Risto Bimbiloski was born in 1974 in Macedonia, into a society whose heritage is embodied in the skills of knitting and handcraft passed from generation to generation. But Macedonia in the 90s was no place for a young designer, and, inspired by the images of Western life that fascinated him on MTV, Bimbiloski moved to Paris in 1993 to enrol in the prestigious Duperee fashion college.
As a design assistant at Jean Colonna and Thierry Mugler, and then as an Associate Art Director for TDM design studio (working for clients as diverse as Zucca, Iceberg and Harvey Nichols Magazine), Bimbiloski found the experience he needed to realise a long-held ambition – uniting the traditions of his homeland to the most forward-thinking contemporary design. It was a natural decision to launch his label in collaboration with the women of Macedonia, whose unique artisanal touch is found in each collection, incorporated into precise drapery, or untied with industrial knits for a fresh and unique product.
The first Risto Bimbiloski collection caught the attention of the jury of the International Fashion Festival at Hyeres, who selected it to be presented in 1998. Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and United Arrows were taken on as clients. In 2006, Louis Vuitton signed Bimbiloski as knitwear design consultant for menswear. As well as contributing to a strong presence of this important part of the ready-to-wear business in the press, the collaboration has garnered a significant increase in sales.
Summer 2007 saw the opening of Bimbiloski’s ready-to-wear factory in Macedonia. Where his first collections were made with the help of an artisanal atelier - of just four people - the factory now looks after the production needs of the whole collection, from hand crafted knits to industrial cut-and-sew. The factory today boasts over a hundred workers, but the designer and his team still have pride in the personal element of the brand – a product made with love and expertise, supporting the local community and offering each of the women working for him a chance to support herself.