Art Today have been bowled over by this emerging Fashion Designer and her vision, innovation, natural gift and environmental empathy. We first caught sight of Ineta Joksaite’s tremendous skill on social media and were keen to nail down an interview with her…
Ineta Joksaite didn’t start out on a career path in fashion, but instead found herself working as a night carer in a nursing home. One night, she experienced an epiphany, however, urging her towards the vocation of sewing for a living. Once she followed this motivational Road to Damascus, she didn’t look back! Sewing burgeoned into studying Fashion Design, which led to further education qualifications. She is now poised on the precipice of one of the most promising fashion and textile careers Art Today has seen in a long time…
1. What made you want to become a fashion designer?
Since I can remember, I have been obsessed with paper dolls and Barbies. I’ve also enjoyed creative writing, sketching and then painting, but these were just hobbies. I was a mum working in a care home, doing night shifts at the age of 26. One night, I had a dream about my late grandparents, who meant the world to me, and my Granny asked:-
‘But what is it that you really want to do?’
And I said:-
So she replied:-
‘That’s it! Go and sew!’
Then when I woke up, my life had changed. Suddenly, I had this acknowledgment. I accepted it and never looked back. I don’t know what exactly happened, but I am now here – years later – happy, and doing what I love. I went out and found my calling. How amazing is that?
2. Where have you studied?
My first introduction to the sewing machine was during Dress-Making classes in Belfast. After I showed some of my sketches to the teacher, she told me to go straight into the Fashion Design course – so I did. I transferred to a BTEC Level 3 in Art & Design at Belfast Metropolitan College. Then I moved to Glasgow, where I completed an HND in Fashion Design (with Production and Retail). Now I’m all set for my final year of a BA (Hons) at Glasgow Kelvin College.
3. Can you tell us more about the wedding dress you made?
I was visiting this lovely lady – a vintage collector and hat maker – in the South of France, and she took me to one of her favourite vintage markets. And there it was! This beautiful large bed throw, just dying in the pile of other fabrics. So I decided I couldn’t resist it and took it home with me. It was a tough decision on how to cut this precious piece of old fabric, so I played with it on the mannequin for a while. It took me 2 months to prepare, design and hand-sew everything in place. I tried to use as much of the vintage fabric as possible, and it turned out beautifully. I plan to bead it with fresh water pearls and sew a lining of organic silk dyed with avocado skins – that will give it a lovely, antique pink shade.
4. Do you always upcycle to source fabrics?
No, not always. I was first introduced to upcycling via my course in Belfast. I helped out a couple of charities by donating my reconstructed garments to them, and this showed me a whole new perspective. Since then, I have learned so many things, including what happens in sweat shops, child exploitation, garment pollution and more. It really broke my heart that my favourite thing – Fashion – could also be so traumatising to our world. Since then, I have never thrown away a single garment, and I always find a way to repurpose my own clothes, or find them a new home. I educate whoever I can about the importance of upcycling and reconstruction.
I do also work with new fabrics, but every left-over scrap is saved for my other projects, so ‘zero waste’ is becoming part of my fashion life.
5. What is your go-to fabric?
I have taken a keen interest in antique fabrics, and so more dresses are coming along at the moment. One of the fabrics is hand-made, white work from the 1800s. It is an exquisite but damaged cotton table cloth, and I can’t wait to make it into something breathtaking! In general, I like natural fibre fabrics that can be dyed, or contact printed with various plants. Mixing fabric types that do not traditionally go together can be fun, too!
6. Have you ever shown pieces in a fashion show?
Yes, I have. One of my costumes has been displayed at the Royal Opera House in London. I’ve also shown in a student competition catwalk show in Dublin, and my Belfast college fashion show. I made 2 costumes for a short Game of Thrones fan prequel movie called ‘The Wild Wolf’. The wedding dress (above) was featured in a fashion show in Glasgow. 2 of my dresses were shown in a charity project catwalk show in Mumbai, India [‘With Love from India’]- one worn by myself, and the other by an acid-attack survivor named Reshma. That was a very heart-warming event organised by Glasgow Kelvin College that I was proud to be part of. Of course there was our end-of-year college fashion show at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, where I presented my 3 outfit collection and an avant-garde bridal piece inspired by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
7. Who inspires you?
I love people who are unique and don’t get blinded by trends or wish to be like others. I am inspired by designers, writers, artists, small shop owners – who pour their hearts out to give to others. People who uplift each other. Positive, fun-loving, motivated and genuine people.
8. Who is your favourite designer?
This is quite a difficult question to answer as there are so many interesting puzzle pieces scattered throughout major fashion creators – it can never be just one! But at the minute, I adore the work of Zuhair Murad, Olivier Rousteing and Versace – also Stella McCartney.
9. If you could design for any particular label, which would that be?
It would have to be Versace. I just love their style, the vibrance, and I would wear everything myself.
10. What are your hopes for the future?
In the near future, I plan to open a unique type of shop – I can’t say too much at this time, but it will be awesome! I also plan to make and sell online. Whatever it will take to make it. I was contacted by a Milan trade show to present a collection of mine, and I am considering doing that next year. In the distant future, I want to open my own fashion institute, because fashion to me is more than just making clothes. I love teaching Fashion, and I want to be able to make a difference.
11. If you could invite any artist to dinner, who would that be?
Oh, I wish I could invite Gabrielle Chanel – that would be the dinner of a lifetime! But from a more possible perspective, I would invite Donatella Versace.
12. What would you like your legacy to be?
I want to make an impact. To help whoever I can. To motivate and inspire people. Leaving a strong, uplifting brand and also fashion schools. To write books. I would love to be quoted as a motivational designer with a hint of adventure!
13. What is your most useful piece of equipment?
My Fiskars scissors! I can’t start my day unless they are close by!
14. What preparation process do you go through before producing a final piece?
I create my own patterns, then I use a cheap fabric to make up a toile (usually). Once ready – and I am happy with the fit and look – the final fabric is cut and sewn.
15. What advice would you give to an aspiring fashion designer?
It does not matter that there are hundreds of other designers out there. We can all bring something unique and outstanding to the table. Never doubt your calling, passion or talent!
The best way to learn is by doing interships. Apply for various competitions, take part in everything and don’t be afraid to invest in your dream. It will pay off one way or another.
In the beginning, say ‘yes’ to everything – you never know where this might take you and what you will learn! Later, you will also have to learn how to say ‘no’. Just be you.
Create your goal by forming other smaller goals. Always think: What is the next thing I need to do in order to get what I want?
16. If you could collaborate with any other designer, who would that be?
Zuhair Murad. His breathtaking couture pieces are worth a sin. Collaborating with someone so vibrant would be a dream come true.
17. What accessories would you pair with the wedding dress?
I come from Lithuania where we have a lot of Amber washing up on our Baltic Sea coastline. Some truly astonishing pieces can be found which would really compliment the dress. Or pearls. This vintage look would work well with pearl beads and bracelets. Maybe a cute vintage fascinator.
18. Beach wedding or Church wedding?
I would say beach wedding. But not a regular type – something interesting and never seen before.
19. What were your thoughts on Megan Markle’s wedding dress?
A beautiful dress fit for a royal occasion. I just wish there had been more beading or some lace involved, but that is personal preference. The fit wasn’t the best and that put a stop to it being the perfect look.
20. If you could design a dress for anyone, who would that be?
Interesting question. So many lovely ladies out there! Well, I have always adored Charlize Theron, and if she wore my dress, I would be beyond happy! Maybe one for Beyoncé too. That would be a life-changing experience.
Art Today sincerely wishes Ineta bonne chance with her fashion career and future aspirations. Her sound moral compass, intention to create ethical designs and motivation to inspire others are admirable. Alongside her excellent end products and thorough grounding in fashion education – we think she’ll go far!
[Credits: Feature image – Ineta Joksaite (Instagram: ineta_e_j)]