Friday, 15 January 2010

An interview with Slovenian brand niOka...

Our Danielle Ross caught up with Nika, the designer behind the contemporary Slovenian brand niOka...

You recently graced the Catwalk at the INFLUENCE festival in Slovenia which was a great success. Can you share with us more about that whole experience?

International Mediterranean Fashion Festival “Influence” was a 3-day fashion festival including lectures, workshops, fashion shows happening in the lovely town Koper by the Slovenian seaside in July 2009. There were participating young fashion designers from all over Europe. I showed my Autumn/Winter 09/10 fashion collection called “LoLoDiOrRo” on the final evening. The collection was arty, focused on digital printed patterns and colours, what made it different. It was very well excepted.

How does Slovenia living influence your designs?

Well, life in Slovenia is quite peaceful and easy going, which I like. But I love to travel a lot and have a dynamic lifestyle aswell. So my design is influenced by bits and pieces of every day life in general, I like to focus on unimportant, small, boring things and topics that usually other people don't put much attention at. I try to put more sense in it and make something valuable. This is a challenge for me. On the other hand, there are everyday problems and ugly things happening in every day life, which people usually want to avoid and there is also where I find the inspiration, in the ugly and negative emotions, which keep me going. I try to make beauty out of it.

In your opinion how does British fashion differ from Slovenian styles?

British fashion is more daring, the Slovenian one is more casual.

In particular, what materials do you favour and why?

Mostly the natural ones like cotton, wool, silk, viscose.I do favour knitwear aswell and create my own patterns, which are normally used in digital print technique.

Because they are useful, comfortable and special for every day wearing, which my design is about.

You say your designs are inspired by "The ugly and boring side of life’”. Can you tell us a bit more about that concept?

As I mentioned before, I'm inspired by things that other people consider ugly, negative, boring or insignificant. I try to find beauty in ugly things and ugly emotions, which are unfortunately part of our lives and we just need to accept them.

I find challenging to create something beautiful, positive, interesting, valuable out of the opposite meanings. That prompts me to care about life. Sometimes there is a deeper meaning and message behind my work and sometimes there it is just a simple irony, but there it is always a story that everyone can interprets on its own way.

Can you tell us a little about your current collection, inspiration, the thought process etc?

My current women’s collection consists of 10 looks for Autumn/Winter 2010/11. The inspiration are the (in)visible scars, emotional or physical that can mark us forever in one or other way. This is reflected in the collection by focusing on the structure of materials with using a combination of knitwear, woven fabrics and digital printed patterns. I’m also playing with the lines and organic shapes, to which I allow to appear by themselves. Even though the inspiration has a negative meaning, I didn't want to use any black colour in any garment on purpose, because I want the collection expresses a warm feeling.

What makes your designs different yet appealing to your target market/buyers? Who is the 'niOka' customer?

In niOka's designs the colours and my authorial patterns are the main elements, the shape upgrades them. I love minimalism and funny kitsch aswell, that's why I try to mix both feelings in my work, so I define my design as kitschy minimalism. There is a mixture of avant-garde simplicity, artistic craftsmanship, tender provocation and timelessness. A 'niOka' customer is someone who wants to be cool and chic at the same time.

Where/how can individuals purchase your pieces?

To get in contact with me personally, in my showroom ( ) , I'm also selling in Prostor ( Zagreb, Croatia / ), Ostblock ( Zurich, Switzerland / ), but I'm looking for new agents all over the world.

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