"My goal is to elevate drawings to the status of a commodity" - interview with Eva Szép, founder of the Evuska brand

"My goal is to elevate drawings to the status of a commodity" - interview with Eva Szép, founder of the Evuska brand

A new domestic brand has arrived in Szputnyik. Evuska's creator, Éva Szép, uses hand-screen printing to create colourful, eclectic patterns on both clothes and utility items. Her unique, hand-drawn illustrations all tell a story, spiced with a touch of the absurd, and set our imaginations free. Inspired by small moments of everyday life and cinematic, musical atmospheres, the graphics grow into a story in their own right. As a small local brand, sustainability is also very important to Evuska, so they only work with natural materials in a zero waste way and source their materials ethically.

Tell us a little about yourself! How was the Evuska brand born?

I started the Evuska brand almost 10 years ago. It was mainly textiles that I started from, I started with felt cushions first. They were all unique, handmade pieces, and then I added my own graphics. The aim of the brand was to elevate drawings that were originally done on paper or as digital drawings to the status of a utilitarian object. These were used to create the custom felt pads, which are a relatively more in-depth and lengthy creative process, as the designs are applied to the surface one by one, by hand.

I was then introduced to the technique of hand silk-screen printing and started to make the cushions using this method. This also resulted in limited edition collections, but it was a more easily reproducible method. The home accessories and canvas bags, later grew into wearable items, which is how I later started to turn towards clothes.

What is your relationship with clothes? How did this line become part of your profile?

I was already working with clothes before. I assisted several times in the clothing section of shoots, commercials and short films. I also dressed and designed costumes for theatre in small projects. In this context, I completed a training course in tailoring for women, so I improved my sewing techniques. This eventually turned into a great love affair, and I became much closer to pattern making. That's when I had the idea of why not screen-printed patterns on clothes. Previously I had been making line drawings that worked really well on the surface of a cushion or a canvas bag, but for clothes I wanted to go in a different direction. Later I moved from repetitive patterns to more complex, central patterns. You can see these on my clothes in Szputnyik.
Evuska Totebag Budapest
How did the artwork itself and the graphics, this line of art, come into your life?
I studied animation at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, and the textile line started to enter my life. From there I transferred this creative, design process to clothes. In fact, I moved from the world of moving image to still images.
This also stems from my love of telling stories and I love to weave a story around these prints. I have my own story that I have created or drawn the illustration from, and I hope to inspire everyone to weave a new tale. One such story, for example, gave rise to my hat and pineapple pattern.
Can you tell us one such story that eventually inspired a pattern?
Hmm... the story of the pineapple with the hat, for example, is that a good friend of mine came over to visit me and gave me a pineapple, and she tied a big bow in the middle of it, and brought it to me as a present. The bow in the middle was like personifying the fruit. I eventually turned it over and turned the bow into a bow tie with a hat on it, as if it were a living person. That's how a pineapple was given personality, just by a few pieces of human clothing.

Evuska Totebag Ananász

What technique is used to make the graphics?
I use a digital drawing board and hand-drawing.
What does the process of hand screen printing look like? How is the final design applied to the bag?
A screen frame is stretched into the fabric, which is the screen itself, with tiny holes. You can think of it as a very dense mosquito net. There are different densities of nets depending on the technique. The process of embedding the graphic into the fabric is a light-sensitive process that can be likened to photo-development.
A photosensitive emulsion is applied to the surface of the screen and then the graphic itself is decomposed into colours on a film-like material. So, for example, if we stick with the pineapple: it's broken down into two colours, there's the pineapple body and the bow tie with the hat. I put this foil on the emulsion coated sieve and light it for a certain time. Where the graphic on the foil has been exposed to light, the emulsion does not harden into it, so it can be washed out, but where it is exposed to light, it hardens and cannot be washed out. It is through these holes that the paint will flow onto the chosen material. This can be used on textiles, wood, paper even. Then this sour cream thick paint has to be drawn through a rubber-edged cloth to pass through the sieve, onto the chosen material.
Do you do the whole screen printing process yourself? Do you have a workshop?
Yes, I have a workshop where I work. I also do the screen printing itself, with my own hands.

Evuska pulóverek
What motivates you? How do you gather inspiration for your designs, what inspires you when you dream them up?
Often it's film scenes or music that gives me ideas. For example, when I was drawing these zigzag patterns on the sweaters, a new album by Beck came out called Colors, which I was listening to a lot at the time, and I was associating these patterns with that. So it's not specific, it's more of an allusion. I also really like the complementary colour pairings, which work really well together. My big favourites on royal blue sweaters are these yellow patterns that give off a bit of an IKEA vibe.
On my previous canvas bags you can see the planet motif, which also appeared on an older pair collection. The main inspiration for that was Christopher Nolan's film Among the Stars. This is how my space themed collection was born.

Evuska Totebags
What role does environmental awareness play in the creation of products?
Very important. I always try to source my ingredients as locally as possible. I make a conscious effort not to create unnecessary waste when sewing the bags because of the pieces of fabric that fall off.
The bags that come to Sputnik arrive here ready-made, but the British company uses ethical, environmentally friendly methods in sourcing and manufacturing the materials. The canvas bags are sourced from non-domestic sewing factories because they are more affordable, sustainably sourced and from Europe.
In my own webshop, I have products where I even designed the material itself and worked with small Hungarian sewing companies to make them in a zero waste way with as small an ecological footprint as possible. Even the material itself is made in Hungary. Here, the dimensions and the tailoring have also been designed so that there is absolutely no waste. In these bags, the strips of fabric that fall off are used as inner pockets, and I also use them to make small knick-knacks. So, for custom designs, zero waste is the main consideration.
Why is it important to you that your products are sustainable? Why is zero waste important to you?
I think it should already be fundamental for brands to produce as little waste as possible. Obviously it's more complicated for me to design products with this in mind. But then it's much easier to produce without producing waste and not having to worry about what to do with the pieces of waste from the tailoring.

These products are the result of a collaboration with Sputnik Shop. The bags and sweaters in the shop are made especially for the shop and cannot be found elsewhere. Look for them in the shop and on the webshop!

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