For many, the uncertain economic landscape has meant playing it safe and sticking to the classics. For London-based designer Natasha Zinko, it was an opportunity to explore her creativity a little further, experiment and get crafty.

Looking at all the cardboard boxes lying around her studio, she decided to cut up large holes in them to fit her head and waist. She put them on and fit her entire spring 2022 collection — naturally called Queen of the Boxes — while wearing them.

Sounds odd, but it worked.

By fitting the clothes on these big square structures instead of the body, Zinko created unexpected silhouettes featuring extra large shoulders, slim waists and voluminous skirts. She is certainly not expecting anyone to start layering cardboard boxes under their clothes next season, and when she removed them she ended up with cool, oversize shapes that fall effortlessly on the body.

The added volume also meant that most of the spring 2022 range, including loose shirts, pajama-style pants and velour separates, is one size and can work across genders.

“It was all about distorting the body and seeing it as a game. You’re kind of covering up and becoming someone else,” the designer said.

She decided to go all-in on her concept, not only supersizing her silhouettes to fit boxes rather than people, but stretching out her patterns, too, and creating pixilated versions of her playful heart and floral motifs.

The pixilated heart motifs also featured on a one-off dress made up of interlocking cardboard hearts.

“It was just a way for us to have fun, and also to show people ways of getting creative at home and doing it on their own. Last season, they were making our bandana dresses at home,” added the designer, who has been particularly resourceful this year, designing face masks, creating a makeshift atelier in her home of Ukraine and turning part of her Mayfair store into a café serving the best matcha lattes in town as well as traditional Ukrainian sweets.

She has just debuted a new pop-up café at Harvey Nichols and took part at the Taste of London food festival.

Inspired by her piles of boxes, Zinko also added square-shaped hats, bags and some extra chunky square-toe platform boots to the mix, building onto her growing accessories business, which includes her popular terry and leather slides favored by the likes of Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber.