zondag 27 mei 2018

Maarten van Mulken presents VOID

Maarten van Mulken, a fashion designer from Limburg, develops (mostly) women’s collections.
Has has participated in various FASHIONCLASH events With his collection Kill Your Darlings, presented at FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017, he has won the Radikal Fashion Film Award by Pascal Baillien.

Maarten likes to create worlds trough fashion by trying to get back old techniques that people have forgotten, while at the same time moving forward to the future and telling a story with his creations.
His new collection 'VOID' interprets the theme of 2018 FASHIONCLASH Festival, by exploring the sense of emptiness experience by people, a void that used to be filled by religion. The collection aims to fill this void, to give people an everyday armour against it.

Maarten's collection will be presented at the Show Programme on Saturday the 16th of June at the SAM-Decofabriek. You can get your tickets here.

What made you realize that you wanted to work in (fashion) design?
I’ve always been fascinated by art and design because they can distract but also attract you to do things and to lose yourself in a way. For me it’s not just fashion but every discipline that makes us curious again and lets us to think further than just ‘normal’ life. Fashion design was for me the best outcome in this. It’s starts with the person that wears the clothing, for me fashion starts at the base from where you can create complete worlds around it.

Why did you choose fashion?
Because it starts with the wearer of pieces of clothing. It’s not a piece of art you can just look at, but you actually can live your life in it.

What would you say are your main achievements in your career?
My main achievements would be my latest collections in where I can create pieces that mean something to me and where I can tell a story with. With the previous collection I won a price to make a fashion film for this collection and could show this collection again on Serbia Fashionweek. For me, as a young designer, these prizes are really exciting and sort of validate my work as a designer.

What are your sources of inspiration?
 My inspiration comes from all kind of sources. Mostly I draw inspiration from things and people around me. I try to mix this with a heritage we all have and combine it with issues I want to address in our society but also within fashion itself.

Why did you decide to participate in FASHIONCLASH 2018? What are your expectations? FASHIONCLASH has been always a great supporter and stage for young designers to experiment and show their work. Personally, FASHIONCLASH is already supporting me for years and for me it’s great to be part again, for the 2018 Festival. They make fashion attractive for a bigger audience and try to mix all kind of different disciplines so that it goes further than just showing beautiful clothing on a catwalk.

What do you love most about (fashion) design? What are the biggest struggles faced by young designers?
What I love most is that you can be as creative as you want these days. It’s no longer about just selling you’re designs but it’s more selling your ideas to an audience to chance their perspective on certain issues. The biggest struggle though is often the society we live in that keeps chancing faster and faster and therefor as a designer you cannot solely focus on your designs, but also have to do a lot of other things that could set back your work and ideas as a designer.

How would you define fashion?
Fashion is often used as a marketing tool to sell stuff to consumers. But it is not what defines fashion. What defines fashion for me is to make people wonder about beautiful, horrific or weird things again and let them see that fashion is more than just a nice piece of clothing hanging in your closet.

What do you think are the most important issues in fashion today?
The most important issues in fashion today is the industry itself. The consumer mentality we live in. It destroys our surroundings, our resources and people on this planet. You can see a big change coming. More and more people are questioning the industry behind fashion which is a great development. Next to this I think fashion more and more addresses issues around the body but also can be used to make political statements, something that was lost for years within fashion. It’s becoming a medium again to ask questions that we normally cannot or dare not to ask.

How do you think fashion contributes to society, can it contribute to a better world?
By pushing the boundaries of what’s right and wrong and asking important questions that should be answered in order to create a better world.

What challenges do you face in the design process? What are your favorite parts of the process? My favorite part is mixing various concepts I’ve been playing with and seeing them come alive. To create something and then ask myself if this is what I want to show and say.

Describe your design process in one word.

How would you describe the concept behind your project (for FASHIONCLASH)?
The project is about a loss of purpose people often feel in this life. You live and you die. The in between in a giant ‘what the f***’ for a lot of people. With this collection I try to give the viewer a sense of absurd purpose back. Something to shield themselves with. I also wanted to raise questions regarding this topic, life isn’t all that bad and make the best of it. It’s a personal approach so don’t take life too serious, you only live it once and it's yours, nobody else’s. The collection is dark themed, because in the end it will end so it also had a not so pleasant side to it.

What inspired you?
For this collection I started from a book that described the beginning of punk and how people in that time dealt with this loss of purpose and the chances that were going on. A lot of them did a lot of drugs, did stupid, idiotic things but lived their lives to the fullest. I combined this theme with funeral garments from my region from all decennias, but I also looked to club clothing nowadays where people today try to forget about their problems and try to find themselves. This collection will be a visual representation of how my people would look like fighting and going through life with all their questions and make a sort of mockery out of it.

How would you describe your project in three words?
Dark, twisted and vibrant.

What projects are you involved in at the moment? What are your next steps?
I’m involved in several different projects. At first, I have a few projects regarding my own company as a fashion company and getting more professional in it, but at the same time I’m still working for theaters and making small performances to give myself more freedom than ‘just’ making clothes.

What are your thoughts regarding fashion and religion?
Of course, fashion and religion go hand in hand throughout the ages. A teacher once told me that my sense of drama came from growing up in a catholic environment, though I was not raised a catholic. In the beginning I didn’t get it, but in the end I have to say she was right. For now, I think fashion is more prospering because of the loss of this old religions. We can be who we want and what we want to be, at least that’s the dream. I think because of this loss we are all building a new religion for ourselves, following our own ideals and idols without laws being put on us from above.

What does your day look like during the design process?
Depends on what I’m doing at the moment and in what state the process is. Mostly when I start I put on loud music that fits with the process. While then going from drawing, to draping, to fabrics and everything in between. I can stop a process as easily as I start it to, for instance, watch a movie that reminds me of what I should be watching in order to move on. It can be hectic and uncontrolled, with in the end referring back to my main process and goal.

Who is your favorite artist?
I’ve got many favorite artists, all discussing a different point in society and all having different disciplines and ways of showing their work. But I guess one of my favorites is still Jan Fabre, because he has a lot of same ideas about how people should behave and go further for their personal process. I like the way he looks to our bodies and minds and his way of designing really fits to the way I want my process to be. No concessions.

Who is your favorite designer?
Alexander Mcqueen, always.


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