For an online interview with Lyubov Melnickova for Purplehaze Magazine, I was delighted to share a view ideas regarding starting up des FILLES désir, working in the modern day fashion landscape and why I think fashion has lost its meaning.
Here is a transcript of the questions and answers.
Thank you for having me!
Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did your creative path begin and why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
From a young age I was mostly attracted to creative things. My father was a musician and my mother used to make her own garments. In 1990‘s Romania there wasn’t much to choose from. She also used to watch fashion shows but I wasn’t interested in those. I somehow was fascinated with the process of making clothes and seeing the result being uplifting to her.
What does fashion mean in your understanding?
For me this term hasn’t much meaning left, since it’s been used excessively in mass media. I’m mostly interested in personal style and the way people choose and why they choose to look a certain way. Unfortunately there’s much less individual choice and personal curation involved in the way people dress than you might expect in this day and age.
Tell us a little about the brand. At what point did the idea of creating a brand come up?
There wasn’t too much to choose from. After graduating and working some time in the industry, I realized that the only way to do something exciting was to do it on my own. Corporations in the fashion industry don’t even design anymore. They’re more and more reliant on data analysts, maximising numbers and less on innovative and interesting design.
As a rule, a clothing brand is a large team that takes part in the creation of collections. How many people are in the brand team and what are the responsibilities of the chief designer?
Like most independent designers I started on my own. It’s working around the clock to do research, design, pattern cutting, sewing prototypes, creating marketing materials, doing production, some PR, accounting and much more. With limited resources it’s a difficult process but seeing even the slightest success is very rewarding.
I was quite fortunate to have my partner Markus and my mother on my side for moral and professional support.
How would you describe the brand’s style?
A close friend of mine used to say I do a kind of “complex minimalism”. Certainly I like to experiment with shape, volume and texture to create new and exciting garments. Although I feel close in my ethos to the Japanese and Belgian Avantgarde, I don’t like to use this term since it’s become rather constricting aesthetically.
Now many brands are for environmental friendliness and recycling. What materials does the des FILLES désir brand use? What principles do you adhere to when creating clothes?
Preferably I work with high quality yet overlooked fabrics that allow me to create sculptural garments. I also consider how fabrics might feel on the skin or how durable they are. They’re mostly from Italian manufacturers or small and specialized stores. Being a small label and working mostly made-to-order, I think the environmental impact in our case is minimal. While I consider this debate to be important, it also allows for a lot of greenwashing. As the demand for fair and ecologically produced garments grows, it will become increasingly easy to integrate these in future garments.
The design process starts with an abstract theme or some kind of observation that I try to translate into techniques or shapes before moving on to make the actual garment. I like to challenge myself to find new ways to create garments that you wouldn‘t find anywhere else.
Who is the des FILLES désir brand for? Can you describe its target audience?
I would like to see anyone trying on des FILLES désir and integrating the pieces in their daily lives. However the designs mostly attract creative people who like to experiment with new things and who are not afraid to be noticed for their bold choices.
des FILLES désir is a well-known brand in Berlin. Would you like the brand to exist on the world market in the future?
There’s still quite some work to be done to reach more people. But I’m confident that this can only be achieved by a slow and steady growth.
How would you describe today’s fashion and what feelings does it evoke in you?
Fashion as a broader phenomenon in the West has lost its luster in the last two decades. At least when we compare its current state to its rich history one might come to the conclusion that fashion has lost its meaning.
However there are still bubbles of interested people gravitating certain styles and designers that aren’t happy with today’s conformity. For me it’s still uplifting to see groundbreaking designs from fresh labels that have to fight to get heard and also to see people who have a strong personal style and who care about expressing themselves.