“My MBA at IFA Paris was very well organized and with the best of the best professors within the industry!”
Graduate from IFA Paris with an MBA in Fashion Business, Ukraine born Anastasia Babko and based in Paris, was hired by Condé Nast Russia - Paris office as fashion assistant for Vogue Russia, Tatler Russia and GQ magazines.
Michel Temman: Where do you come from in Ukraine and can you let us know about your path and journey to the fashion world?
Anastasia Babko: I’m originally from Sumy, a small city of the northeast part of Ukraine, with not much opportunities. There, I got my first degree in accounting and audit at the Ukrainian National Academy of Banking. While studying I felt that it wasn’t enough, I wanted to learn more about the world economy and trends. I started to look for job opportunities abroad and tried my chances. China caught my eyes, because this country was growing so fast and lots of professionals were heading there to get and share new experiences. Then I moved there, to Shenzhen. I was there for few years before moving to Shanghai. I started as a manager in a trading company and switched after to Oppo company, that produces smartphones. But again, it wasn’t enough. I got attracted into a new hobby: studying style. Sense of style always came to me naturally before, probably as I was influenced by watching singers and their videos and going through fashion magazines and observing people. Many people used to always compliment me on my looks, encouraging me to try and do something with it professionally. Then I thought that it could be quite an amazing idea as it kept me excited and I really enjoyed spending time doing it. I thought even I have a natural feeling of style, but I didn’t have education and couldn’t even differ two types of fabrics. I started to search for a school where I could get all the knowledge about the fashion industry and how it works.
M.T.: Then, you found IFA Paris. How did it work for you? And how valuable were your studies? Did you learn anything at IFA Paris that changed you and may be your vision?
Anastasia Babko: As I started browsing for fashion schools my criteria was simple: a minimal period of studying for a maximum of information and knowledge, as I already turned 26 then! It was not an option for me to spend again three to four years studying. Along with searching for school I encountered a problem: all the degrees like MBA require previous higher education in that field, which I didn’t have, as my degree was in economics. I started to narrow my search to schools who would combine fashion and economics together and where I could get in. Choosing between few schools and talking to former students, my choice for IFA Paris perfectly matched all my range of criteria offering an MBA program in Fashion Business. I applied in Shanghai as I was still living in China and after passing all the entry exams, I was very happy to be accepted. In the end of September, I moved to Paris. The MBA study program was very well organized with the best of the best professors in the industry! They were bringing so much of valuable knowledge and practice. I would say everything that I have learned helped me a lot and formed my vision on things as I was able to understand finally how fashion industry works and what place I can take. When I was thinking about fashion, the first thing that were coming to my mind was Paris. I don’t need to say much about it. We all know everything about this magnificent city, the heart of fashion!
M.T.: Talking about Paris, actually, you got hired there recently as an assistant stylist for several fashion editorials published in Vogue Russia or Tatler, highlighting brands such as Chanel, Chloé, Louis Vuitton or Pandora. What have you learned from this experience?
Anastasia Babko: Indeed, I am currently living in Paris – between four walls as everybody. I am working there as a fashion assistant at Condé Nast Russia Paris office, responsible for Vogue, Tatler and GQ magazines. And if shootings for the new issue takes places in Paris, I’m often invited to assist stylists. So far, I’ve participated in two shootings for Vogue Russia, for the March issue and one for the April one – a shooting with gorgeous supermodel Natasha Poly –, and also as a producer onset for the April issue of Tatler Russia. I’m loving the whole process, working with great professionals in the industry, to deal with clothes and see how amazingly it can transform people, different styles and creative ideas. The process of making a story and being able to work with masterpieces of designers gives me a lot of energy and inspiration.
M.T.: How do you envision yourself to be like in a few years?
Anastasia Babko: I imagine myself becoming an active, creative and successful businesswoman, stylish and with a great experience in fashion art direction and business, having lots of business meetings and events and traveling around the world! I speak six languages, so it gives a lot of opportunities. I would love to collaborate with celebrities on image creation. Investing in some interesting and meaningful projects also.
M.T.: Supported by brands such as BMW or Mary Kay and organized twice a year, the Ukraine Fashion Week, founded in 1997, has grown fast and attracts more than 60 creators and fashion designers. Ukrainian fashion scene and industry are rising. Do you feel its' dynamism? How would you characterize it?
Anastasia Babko: Indeed. I’m following and seeing these big developments, the rise of lots of new talents. Totally amazing Ukrainian fashion designers and creators, gifted with lots of talent, are bringing the greatest original ideas to the fashion world. Ukrainians designers have a very promising future as international fashion players, considering their powerful creative potential and originality. Many brands from my country – like Bevza, Natasha Zinko, Ruslan Baginskiy, Ksenia Schnaider, Litkovskaya for example – became really popular in Ukraine but also worldwide during the last years and can be seen worn by some of the most famous and influential celebrities. Fashion shows of some Ukrainian brands are being held in Paris and New York. It shows that more and more people are interested and that is a huge achievement!