From the first moment we set eyes on Alisa, in the Arpora Saturday Night Market, we knew that we absolutely needed to work with her! Her style encompassed everything we felt about FARA. She is the epitome of bohemian, but in a sunny and warm way - she’s the girl that you want to be, but also the girl who you want to be best friends with. There is something striking and unique about her. As we’ve continued to work with her over the last three seasons, she’s become part of our inspiration as we create new collections. We recently took a trip to Hampi, Karnataka, India for a photoshoot, and got to know Alisa in a more personal way. We wanted to share her very interesting story, and ethos with you!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Kiev, Ukraine and I see myself as a creator. Dreadlocks have become my signature, I started growing them when I was 13 yeas old and they really have inspired the way I live my life, it is a lifestyle. We have our accessories line called ‘Mockni’ and we’ve recently started our clothing line that is inspired by our eclectic lifestyle. The aim is it create a fashion line for men and women who want to buy similar clothing to each other, and be comfortable in them.
How did you meet Andrey, your husband, your partner in crime?
When I first met Andrey I was super independent and I was not looking for a relationship. We both used to spend our summers in Crimea. We met at a picnic organised by mutual friends, and kept in contact through social networks after that. Andrey had a big crush on me, and sort of chased me around the seaside all summer. Once we finally met again, it happened pretty quickly, a match was made. We got married, and have been happily married ever since.
When did you start travelling?
I wanted to go and travel since I finished school but my parents were conservative and they didn’t allow me to travel anywhere. So I had to prove to them I was independent and that I would be fine, I did this by going to university and by passing with flying colours. After I finished university my parents tried to push me to do a Ph.D but I refused to do this. My parents vision was that I would be a girl in an office and that was not what I saw for myself. Quite soon after I met Andrey, he proposed to me and we got married. Because of this my parents felt I would be safe to travel, so we came to India!
How did you end up spending a third of the year in India?We were so intrigued by the culture of dreadlocks, and according to some, the history of dreadlocks starts here in India. The Sadhu’s who live in the mountains are theorized to be the first people to wear dreadlocks, and I wanted to know more about them. India had also always intrigued me, when I grew up we had India movies on the TV, my parents drank Indian teas. The Indian culture was actually very much a part of the household in Ukraine. Andrey’s mother had travelled here in 1990, because his father was working here. When his mother retuned she bought with her so many souvenirs, like fabric and trinkets. This inspired us, and we felt so compelled to be in a country that was outside of our cultural comfort zone.
Now I feel that this country is what changed me a lot, I have become a different person as to who I envisaged when I was young and it’s exciting!
What made you decide to start growing your signature dreadlocks?
For me, dreadlocks are a protest - I was 13 and rebelling. My parents were very conservative and so it was a directly against their vision of me. During my life I have always been a rebel, I was part of a movement in Ukraine which was a fighting for fair rights against racial discrimination. When I first started to grow my dreadlocks people really didn’t like it in Ukraine, people would say I was dirty or unkept, I would get called Bob Marley and it really was not a the norm in Ukraine to look like that. My teachers at school would discriminate against me and mark my work badly. Thus it became my war, a personal war against the norm. I was not going to give up simply because others told me to get rid of my dreads, and now look - it is the opposite, people come to me to get the same look!
What does it take to care for your dreads?
Many people think that dreadlocks are dirty and that you do not need to do anything, but actually you really do need to take care, I must wash them carefully especially as I like to keep my ends loose, it means I must condition each one. Once a month I wash them with baking soda and water to get them really clean and shiny.
What inspires you?I am so inspired by people. I love to talk, to see, to be with other people, they feed my creativity. What I do with my life and with my business, is inspired by others. When CDs came out in Ukraine, a friend of mine bought me one of a famous band called “Friday”. When I first heard it, I didn’t understand what kind of music this was but it was magical and I fell in love from the first song. It was my introduction to Reggae music. Reggae music has become such a deep part of my life, the ideologies within this music are symbolic of my beliefs, that all people should be united and that we should all live as one, and that divided we fall.
What is one place you dream of traveling to?
Africa is my dream. I am so inspired by Ethiopia, there is a big reggae culture there, but it is more than music, it is a religion there, Rastafarianism. I am so intrigued to learn and experience more of this. From what I see, people live there with nothing, in such poverty and all they have is their belief. I am so inspired by this, and it would be an honour to meet them and see first hand how their beliefs keep them alive.
We see you though your Instagram, and of course people wonder how you continue to live such an epic lifestyle, what tips can you give others for creating this lifestyle?
The first thing and most important thing is to stay as you are and to have conviction. Create from your heart and be true to yourself and others. I really believe that it is important to create from your heart because if you do this then you can only be doing good. My mantra in life is ‘do it today, not tomorrow’ and you must remember life is about having fun!
It’s been such a pleasure for us working with you, and since we first met, you have inspired our brand and become our muse. Can you tell us a FARA experience that sticks with you.Firstly, my thought is you! For me the first time I actually wore silk was for FARA, it was the Masala Tie Dye Zen Dress that I wore for Goa Sunsplash. Your designs made me more confident, and I really only started to wear dresses once I was introduced to FARA, they made me feel more feminine and I didn’t feel that before. I wrote an Instagram post about how this made me feel and that all girls should own at least one silk dress in their lives!
We love seeing you in FARA, can you tell us your all time favorite FARA pieces?YES! It’s hard to choose, but I think my favorite FARA pieces right now are: