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Join us in conversation with fashion designer Mata Durikovic who explores bioluxury and Haute Couture through her boundary-breaking, eye-catching designs. Her work comes from her own mission to show that luxury can also be sustainable, with a focus on biomaterial and quality techniques. Mata isn’t just focused on the present; her works transcend physical boundaries with her most recent Crystal Bird design being not only edible but finding its inspiration in VR and space travel.
Mata is working on her first Eshop. Her brand started with her simple catchphrase and nickname “Mata” which translated to Mad. She wants her customers to celebrate individuality, and not be afraid to stand out. For Mata Durikovic, it is about embracing the madness and “wearing it mad”.
Who is Mata Durikovicova and what is your mission?
The mission of my brand is to be mad about fashion and focus on bioluxury. It also shows that luxury fashion can be sustainable. Meanwhile, a high standard of couture and handcraft can still be kept. I also try and make customers interested in luxury fashion.
You mention being interested in bio-luxury, can you explain what this means to you?
What I am trying to do is to use biomaterials and apply them to an haute couture standard. When we think sustainable, we usually think of using linen, kind of natural colours, and all these kinds of natural materials. I am trying to challenge myself to use sustainable material, which is fully biodegradable, also edible in this case. These materials are completely harmless, and possible to decompose. There is this contrast between something you can make at home with very simple handcraft techniques, and it can then be made using material which looks very luxurious but can still biodegrade.
At the beginning of your work, you seemed to focus on fur elements and more subtle colour palettes, now you gravitate to a fantasy, bold, almost alien-like fashion – what caused this journey?
Since the beginning I kind of used pastel colours. Colour has definitely been important in my personal development as a designer. It has really shaped what I get inspired by, and what my personal preference is. Also, the collections I make are really similar to my own personal preferences, like calico, and other inspirations. I get these from history, like collecting garments from my family. My first collection was super yellow and pastel, with beige and white. So, very monochromic. I guess it comes with the ability to challenge myself. I just preferred the pastel colours in the beginning. When I was younger, I often dressed in pastels, it has kind of stayed the same, but it hasn’t changed that much. In my work, you can see neon accents, which I have just applied a lot more.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are there any particular designers that you feel you gravitate towards?
When I was super young, we are talking about age 14 or 15 I was really obsessed with specific designers. Designers like Marc Jacobs. there were very specific collections which I was obsessed with. There was this particular show in 2010, it was a country show by Karl Lagerfeld and Lily Allen was singing there. Their models had all these fake tattoos on their bodies, so I got a tattoo inspired by that specific collection.
Yes! So, it became super personal. The next inspiration was Iris Van Herpen and Ralph Simon’s collections. Now that I am older, I define myself very much with Chanel, with Chanel herself. She was a very big inspiration. I think it is very personal to my childhood.
Virtual Reality Art: @fromm.vince @fromm.jess and @alice___palace
Your project ‘new body’ deals with your own personal self-image, what challenges did you face when working on that project?
Well, this one was a very fun one. I was trying to make something new and better for myself apply to garments. I would record people’s reactions to me walking outside wearing the outfit. It was kind of a journey. I would walk from Kings cross to Tate, and they would also let us inside the Tate Modern. But I had to say I wasn’t a mascot; this was just my style. It was funny. Some people wouldn’t pay attention at all, and some people would stare. Actually, more people didn’t pay any attention at all. I was trying to, during this project, get inspired by the forms of my body. I would also cast parts of my body with silicone. I was going through a period of using more toxic materials, but I educated myself through personal experience about using more sustainable materials. I would drape the silicone molds of my body over garments, it was very nice to see my body parts, it was a very fun journey.
That sounds incredible but also scary, was it strange to see your body parts being worn as clothes?
I suffer from body dysmorphia which was the main inspiration for this project. It was very beautiful to see my body. I was suffering from lack of sleep, even getting into these hallucinations. It was the whole journey itself; I was almost living the project. I tried to get outside of myself, it was nice to use what I was going through as inspiration. I found it really interesting.
That sounds really interesting. So how do you find using your work as a form of self reflection? Is it helpful?
I find it very helpful. That is why I base my work on a lot of self reflection. It can help to sort out issues or what is happening now in the world or in fashion. I try to apply this technique where I try to grow with the design. Everyone who works in art and design, maybe not so much design, but art grow with their work. So I find it very helpful. It is about personal growth in my life but also my work. It is a nice journey to see how they are all connected.
Alongside your recent Crystal flower bird being made from bioplastic, you also worked alongside a VR artist, what do you think about the new VR fashion revolution?
I am really into VR and fashion design. I have my own headset I use for meditation, and I love it. It is good for times when you cannot access the actual environment. When I was creating the idea for this collection, I was inspired by a story about travelling to different galaxies. I became really focused on the idea of a virtual game to accompany my garments, with each outfit representing a different galaxy where the person who would play the game would go and build their own clothing and identity. This year a VR artist approached me for a collaboration, saying he would love to make my garments into VR for an exhibition which is happening this week. I said yes, I always wanted to have my things in VR. It is so nice to see. We are also thinking about making them into filters so people can try on my pieces.
That sounds so cool. I am also really interested in VR. I've done a lot of work looking into VR fashion. On one hand it seems so crazy, but on the other it seems so interesting as well!
Yes yes it is! When Vince Ibay was scanning my work I was like wow. I couldn't believe this was happening, because I don't really know much about how it all works.
I really don't either.
Yeah. Sometimes I use it to design in the virtual reality. I quickly sketch out the garment in there. It is very cool actually. I really recommend.
That sounds super cool!
It helps me have more or less an idea of what it will look like.
Thank you to Mata Durikovic for taking the time share her personal journey through bioluxury fashion, and taking us along her design process.