Lana Shuganova is a Belarusian fashion designer and a stylist who just founded her bag brand SOOFRE Berlin. We met Lana Shuganova in her brand new pop-up shop in Prenzlauer Berg and we talked to her about her favorite hometown memories, Belarusian designers as well as why she makes Berlin a bit more colorful.
Where are you from?
I am from Minsk, Belarus.
What is the strongest memory you have of your hometown?
My strongest memory? It would probably our Dacha (a small country house) and a dish called Draniki. Draniki is a potato cake which, by the way, Germans eat totally wrong. We eat it traditionally with sour cream and salt. When I smell it, it brings back lovely memories.
Another thing, I vividly remember about Minsk is the smell of oil paint. My mother and my brother are both artists, so as I was a child I spent a lot of time in my mother’s art school and brother’s studio. When I graduated from high school I enrolled in the Belarusian Art Academy, but unlike my family before me, I choose the film and theater faculty. But the smell of paint was always around me.
What did you do in your hometown?
In Minsk, I was working as a TV Director and Moderator. I had my own morning show on Belarusian TV. Alongside that I also shot music videos.
When did you arrive in Germany?
I arrived in Berlin in 2012. So I have I have been living here for six years.
What brought you here?
I always wanted to live in abroad and study in another city. When I came to Germany I was 23 years old – a good time to try something new. I found an Au Pair program and moved to Berlin. It was the best way for a Belarusian girl to get a chance to experience Germany and learn German.
What do you do now? What is your profession?
For the last five years I have been working at a TV production company as a production assistant and a costume designer. Alongside that work, my husband and I created our own fashion label: SOOFRE Berlin. That was just three months ago but today I am busy with our brand most of the time. On top of that, I work as a costume designer for new historical project for rbb (Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting).
You’ve just opened a pop up shop of your brand in Prenzlauer Berg. Please tell us a little bit about it…
We specially designed the shop for our unique collection of bags. Also, we invited two Belarusian fashion designers to be a part of our pop up store. ZIBRA and LSD clothing – they are young brands but they are already very popular in Belarus. I have seen big changes in our country over the last years and I am proud of the all the cool Belorussian designers. We create some kind of Belarus in our store. My idea is to give Berlin a taste of the cool, independent character of creatives from Belarus.
What is typical about Berlin? What do you love (or hate) about the city?
Berlin is so multicultural! That makes it pleasant and easy for me to live here. I have so many international friends. Berlin is very colorful, I mean the nationalities, cuisine, faces, languages. Berlin is an island, very special, very unique. You can always have a nice time in this city and find your own place where you feel you comfortable.
What is your contribution to make Berlin a little bit more beautiful?
I am not an architect so I cannot build new beautiful buildings for Berlin. So, what I do, I clean and take away all my trash after me. Of course, I hope, that SOOFRE Berlin can also help me to make Berlin a little bit more beautiful or, hey maybe even better, a bit more colorful! We created our brand with the hope that it will help women to be feel unique by wearing the colors that she likes, and not just those which hang in shop windows because they are trendy.
What is your favorite place in Berlin?
My favorite place? It changes constantly and depends of the time of my life. At the moment I don’t have much free time to enjoy the summer. So now my favorite place is Müggelsee, where I am trying to spend at least 2-3 hours a week with my husband and our dog.
To find out more about Lana Shuganova and her brand SOOFRE Berlin go to her website and/or her Facebook page. Join her SOOFRE pop-up opening event on Facebook. Please don’t forget to RSVP since it is a guest list only event.