Katya Akuma

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Katya Akuma
Katya Akuma image.JPG
Born (1985-11-04) November 4, 1985 (age 38)
CitizenshipRussia, America
EducationMaster's Degree in Fashion Studies - Parsons School of Design
OccupationCreative Director, Artist
Years active2005 - present
OrganizationCouncil for Fashion and Social Change
Known forFashion, Art and Philanthropy
Height176 cm (5 ft 9 in)
  • Artur Koff (father)
  • Svetlana Kulikova (mother)
AwardsParsons Design Fellowship - 2015

Katya Akuma (born 4 November 1985) is a Russian-American creative director, designer, and artist.[1][2][3] She is the founder of the Council for Fashion and Social Change (CFSC), a non-profit organization that works on revolutionizing society via the fashion and design industry.[4] Akuma is the co-founder of 4TO4U, a photography and digital imaging agency.[5][6][7][8]

Akuma has over 18 years of experience in the fashion industry and has worked with several prolific clients including, Escada, Celine, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Alexander Wang, Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna and Neiman Marcus.[9][10] She has worked on several global beauty campaigns for brands such as Acqua di Parma, Kilian parfumes, Fredric Malle, Carolina Herrera, LaMer, and LeLabo. Akuma has also partnered on social change campaigns with Uber, Samsonite, Amazon, Billboard Music Awards, and Citizens of Humanity.[11][12]

Akuma is known for her unique approach as an interdisciplinary artist.[13] Her work is centered on exploring fashion as a material and cultural practice with an emphasis on identity and individualization, sustainability, and the relation of fashion and time. She has been featured in several media outlets including, Elle, HuffPost, Fashionista, LA Tabloid, The NYC Times, Social Insider, The Cut and others.[14]

Early life and education

Akuma enrolled at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland in 2006, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts. After her graduation in 2009, she was selected for an Environmental Art Fellowship at the TAIK University of Art and Design in Helsinki.

In 2010, Akuma completed a fellowship at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, in Prague, Czech Republic.

In 2015, Akuma pursued her Master’s degree in Fashion at Parsons School of Design. During her time at Parsons she was a recipient of The Parsons Design Fellowship, a competitive program launched by Donna Karan’s Urban Zen. During the fellowship[15]

Akuma worked in The Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T.) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, whereas a fellow her main goal was to help bridge Haiti’s traditional artisan techniques with the modernity and design innovation needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace.


In 2005, Akuma co-founded 4TO4U, a full-service photography and digital agency, with her father, Artur Koff, a leading fashion photographer. Akuma is the fashion director and editor-in-chief of this company.[16] 4TO4U photographs over 20 events per week and has distributions across multiple magazines. 4TO4U’s work has been featured in several national and international publications such as Harper's Bazaar, Grazia International, Vogue Mexico & Latin America, Glamour, W Story, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Hello Russia, Socialite, World Fashion Channel TV, Interview Magazine, and others. 4TO4U also offers a Posing Academy, which is led by the model Sara Struharova and Koff.[17]

In 2016, Akuma founded the Council for Fashion and Social Change (CFSC), a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire the fashion industry by engaging in projects that are designed to have a positive social impact on communities. CFSC promotes sustainability through a collaborative ecosystem and focuses on creating impact through design. The NGO facilitates meaningful opportunities for both established and start-up companies working in the fashion industry.

CFSC provides free services when collaborating with fashion companies and design graduates. The collaborations are based on social motives and are focused on supporting social change for charities and non-profit initiatives.[18] 100% of proceeds raised through these collaborations are directed to the charities.[19] Some of the non-profits and charities in partnership with CFSC are The Y (National Office), Beauty for Freedom, Farm Aid, Population Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Pathfinder International.

In 2019, Akuma was a fashion director of MoMA PopRally x The Bronx. The appointment to the role comes after her track record in connecting talent through the Council for Fashion and Social Change (CFSC).[20]

Akuma is presently an Artist in Residence at Andrew Freedman Home.[21] Throughout her career, Akuma’s work has been showcased both locally and internationally including the Museum of Modern Art Pop Rally in New York City, Sharjah Art Foundation in United Arab Emirates, Beauty Undefined presented by Beauty For Freedom and also at “In/Between 2020: Transfigure, presented by New York Live Arts.[22]

Artistic style

Akuma’s work is inspired by her personal experiences as an immigrant and her time in several countries. She focuses on the inclusion of ubiquitous, overlooked, cultural-rich materials, to explore questions of identity and belonging. Akuma is recognized for her distinctive storytelling technique that involves densely layered discarded leather and objects that portray themes of history, collective memory, and nostalgia. She often pursues the recycled medium while creating her art pieces, as an attempt to inspire her audience to reconsider the environmental impact of their consumption and disposal.[23][24][25][26]



  1. "Katya Akuma on Supporting Emerging Designers". BOSSES MAG: The destination for leaders and bosses. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  2. Goldstein, Vanessa (24 December 2020). "Founder, Katya Akuma, Drives Social Change within CFSC". TOPHUSTLER - Where hustlers meet. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  3. Goldstein, Vanessa (24 December 2020). "Mentoring A Movement, Katya Akuma Continues to Make a Social Change". SOCIALSINSIDER: Stories & Protagonists of the Digital Era. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  4. "Katya Akuma - How To Support Small Fashion Businesses During COVID-19". NEXTMENTORS: Discovering mentors and leaders of tomorrow. 11 October 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  5. "The Dynamic Duo Behind 4TO4U". US FEATURES: Leaders and Innovators in America. 25 October 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  6. "Katya Akuma. Vantage Point Sharjah 8". universes.art. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  7. "exhibitions - Sharjah Art Foundation". sharjahart.org. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  8. "Katya Akuma Delegates Talent for MoMA PopRally x The Bronx". Where entrepreneurs meet. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  9. "Vantage Point Sharjah: a showcase of 30 photographers from around the world". The National. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  10. "Street Style: Inside Katya Akuma's Wardrobe". www.swigmag.com. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  11. "Vantage Point Sharjah is back". Arab News. 5 September 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  12. "Parsons Alumna, Katya Akuma on Design Habilitation in Haiti". The Nyc Times: stories and ideas of the contemporary business people. 15 November 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  13. ""Self Portraits" by Katya Akuma, a Migrating Artist". www.guest-articles.com. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  14. "Vantage Point Sharjah exhibits photography art". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  15. "These Photos Prove Nothing Can Ever Be As Captivating As The Female Form". bust.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  16. "A Day in the Life of Fashion Director, Katya Akuma". SUCCESSFUL DAILY: Inspiring to be successful everyday. 24 December 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  17. Simone, Erica; Photographer, ContributorInternational (29 February 2016). "Beauty Undefined: 21 Famous Artists Unite to Remaster Ideal Standards of Beauty". HuffPost. Retrieved 30 December 2020. {{cite web}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  18. "Katya Akuma, Shaping Social Change via Social Media". City Of Angels' Stories and players. 14 November 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  19. "The Best Outfit Ideas to Come Out of London Fashion Week". Glamour. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  20. Saltzman, Stephanie. "The 24 Best Beauty Street Style Looks From London Fashion Week". Fashionista. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  21. Saltzman, Stephanie. "The 24 Best Beauty Street Style Looks From London Fashion Week". Fashionista. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  22. Slowey, Anne (18 November 2015). "Donna Karan's Goal Post-DKNY? To Change the World". ELLE. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  23. Magazine, The Founder. "Artist Katya Akuma on Recycling and Refugee Reform | The Founder Magazine".
  24. "The Best Street Style Looks From London Fashion Week Fall 2019". Fashionista. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  25. "What's Trending Today | Trending News | Live News". My Trending Stories. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  26. "Katya Akuma, an International Exhibitor". Entertainment, Celebrity News, Pop Culture. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2021.

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