Printed in Issue 21
Photos by Pavel Golik

 As children, we are able to see that nature is a stage—a mossy grotto beneath a fallen log becomes a sitting area as commonplace as a bedroom; that stump is a stool; the pebbles on the beach colour-coded into imaginary rations; flowers and snails our co-stars. As we age, our brains feel less elastic. The neural pathways hardened, more closely resembling the compact earth of an often trodden path, rather than something malleable or ripe with possibility. Our subconscious tendency to scrutinize nukes the mystique of fantasy that was once integral to our childhood existence, and to the faculty required for discovering the world around us. As adults, it feels difficult to return to our imaginations, but is it impossible?

Nature is the muse for Moscow-based designers Vereja, serving as the main inspiration for their imaginary universe. Informed by Russian folklore, an elaborate cast of covertly knitted, imaginary forest-dwelling characters exist in their garments alongside more anatomical symbols of the natural world, like dragonflies, birds, and stars. Vereja is equally interested in certain pagan traditions, securing a ribbon to a tree to grant a wish, for example, and incorporating them into their practice. “When we create Vereja garments, we think about a fairytale forest and try to recreate the childhood feeling of when you walk into the forest and still think that everything around you, like trees and flowers, is alive.” 

It makes perfect sense that Vereja is equally focused on sustainability, “not as a strategy, but as an obvious solution.” Their interest in repurposing and recycling eschews performativity, as they rework and repurpose fabrics and textiles, each piece a conceptual and literal ode to the spirit of the natural world. – Rebecca Storm

Photos: Pavel Golik
Styling: Igor Andreev
MUAH: Sofya Atalikova 
Casting: Masha Komarova
Models: Kirill Nelybin, Neon 
Olesya (Lexi) Vasilieva, Number Management 
Styling assistant: Anastasiya Lomakina