Irina created her own path during childhood in her hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria, she taught herself sewing and pattern making at age 11 after discovering that the family’s flower table was actually a long-unused sewing machine: “I opened it, put a little oil on it and started sewing.”
Ten years later, the girl who was the first student to arrive at National High school for Applied Arts each morning became head designer for Rila Style, a Sofia-based manufacturer ( even before getting her MFA from Academy of Fine Arts), and won several awards along the way. She moved to the United States in 1991, and within two weeks she was hired as a designer by Mary McFadden developing embroideries and textile designs. In 1993, she launched her own company designing and selling her collections in high-end stores in the U.S. and Canada. Her designs were sold at Holt Renfrew, Marshall Fields, Dayton Hudson and high end boutiques around the country.
In 1995, she won the United Nations’ International Design Competition and was given her own show to launch the UN’s fall session that year. In 2000, she participated in New York Fashion Week under her own name. Her work has also been featured on French Fashion TV.
When something becomes your passion, your life, your love – well, let Irina explain it: “I never felt as I worked in my life and I haven’t gone to school in my life.” And that approach to life works itself into the way she teaches.
Irina is currently an assistant professor at the New School's renowned Parsons School for Design in New York where she was hired by Tim Gunn of Project Runway and Make It Work fame. She launched her own design center in 2006 after having started and run a fashion design and merchandising program at Gibbs College in both Norwalk and New York.
After all of these experiences, she is relaunching her label and looking to tell a new story each season.