Abzal Issa Bekov is a menswear designer who was originally born in Kazakhstan. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2016 with a collection that’s inspired by queer cinema, his mother’s craftmanship and the UdSSR. His debut campaign stars our friend Lukas Popp photographed by Timothy Schaumburg with art direciton by Philipp Humm. He took an unusual path when releasing his imagery through whats-app. We talked to the designer about his experience growing up in Kazakhstan, the power of Texting and the colour of his underwear.

Abzal, what did you want to be growing up?
I really wanted to be on stage, like a theatre stage. My mum used to be a seamstress during Soviet Union times, so sewing and making clothes was always kinda not something I wanted to do, cause it was what I did everyday with her.

Rebellious at first. Where did you grow up anyway?
I grew up in a small northern town of Kazakhstan, called Pavlodar. Born and raised there.

How did your experience growing up there translate into your designs?
Well, its a small town, and nothing really happened there, so I always wanted to get out of there to this big unknown world. I guess you become really anxious to move somewhere when you get tired of all the same people and routine in this provincial town. But design wise I don’t think it really somehow translated, or I never really had this desire to make it translate into my designs. I'm more about whats current, whats gonna happen next.

So I see you didn’t always know you’re gonna end up in fashion.
As I told you before, nope, not really. On the contrary, I wanted to do something different. After my high school I went to study Accounting, I know it sounds a bit crazy, but yes, while doing my BSc in Business I realised that what I truly wanted to do is design.


Same thing happened to me. I studied Business first to ultimately realise I have to photograph. Are you a romantic?
I guess I am. At least I believe that I am.

What question have you never been asked that you wish you had?
What colour is your underwear? :)

God one. Current mood?
Very Festive.

Your favourite scent?
Serge Lutens’ Serge Noir.

Good choice. What do you think you will be doing in your 90’s?
I will be dead.

Very dark. Do you have a Muse?
Quite few, mostly my friends.

Have you defined yourself yet?
Defined as what? As a designer, I think, yes in some sense, but we all evolve and change, so definition of what I am as a designer will change too. I hope.

Whats your star sign?

Makes sense.
Thank you Abzal!



Timothy Schaumburg

Interview & Words
Stefan Dotter