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One to Watch: Tara KatArina

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

The Colour in Design Awards are lucky to receive interest from all over the world and recently we were contacted by a fashion designer from Serbia who asked if she could be considered for submissions to the 2020 Awards. Sadly the criteria for submissions to the awards is post graduates who studied in the UK and Tara Katarina was just 13. We did take a look at her work though and were blown away by what she has managed to achieve. At the same age, while most of us were worrying about what to wear for the end of term party, Tara was showing off her collection in Paris during Fashion Week. She will be exhibiting her next collection at Milan Fashion Week on 26th of September 2020.

We thought we should break the rules for once and recognise an outstanding and inspiring new talent who looks set to take the world by storm before she can even sign up to Uni or order a celebratory drink at the bar.

Where did you study?

I was discovered at the age of 12. I haven’t had any educational experience in design. I was making colourful drawings like any ordinary girl at my age. One lady saw my drawings and she found a great talent in them. I was not aware of my talent. It was my way of connecting with my inner self and finding peace and harmony.

A few months later I was with my first fashion collection on Defile at Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France and my dream came true before I even started dreaming about it.

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

Jelena Stokuca, from Belgrade, Serbia was my mentor. Jelena Stokuca is a theatre and movie costume designer and a professor of costume in the “Tehno Art” high school in Belgrade. She led me through a very complex road from my imagination up to the defined collection Tara Katarina 2019.

Creative mission statement?

“Colours are emotions”. That is my mission statement.

Why do we feel relaxed in nature? Because colours in nature are in a perfect harmony.

I use colours to express my inner self and to express my emotions. Nowadays many people hide emotions and express fake version of themselves because they are afraid to express their personalities freely. We have a global trend of people who are pretending to be somebody else.

Especially women and girls are presenting a fake picture of themselves, hoping that the world will be more fascinated by an imaginary image, than by the true person behind it. My idea is to call women and girls of the world to be spontaneous and to invite them to express their inner truth which is always beautiful.

Nature and animals don’t pretend to be somebody else. Nature is sincere. That is why we feel joy and we feel relaxed when we are in nature and with animals. My mission is to have a chance to protect nature and animals, and to try to give back the unconditional love that they give to us. I hope that one day, I will be successful enough to give back that love and devotion that they always showed me, by helping and saving them.

“Opposite of love is not hate, it is ignorance” said Elie Wiesel. I think that one of the biggest problems of this world is that people ignore nature and animals. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to change that.

How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?

Colours are the essence of my work. Each colour represents emotions. Every colour has a meaning, a message. Different colours brought together define a harmony of feelings.

Every person feels differently about each colour and sees it in a specific way. That is why I’ve never talked about what the colours represent to me. I want everybody to sense them in their own unique way. Colours are messages, and I want to encourage women who are choosing my dresses to show their true feelings, with no restrictions. Expressing our feelings truthfully is the only way to actually present ourselves. Nature’s expressions are colourful. That is why nature is bringing harmony to our soul. Colours are playing a major role in that noble communication with nature.

Colours are my guides and they make the harmony in my creations.

My rule is the following: first red, then orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Always that spectrum and that order in all my drawings. The geometry is changing but the spectrum never. That is my personal guide to harmony of colours.

What is your main source of inspiration?

Sometimes I have a feeling that life is like traveling by train. You look out of the train window, and the Universe and mother Nature are giving you inspiration everywhere. Everything we see outside that window could be a possible inspiration: the sky, yellow and green landscapes, trees, birds, butterflies, rivers… We just need to have an open heart and receive the joy of inspiration which can be found anywhere.

What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?

For me in the creative process everything is a pure joy. First drawings are quite the excitement to me. After the drawings are finished, I go to my atelier and me and my team discuss about the solutions for the production. It is a special experience to me, because my mentors have found ways to respect my ideas as they transform them into dresses as carefully as possible.

Finding my own solutions, how to place colours on textile, how to make innovations in using materials, brings me such joy. General rehearsal is the next step of the process. When costumes are finished and we are having a team meeting to discuss them and I feel happiness because I see that dreams do come true. And 3 seconds before my Fashion Show starts, and I hear the music and my models chatting, behind the curtain, I am in heaven. My first steps on the runway on my fashion show are heavenly. It is pure happiness. All the efforts, barriers and fears that have appeared during the making disappear in those footsteps of my beautiful “Converse” shoes.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my new collection and I plan on presenting on my fashion show on Milan Fashion Week, platform Emerging Talents. My fashion show on Milan Fashion Week is planned for the 26th of September, 2020. I am so committed to creating an extraordinary haute couture fashion collection for Milano. The team from Milan Fashion Week is great, and the leader of the Emerging Talents team gives me a great deal of support to do a new collection and come to Milano, despite of Covid 19 crisis.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

In 3 years’ time I will be 16. I want to be in one of the best schools for fashion design. I want to meet people who make fashion, and to have professors who are leaders in the contemporary fashion global companies. I hope and wish that the new collections that I will make by then appear on London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and I hope to discover amazing people in the fashion industry.

Creative high point?

My creative high point are colours and geometry. When I start drawing them I have a feeling that my fingers are led by somebody else. I am not sure what I am doing, but I am completely relaxed

When I finish the drawings I just look at them and search for the harmony in them.

Creative low point?

Men’s fashion is my creative low point. I can’t quite understand men and that is probably why I can’t make a men’s collection at the moment.

One person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you?

My mother. She has been my biggest support and she was always there for me. Because of her I don’t have barriers keeping me away from dreaming big dreams. She taught me that no dream is impossible to reach. She lets me have my own opinions even though she doesn’t always agree with them. That is how my mother made a difference to me.

Favourite colour?


Author: Tara Katarina.

Photo: Mirko Tabasevic.

Model: Barbara Tatalovic.

Contact details

Milan Fashion Week is planned for the 26th of September, 2020.


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