Most women are reluctant to be too 'glaring' and non-standard but at the same time want to be found attractive and in consequence feel more at ease in classic forms. Only a real artist can make classics look fresh and memorable. Our new columnist, Aleksander Siradekian who is a Russian designer of women's shoes and the founder of brand Aleksandersiradekian, writes about traditions, classics and his background.

Countries, and one thinks first of Italy, with a developed fashion industry, traditionally are considered to be trendsetters. Russia is not such a country but even so my brand is admired and well sold in Europe and elsewhere. The city I was born in has an ancient culture of shoe-making and Tbilisi and Erevan were famous for shoe studios. I was lucky to start my life in a place where this culture existed and was a part of everyday life.
Our family wasn't large, my parents and a brother but we had our grandmothers and five grand-aunts and all lived together. Four of them in the apartments a few stairs lower than ours. We never locked our doors and our home was visited by friends, neighbours, relatives and other guests.
These older ladies were beauties. Always took good care of themselves and followed fashion and made regular visits to the best artisan shoe shops. As a child I enjoyed going with them. Discussions about a new pair of shoes were entertaining but it took time and there was no hurry. There was a traditional ritual: the artisan greets the client, drink tea or coffee together, have a small social talk. Then show leather that had just been received and the new seasonal fashion design.

On one occasion I suggested presenting my own design to an owner. Grandma didn't refuse and thanks to this I made my first design sale when I was five. Everyone liked it or at least said so, and the fact that I wasn't denied that day turned out to be very inspiring and played a great role later in my life. I was attracted to drawing and spent my time on pictures and a small art studio with chest of drawers and oil paints was set up on the balcony. I wasn't much interested with running and playing outdoors with other children. Later I was enrolled to the Academy of Arts but couldn't finish it because of the Georgian war. My family moved to Moscow where we became acquainted with Aslan and David and a bright and memorable project Fresh Art was born which lasted fifteen years.

It took two years to persuade an Italian manufacturer to make my designs, probably not helped by me knowing no one in the trade and not speaking Italian. Meeting requests were denied until persistence was rewarded with a meeting with an important name. My presentation went down like a stone in water against a background of loud and excitable Italians who canned my concept as being impossible to cut. Italians can be generous and a com-promise was made that I would be allowed to work in the cutting area to prove feasibility.

At first a small team of my wife and I added to with our eldest daughter who spent her child-hood in shoe factories playing with heels. We didn't and still don't have babysitters or governesses. First collection's issue took place in summer time in the middle of the hot July swimming season but we had a tough deadline. I knew that I should do everything with my own hands because otherwise we would have faced a threat of delay in August. We had to work at the factory with a view of the sea but with no chance of swimming even though it was no more than a step away. It was supposed that we would just control receiving edition but in fact we had to cut and brush every pair of shoes' fringes from the first collection of "shoes with fringes".

Work started to bring demands for our brand and my reputation as a designer grew. We didn't notice time and one day I woke up in a different reality. Katya Muhina who is Elle Russia editor-in-chief made us open an Instagram account saying that today no one works without it. She called me in the evening and asked about the number of subscribers "Me and my wife Liza" was my answer. Then Katya made a post. People liked our shoes and started to repost. In one night, Instagram with two subscribers found tens of thousands of subscribers. When a miracle happens suddenly there's a weird feeling — it is almost scary to be alone at home without someone to share the happening with.
Something like this happened later on the international level when the French L'Officiel included our brand into the list of fifteen new fashion trendsetters. In these moments you just sit in silence and smile to the monitor. I take a clean plate and wash it not to lose connection with reality and land back to the ground. And then feeling that I've done something terrestrial and useful I go to the monitor and look, now paying attention to details.
Knowing that you can do this comes during mo-ments like this and enlightens even the rainiest day. We issue the fourteenth edition successfully and people like what we do. Fashion is transitory and ephemeral but it can be longer if people find beauty and elegance in your vision of details based on business classic forms.

"The Show must go On" and I feel I can do it further and there's a new season ahead.