From Here to Mars
Written by Sophia J. Gonzalez | August 2013
“There’s this idea of using 3D printing to print a huge station on Mars,” declares Olga Kuryshchuk. She is reflecting on the dumbfounding speed with which technology, like fashion, changes and upturns all in its wake. And suddenly, the conversation calibrates. It often does with Olga. It’s like trying to cross-examine a witness who replies only in brief anecdotes, much to the amusement of the jury, before finally returning to the original question: what does she hope to do in five years? “I don’t have any ideas yet, but something will happen.”
In spite of a mercurial future – for there is hardly a future as unpredictable as the one belonging to this third-year British university student – there is no doubt that for Olga, much will happen. In the world of Central Saint Martins, she is an anomaly, an enterprising witticism to the prescribed afterschool special of downing a pint (or four) at the Star of Kings, the unofficial college pub down the road. Why, when Saint Martins moved from Charing Cross Road to 1 Granary in 2011, did Olga start a blog by the same name, and in its adolescence, print a biannual magazine that sold out across stores in London? “It’s about meeting those professionals,” she says. “I want to see how they work. I want to try everything.” It’s as if Olga is an endless spring of curiosity, from which creative endeavours naturally are born.
Aptly titled “The Birth Place”, 1Granary’s first issue emerged like a beacon of talent from within the newly converted wasteland of Kings Cross. What distinguishes its delivery is the way 1Granary connects Saint Martins then to Saint Martins now. There is hardly an artistic soul unfamiliar with the truism that the college breeds fashion and design visionaries: Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Katie Grand and Christopher Kane. The blog-et- publication undoubtedly taps into yester-lore with photographs of Grand’s first fashion shoot as a knitwear student and conversations with Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. And then it fast tracks to the present: student Q&As and high-impact editorials styled in their work and shot within the granary-cum-college.
But it is the notion of democracy, gently yet explicitly reinforced under Olga’s leadership, which appeals to contributors and readers alike. “The politics at 1Granary are that the doors are open to everyone,” says Olga. The 1Granary tagline “by the students, for the students”, as online editor Sara McAlpine also explains, ensures that all Saint Martins students have a platform with which to showcase their work. And in true Saint Martins bravado, there are no boundaries to how students get involved.
“When we started, none of us had a clue how to do anything. But we had a shared aim to do something amazing,” says Greg French, associate editor. As it turns out, “amazing” – or a concept within the periphery thereof – makes for an easy sell. Even peddling 1Granary copies from a small car did not stop London’s top shops like Opening Ceremony and Dover Street Market from asking Olga for copies. Before retrieving a suitcase stuffed with copies from the car, she recalls telling vendors, “‘Oh, it’s just outside...Here it is!’” She laughs, adding later, “It’s funny because they’d be pretty shocked.”
Easy comings have not changed Olga’s perspective. Now with an office in Shoreditch and a fashion community primed for the next issue – to be released in March 2014 – talk among 1Granary staffers largely centres on the future. Will 1Granary become fully indoctrinated into Saint Martins as part of a fashion journalism course? No decision has yet been made.
As Olga knows better than most, a lot can change in the future. “A year ago, I thought I would run a blog and close it down,” she muses. “Then somehow, we made a magazine and I thought, ‘We make an issue and close it down.’” Today 1Granary. Tomorrow Mars.
This article was published in MUUSE’s first print publication.