|Photographer: Fredrik Altinell|
Mukashi Mukashi will present her collection 'Animus' at the Show program on Saturday 16th of June at the SAM-Decorfabriek. Get your tickets here.
What made you realize that you wanted to work in (fashion) design?
I was born after Soviet Union crumbled, but my family spent most of their lives in it. Since there was deficit for almost everything, in order to be stylish, my parents did a lot of clothes themselves. During my early childhood the economy in Lithuania was still developing and I ended up doing a lot of things for myself too. I would get inspired and spend all night doing something that I wanted to wear to school the next day. I kept doing the same during my university years while studying psychology. And at some point I understood that the way I get excited about it is special and I want to do this for a living.
Why did you choose fashion?
I see myself as a creative person, designing makes me happy. I didn’t have a formal drawing education to get into art universities, but I was also scared to try. I even finished bachelor of Psychology, but it didn’t feel right. I kept drawing during my lectures. At some point I realized that I will regret if I don’t pursue design. Trial and error. But once I tried it, I knew I made the right decision.
What would you say are your main achievements in your career?
Winning FASHIONCLACH Fashion Makes Sense Award and becoming finalist of International Talent Support Contest are two most memorable achievements. Landing a certain kind of job is always good and exciting, but to me, memories related to my artwork are much more dear and precious. As a young artist struggling to make it, this kind of outside appreciation is very nurturing. I know that my brand is very young, but it is a precious product of my imagination and I am very proud of it as well. I am excited to see where it will go.
What are your sources of inspiration?
I think my collections are quite different from one another and I take inspiration from many diverse things that are important for my own world at a current time. I wouldn’t even know what will inspire me next, I feel that it is important to keep my options broad and see where that takes me.
Why did you decide to participate in FASHIONCLASH 2018? What are your expectations?
I always wanted to participate in FASHIONCLASH, because I feel like this festival explores a broader spectrum of creativity in fashion. It is always very gratifying to show my works after working so hard to materialize them from thoughts. I am looking forward for people to see it as well.
What do you love most about (fashion) design? What are the biggest struggles faced by young designers?
I think it’s already apparent – I believe that fashion is a form of art. I love to be a part of creative process for new imaginary worlds. Fashion immersing itself in pretend worlds įs something that extends beyond the concept of creativity. Actually, fashion always pretends. It pretends to be rich, famous, pretends to have no struggles at all. It is nearly impossible for young creative minds to keep up with expensive presentation and glamour that is expected from them, if they want to be considered proper designers. And the ones who try are usually struggling going bankrupt and not making any profit behind the curtain. Currently, we live in an amazing time of social media, where we can reach people in different ways. I think that industry will have to change their views or at least accept these new formats even if it doesn’t like it.
How would you define fashion? Many people see fashion as just clothes that shield them from elements. While that is definitely true, it can be so much more than that. Self and cultural expression is deep rooted in fashion. It’s a story telling art form that we can carry everywhere we go. That is why I also called my brand ‘Mukashi Mukashi’ - it means ‘once upon at time’ in Japanese.
What do you think are the most important issues in fashion today?
This goes back to what I said about pretending. It is a very true problem with fast fashion: pretending that we need these many seasons, while only dedicated stylists and bloggers manage to keep up with unnecessary quantity of products. Quantity often beats quality. With this comes a demand for fast and cheep supply, leading to exploitation of people who make fabrics and garments. Then as a result of fast fashion we create massive amounts of waste. I believe we have to take responsibility not only as designers, but also as consumers. Fast demand problem extends beyond fashion and if we can afford to question our purchases we should.
|Photographer: Fredrik Altinell|
What challenges do you face in the design process? What are your favorite parts of the process? I think the initial phase of finding a good topic for a collection and letting the good ideas flow įs very exciting. It’s when you translate your feelings into reality and it’s when you trust your collection the most. But at the same time it has to be based in reality of a real life customer. That makes it challenging.
You were the winner of the award FASHIONCLASH Fashion Makes Sense 2017. Did that achievement affect your career in some aspect?
Achievements in fashion give you credibility, it’s hardly enough to only believe in your work yourself. I've been contacted by many new people and it has definitely opened new doors for me. The other thing is that, I include a lot of graphic design elements into my work, which is hard to do when creating wearable sustainable designs. This led me to invest money from award into buying digital embroidery machine. I was having so much fun with it lately and I’m sure that this will be reflected in my new collection as well.
How would you describe the concept behind your project (for FASHIONCLASH)?
My new collection is called ‘animus’. It’s about struggle to balance between remaining unique individuals while at the same time trying to fit and belong in society. It’s about the inner battle and frustration that rises from within.
What inspired you?
I think I mostly work on concepts that resonate to my own reality. In that way I can put much more honesty and true emotions into my work.
How would you describe your project in three words?
Internal struggle externalized
What projects are you involved in at the moment? What are your next steps?
Making a collection as independent designer takes plenty of time not leaving much space for anything else. However, I am lucky to live in Berlin and to know many creative people. Some art projects are in the plans. I want to create wearable designs for customers, but I also want to explore my own capabilities as an artist. For now, I am thinking to keep these two worlds separated. However, I hope that exploring more performance and installation will help me grow as a designer as well.
What are your thoughts regarding fashion and religion?
While I feel like it is a very bold statement to compare fashion to religion, I do believe it is true to our current reality. Humans always search for means to bring them together and have a common purpose. In the new world we are a bit lost and I think that is why we also relay ourselves on fashion more. It gives people something unique and something in common at the same time. This also resonates to the theme of my collection very well.
What does your day look like during the design process? I always have sketchbook with me, observe the world and search for aspects that inspire me. When I find the right theme I usually feel a strong emotion towards it and then I work for weeks on the shear excitement of inspiration. It doesn't let me rest. It’s a very gratifying part of the process.
Who is your favorite artist? There are definitely some artists that I follow through the years and I like their work, but it is a rare occasion that I would follow someone blindly. One thing that I am more consistent on is music. I never get tired of Aphex Twin and I appreciate his dark approach to reality. At the same time I listen to many small electronic music artists that are just as talented if not more. In general, many artists that I like have something universally accepted as ‘dark’ surrounding their work. Which makes people worry about me, because they interpret it through their own perception. But the truth is, that we just find different things fascinating and that is completely ok.
Who is your favorite designer? I look up to many Japanese and Scandinavian designers. Some people get perplexed why I am interested in such places in particular, but it’s just something that resonates with me in recent years. My focus changed a lot and it might change again. There’s so many things to explore.