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Collection “It’s All Around You”. Photo: Rokas Darulis un Abie Lamin

Five countries have established an international reputation in fashion:  France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. Who will be the next?

Scandinavian Fashion. Well, it already has established its reputation…

“Fashion as art and the fashion designer as artist” – what is your view on this statement?

So far, not all fashion is art, and even when it is, it's also a function. 

When we do feel more appreciation for fashion as a medium that is transmiting a message, rather than just being clothes, then we call it art. However, this maxim sometimes is overestimated and used in a wrong sense. It has become very trendy for designers to call themselves artists, as this new label kind of elevates them, and it sounds divine. But I, personally, think that there are not that many good artists of fashion. I must add here that I prefer great craftsmanship over average “fashion art".

Artefact collection “Seed”. Photo: Egle Xiapin

What attracts you to fashion, as both a medium and as a mode of expression?

The fact that it is a way to turn a human body into a masterpiece and a way to help express one's personality.

How about your creative freedom? How does designing your own label differ from working for a large corporation?

It is very different. I am totally free as a designer for my label, Artefact, since I work on my own. I design a collection when I have something to say to the world, and I make clothes for individual people when I have orders. Sure, this kind of "business" does not guarantee you bread for tomorrow, but this is why I design for other brands in parallel. Of course, I also do that to gain experience and knowledge.

Artefact collection “It’s All Around You”. Photo: Rokas Darulis and Abie Lamin

What is the most difficult part of running your own label (e.g., design, production, sales, finance, and advertising)?

Balancing it all, I guess. For the moment, my label is just me and my ideas, without any responsibilities to others; therefore, I can avoid many of the complicated parts. I do the production at my mother's studio, with one seamstress, and of course, with the precious help of my mother; for now, it serves my needs. But if the business grows one day, I will have to deal with those other parts, which can be fun, too.

As for advertising - I think it all depends on the vision of the designer. When Margiela just started off, they did not do any advertising at all, and yet somehow managed to form a clientele and become well-known. Of course, you can't be grand if you don't do advertising – but do you have to? I prefer natural advertising – when people spread the word based on their own experience – it's more honest.

When you create something, what goes through your mind?

It is always a clash of images and sounds, colors and shapes, spaces and faces, moods and emotions, personal experiences and political ideas. Everything has to be digested and well-organized to look good, make sense, and make an impact.

What is your way of working? Do you sketch your ideas on paper, or do you drape fabric on a dress form?

Both. It usually starts with the research. Or stumbling across an image / film / object that carries me into a special mood. Most of the time, I first note the idea with random words in my notebook (sometimes my phone, if there's no notebook at hand); then comes the sketch; then draping / pattern cutting and so on. Sometimes a design is born by accident.