The legacy of the Soviet past of Ukraine is everywhere around us. It perpetuates architecture, habits of the previous generation, and fashion. While for some people it is a source of frustration, others find ways to reflect on and get inspiration from the odd looks people around are nailing. And so does Snizhana Chernetska, the author of Kyiv Bag Digest and a graphic designer. Here, we’re finding out how she came up with the idea and what inspires her.
All photos courtesy of Snizhana Chernetska
SEE-K: Looking at your Bag Digest, there comes the question: what is it for?
SNIZHANA: Well, I’m a graphic designer in the Banda agency. I’m drawn to everything visually interesting. As a designer, I do branding and visual identities, but I am also into experimental and trash design. The ugly design. I am myself into doing something with visual trash, as it is a way to try new things.
SEE-K: So, how did it all start? Did you expect your project to become so popular?
SNIZHANA: Once I took a picture of two bags elderly ladies were carrying, and I found them so fashionable and well-designed. Then I noticed this stuff gives me aesthetic inspiration. So I created a page with the bags I see around, a certain way of reinterpretation of the objects around us. I thought this would be inspiring for my fellow designers, both graphic and fashion ones. It is a kind of a research. I like exploring bag fashion and the ways people transform them. For example, you can come across two plastic bags glued into one or a handle attached to a different plastic bag. It is fun to watch how people carry these. It is sometimes weird and funny.
SEE-K: What is the next step in this research? Where do you take your study materials from?
SNIZHANA: Now my eyes catch bags everywhere I go. Can’t help noticing them, even if I wanted to. Sometimes, there is no opportunity to take a picture so I film a video. It happens to look quite fashionable. Now I’m thinking about taking my research to the next level. It may be a photo book or even a bag brand. It is nice to see that so much attention to bags around Kyiv inspires other people. They often send me what they catch, and it is always very nice. The most popular locations for bags like mine are markets and public transport. Also, I made a logo for the bags. I think that trash aesthetics should also be modernized from time to time.
Also, Shizhana, along with her friends Nata Nagovitsyna and Ira Levytska made a collaborative documentary on the visual culture around us. It is a compilation of interviews with designers, photographers, and artists. All of them talk about the ways to reimagine the visual world we live in and find the inspiration to create new aesthetic forms. You can watch it here.