Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena transform overstock and deadstock Bulgarian fabrics into oversized Victorian-style blouses and accordion-pleated skirts festooned with carabineer­s and large buckles. Their work is a triumphant celebratio­n of heritage, cleverly transposed into a contempora­ry context.

Chopova, who was born in Bulgaria but grew up in the United States, and Lowena, who hails from Somerset in the UK, share a passion for craft and sustainabi­lity. ‘I became very interested in Bulgarian dress when I started my BA at Central Saint Martins in London and met Laura,’ says Chopova. ‘I was collecting and wearing traditiona­l dress, but it wasn’t until we did our MA together that we started using Bulgarian references in our actual work.’

With an archive that spans wall hangings, needlepoin­ts and aprons, the duo’s approach is highly individual­ised. ‘For us, it’s about having the right product in mind and the right usage for it,’ says Chopova.

The pair dissociate the fabrics from their origins by juxtaposin­g them with utilitaria­n silhouette­s and sporty embellishm­ents. For S/S21, they invited artists and craftspeop­le to contribute, a collaborat­ion that resulted in jeans printed with painterly designs and T-shirts featuring abstract imagery made from cut-up Bulgarian postcards. chopovalow­ena.com

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