stefani's fashion sense. Also, Isabella Blow, Alexander McQueen, and Björk.
Give us a childhood memory of you and clothing:
The first time I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer I was 8 years old. I was watching this avant-garde film on fashion of the 80s. There was this shot of models walking down a runway naked. It was like this perfect oxymoron. That inspired me to make my own Barbie clothes and from there I started making clothes for me.
Name five things every woman should have in their closet:
1. A nice white blouse.
2. A blazer.
4. A nice pair of fitted straight leg pants.
5. A pair of striking shoes.
What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix:
I wish the people would dress for their silhouette. A lot of people will dress in latest trends, but not all of them work for your body. Dress for your own body. If you find something that accentuates your best assets, you will never go wrong.
Melkozernova's hand made skirt.