Back in the USSR

updated 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Born in soviet Georgia, twin designers Tamara and Natasha Surguladze, who now live in London, claim, "We don't have time to be homesick." True, the sisters, just 25, are busy turning out clothes for their Tata-Naka label, coveted by fans like Cameron Diaz and Julianne Moore. But their nostalgia for the old country is evident in hammer-and-sickle prints, Georgian grape motifs and a brown wool dress based on their old school uniforms. "Every single thing we design comes from our past," says Tamara.

After violence broke out in their homeland in 1992, the twins moved to Montreux, Switzerland, then attended London's Central Saint Martins College, alma mater of Stella McCartney; Barneys New York bought their entire graduation collection. Their success—they sold $2.5 million in clothing last year—is a little surprising. "There was no such thing as a designer when we were growing up," says Natasha. "I don't think we even knew the word for it. But we always knew we'd do this."

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