Sharon Drijanski is the founder of The Feathered, and most recently, Loona, an artistic collective based in Mexico.
Interview by Brooke Frischer
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH JONATHAN COHEN?
I heard about Jonathan and received an email when I had the store, I visited the New York showroom and since then I was super aware of what Jonathan Cohen was doing, and always wanted to work with you but The Feathered was always full and we had a list of designers waiting. So when I started Loona, Jonathan Cohen was on the top of my list.
FOR YOUR AT-HOME PHOTOSHOOT, YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO STYLE YOUR OWN LOOK. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PARTICULAR OUTFIT YOU WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN?
I adore flowers, I love the color and the materials.
THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS CHANGING AT SUCH A RAPID PACE. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION? ADDITIONALLY, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION?
I think everything is opening up to more personal ways of working instead of following what for me ‘was.’ Of course, we sadly live in this crazy world where fashion still works in a stressful environment, where consumerism and masses are at the core. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in this planet, and the way of working with fashion in a conventional way is so ‘old world’ and to be creative is part of what’s new. I think it’s time to watch everything with new eyes, fresh ideas, and I hope these times have opened our hearts to see that what happens to one happens to all of us. How can we live in a planet that is collapsing every second and do nothing about it? After all we’ve been through, how can we not? So opportunities are endless to create and recreate ourselves for the better, to be creative, inventive, to care.
YOUR NEW ARTISTIC COLLECTIVE, LOONA UNIVERSE, ECHOES THE 30 DAY LUNAR CYCLE BY ANNOUNCING NEW COLLABORATIONS THROUGHOUT A MONTH-LONG PERIOD. WHERE DID YOUR CONNECTION TO THE LUNAR CYCLE OR ASTROLOGY ORIGINATE FROM? HAS IT ALWAYS INFLUENCED YOU AND YOUR WORK?
If I look back into my life I was always connected to nature, [but] didn’t know back then it was a calling. Through a healing process a few years ago, the real connection with nature began and it has been one of my greatest gifts in life. The more I started to heal the more profound my connection got and the moon is part of this energy I love. I wanted to work with the rhythm of nature, softly, and nothing made more sense than to work with the lunar cycle. I think we, as women, are so many things at the same time and I didn’t want to miss all my other sides. Because I live my life working for one project only, I want to enjoy it. I want time for myself and my family, my loves and passions. Sometimes we shine sometimes we are off, just like the moon, and I want to honor and celebrate what we are. Just by being and loving the process of all, and to love the journey wherever it takes us, to trust, that is the moon for me.
HOW DID GROWING UP IN MEXICO CITY INFLUENCE YOUR STYLE AND PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR CREATIVE WORK?
I was born in Mexico City but my family comes from Europe, so I think there is a sense of style with a clash of cultures. Mexico is full of color and folklore. I come from an artistic background and Mexico can elevate this sense of creativity and artistry. Mexican culture is very enriching.
YOU FOUNDED THE CONCEPT SHOP "THE FEATHERED" IN 2012, WHERE YOU FREQUENTLY SPOTLIGHTED LOCAL FASHION TALENTS. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT FINDING NEW TALENT THAT INSPIRES YOU AND STRENGTHENED THE CURATED ENVIRONMENT OF YOUR SHOP?
I think I have an eye for it, a very open mind. I never felt I fitted in any particular group. I always felt different so I wanted to open the vision for the people who felt like me or empower my clients with pieces that had so much personality. I love independent designers, which was at that time very important for me, because I don’t like overproduction. I wanted always the best quality in materials, pieces that could last a lifetime. I wanted diversity and I wanted the whole world together in one place and yes, filled with a lot of style.
YOUR DECISION TO CLOSE "THE FEATHERED" PHYSICALLY AND ONLINE CAME ABOUT DURING YOUR TIME IN QUARANTINE. HOW DID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC INFLUENCE YOUR PATH TO EMBARKING ON YOUR NEW WORK WITH LOONA UNIVERSE?
For about two years before I closed I was questioning myself a lot. It was so much work to educate people in Mexico with what I was doing-- a lot of stress, a lot of tears and I asked many times was it all worth it. So when the pandemic struck and after just two or three weeks at home it came really softly - to close the store - I was thinking the world was changing, I felt like we were not yet landing on the new world that was coming, and I wanted to be part of the new, not the old. I had many ideas-- I live with ideas popping all the time, but I thought that I didn’t have to come with any ideas just yet. I wanted to process all that was happening, I wanted to feel everything, to work on myself, for the first time in years. In the work issue I was feeling light, happy and in peace, so I only asked to be where I needed to be, I wanted to be where I belonged. The only thing that came all day every day was that I had to do something to help our planet. I missed the interaction with the creative world. I could help the Earth with the thing I knew how to do, do a little thing in this huge world. That’s when Loona came, in a dream-- the name and how it was going to be, I just followed, I trusted, this was the path, so I started working.
YOU ORIGINALLY STARTED "THE FEATHERED" IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, BUT ULTIMATELY RELOCATED THE MULTI-BRAND STORE TO MEXICO CITY. HOW WAS YOUR CURATION OF THE STORE AS WELL AS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE INFLUENCED BY EACH RESPECTIVE FASHION HUB?
I love mixing and making it personal instead of following any fashion trend. My background in art came in hand with a clinic eye. It was a lot of work trying to explain what my vision was in Mexico, but it was that or nothing. I’m not into trends. I love personality and freedom, so the store flourished into something really beautiful. I think The Feathered opened many things at that time and designers from abroad changed their view of Mexican fashion.
SUSTAINABILITY IS A MASSIVE ASPECT OF THE LOONA UNIVERSE PLATFORM. WHAT DOES BEING SUSTAINABLE IN FASHION MEAN TO YOU AND HOW HAVE YOU INCORPORATED THAT INTO LOONA UNIVERSE?
Sustainability is at the center of Loona and I’m dedicating my life’s work to this work. It was born out of the necessity to do something about what is happening to the planet instead of crying about it, and to be at peace in my heart that I’m doing something, to give back instead of just taking, to be forever thankful for what she gives. It is a project born from pure love. I have four kids and I wanted to leave them a better world. From there everything else comes, keeping the arts and creativity alive, working to educate, telling the stories, showing the processes, meeting the people, and being so very close to Mother Earth.
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE FASHION INDUSTRY AT LARGE IS PROGRESSING IN ITS SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL CAN BE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
It impacts me that most people are not giving it the importance it deserves, mostly because if the planet is not able to withstand all the damage we’ve done, neither do we. We are part of the living world not apart of it. We are endangered too. I think many use it as a bait, because they think it’s a ‘trend of the moment’ but some are waking up to make changes. Even if the change is small, it’s huge. It’s better for many doing small things that one doing it perfectly. I think we need to really listen and see what is happening. We can’t blind ourselves anymore. Everything is happening in front of our very eyes and not to walk away is to really do something about it.
HOW DID YOUR BACKGROUND IN STUDYING VISUAL ARTS IMPACT YOUR WORK IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
It’s part of who I am. It makes me feel alive and enriches my heart and soul, so I think it’s a little fire of creativity inside. I think it has given me a very particular eye that I have been able to use all these years.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY BUT AREN'T SURE WHERE TO START?
My advice would be to follow your heart, go to the rhythm of you. Be free to be who you are and take care of yourself. Trust the road you choose to go. That road is your life. Really open your eyes and heart to the world today and through your own lens help heal the world a little. Never have fear and please, always choose love.
You can follow Sharon on Instagram @sharondrijanski and learn more about Loona Universe at loonauniverse.com