Having only debuted her first collection in 2002, Tamara Pogosian is a designer to keep your eyes on. Born in Armenia, and raised in Russia, she moved to New York in 1992, a place she says is for the "dreamers and believers", and attended both Parsons and FIT. Now she has her own line with both a men and women's collection, and people are taking notice. You can check out her collection at showroom77 or at www.tamarapogosian.com, or on her myspace page. Though she is not a stranger to seeing her clothing on people in the industry (Leven Rambin regularly wears Tamara Pogosian), her #1 wish would be to see the ultimate material girl (Madonna) clad in her design. We wanted to hear more about what it's really like to have your own fashion line...even if Her Madgesty hasn't been caught sporting it (yet).
What was growing up in Russia like? I felt like I didn't belong there for a few years because the kids were not as friendly and I was extremely shy. Racism and stereotypes are common in every country if you're not a native. So having dark hair and brown eyes made me "different" among blond and blue-eyed Russians. I was called a Gypsy or "Negr" (means black in Russian...) However, eventually they all warmed up to me. My close friends from my class and I were in charge of all the "Art" activities and decorations for the school. It was very fulfilling for me to contribute as an artist.
Did you have a good childhood? My family has always been supportive towards me and my siblings in pursuing the arts. I took painting classes outside of regular school programs 3 nights a week and piano lessons 2 nights a week. I went to school 6 days a week and went to an Armenian Sunday School as well. This helped me become organized and developed my skills as an artist. At one point I was learning 3 languages at the same time. I spent my Summers in Yerevan, Armenia going to site-see, concerts, the zoo, theme parks and on the beach house by the Black Sea with my family.
When did you know you wanted to be involved in fashion? It's hard to say exactly when because I think I had that in me since I was 4 or 5 because I used to draw gowns for Princesses and Queens from reading so many fairy tales and watching Disney Movies growing up. But ultimately it felt "right" at age of 12, when I was watching Fashion Television on VH-1 hosted by Jeanie Becker (whom I had the pleasure of meeting after Oscar's Fall'06 Show in the Tents). She was incredibly genuine and warm and looks great!
Was it a hard adjustment moving to New York and being thrown into the fashion scene? Do you miss home? Well the reason why my family moved to NY was because I wanted to pursue a career in Fashion. So I was hungry for the opportunity to be thrown in to the fashion scene. It's always difficult at first to adjust to a new environment when you're young, but now I can live almost anywhere (preferably with a good climate) because NYC is a smaller version of the rest of the world. I love it here for that reason. It's the best place to be if you're an artist or a businessman or I call NYC a place for "the dreamers and the achievers". I love the architecture here, the streets, the energy, the people. "Home is where the heart is"... right? I have to say I must have a big heart because I love Yerevan and the history of my culture; Moscow is beautiful to me because that's where I developed as a young artist, NYC is my "fashion" home where I am growing as a designer. I don't miss a city, I miss my family because some of them don't live here anymore.
Where do you get your inspiration? Love.Music.People.
What is a typical day like for you? Every day is different and brings me different challenges. I never have the same day repeat itself. I don't like repetition so this is def the best thing about being a designer. I get to create different things all the time.
We understand you have freelanced for many companies including Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren. Can you tell us more about your freelancing efforts and what it's like to be working for someone else? I look up to these guys! I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work for such companies. It has been a valuable experience for me. However, I never saw myself working for someone else for a long time because I had my goal to have my own line but the right opportunity can change that. Working for anyone or with anyone comes down to relationships and respect, so it's good to work for other companies to see where you fit in best and how much you can bring to the table. I still design for other companies from time to time because I enjoy it and it's molding me into a better artist and designer.
The best part about my job is....I'm always learning and I get to wake up every day to design what I want.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20? I've learned not to make long term plans because life has it's own way of working things out but having a draft of plans is helpful. I will probably end up buying a house w/ a lake and a garden somewhere in Europe but will come to NYC to do Fashion Week every season.
Favorite place in New York? I have so many! Every part of the city is so different but every time I'm in Soho or the Meatpacking I feel like I'm back in Yerevan. I'm a sucker for beautiful architecture, great food, sitting in an outdoor restaurant when all you need is a light jacket drinking red wine with friends.
Who would you love to see your designs on? Anyone that wants to wear them. I'm not picky : ) and Madonna of course.
My style can be best described as.... Classic elegance with a flirtatious spirit.
Top 5 songs in my ipod... They change all the time. Music is one of my main sources of inspiration. It depends on my mood. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of music by Goldfrapp, NIN, DJ Lee Kalt and the new remix from DJ Rhenalt but Madonna never gets old.
All I want for Christmas is.... to be with my family.