Three-time Olympic Champion Darya Domracheva of Belarus had some time off during 2015/16 season as she was pregnant with her daughter Xenia. It turned out that some rest did a lot of good for the 30-year old biathlon star of Belarus, who returned to biathlon last season to pick up a medal pursuit Silver at Hochfilzen World Championships. The break also gave her more energy for a new hobby: in September 2016 Domracheva launched her own clothes design brand, opening an online store for her fans all over the world. The newly-born designer talked to Biathlonworld about her creative work and challenges of starting her own brand.
BW: How did you get into dress design?
DD: I always liked to brainstorm and to develop my creative ideas. My parents are architects, and because of them I became interested in art, therefore, it does not come as a surprise that I am very fond of design in general. But why did I decide to design clothes? Maybe, because such collection could become a present for my fans, who missed me in biathlon. I wanted to add to my training outfit something personal. Besides, it was important to me to create something that would motivate people to do sports, to beat their personal records.
I hope that a t-shirt with an image of me or a head band with biathlon pattern can push somebody to run one kilometer more or do a morning workout. And I would be very proud and happy, if somebody, after buying a small sports accessory will start running in the morning and maybe, will eventually get into professional sport. It is nice to do your work out if what you are wearing brings you confidence.
BW: Did you study design? What inspired you while creating designs?
DD: I didn’t study design specifically but having some computer skills, I know how to reach the desired result. To a certain extent this helped to get my ideas through to designers, who were invited for this project. While creating my collection, I was inspired by a chance to use my own creations in my work out. I also thought that it would be cool to spot my fans on the tribunes in a bright t-shirt or biathlon-inspired hat. You can take a look at the collection on my internet shop www.shop.daryadomracheva.by.
BW: What were the challenges you were facing while creating your collection? If you could give some advice to a new designer, what would it be?
DD: As for advice… It is easy to give advice. There are many talented beautiful people in the world. But many are always waiting for some perfect conditions. Windless weather, some star alliance or inspiration. But these are just excuses! There are no perfect conditions later, and there will never be a better time to start. If you want something, you just have to give it a try. Yes, there will be some mistakes and complications. But these are always on your way. If you are passionate about something, start going towards your goal today!
A lot of challenges I faced while working on my collection, were completely unexpected. The whole process took much longer than I thought. For example, I have a certain t-shirt in my imagination, but on the laptop screen and in production it reflects the concept of “expectations vs. reality”. Because you have your imagination and a model, and there is fabric printing, templets, deadlines and other 1000 details. But I am not scared. I am glad that I started. I am glad to continue self-development and give life to new ideas, and if people like them, that would make me happy.
BW: Were you following fashion style in Belarus to target your main customers? Is it different from Western Europe?
DD: All people are different. And they dress differently. We have internet now, and we can follow all the trends live.
One can see, that Belarus people keep their appearance tidy and take care of how they look. But I am also happy to see more and more bright details and people dressed differently in the city streets. Personally, when I am not competing, I prefer casual style, but whenever I have an occasion, I like to wear a nice dress.
BW: Designing clothes is not the only kind of design you have done. In the beginning of the year you presented the public with your project of ski poles. What other kinds of design may we see from Darya Domracheva?
DD: Apart from the poles and clothes, during my time off biathlon I prepared a new design of fitness tracker for Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Ideas often come to me on the road, and the first sketch was created on the phone on my way from Oslo to Minsk. With a lot travels ahead of me, I can count on new design ideas. Nevertheless, I am planning to focus on the sport, and I will do some creative work only for relaxation if I have time left.
BW: Are you planning to continue your hobby? Can fans expect your new collection coming out soon?
DD: Yes, of course. I already have many new ideas and plans to develop new collection.
Photo: Daniel Anohin, Evgeniy Tumashov
Interview: Belarus Biathlon Federation BIathlon Magazine