DIORALOP is an upcoming aspiring design-duo from Croatia. Their collections are inspired by Polaroid pictures, which were created through intentional spills of chemicals and their exposure to different temperatures. The duo consists of Andreja, who obtained degree at Faculty of Textile and Technology in Zagreb/Croatia, graduated from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in 2009 specializing in womenswear, whilst expanding knowledge interning at Alexander McQueen studio, and Maja, who is an architect, with strong sense of texture and style.
How and when did you decide to start DIORALOP?
That is a funny story. The two of us met at a wedding party and we didn’t know anything about each other. Andreja had a brand of her own then and it was not until two months later that Maja realized that she was talking to her favorite designer whose clothes she was buying a lot. So we met again at Andreja’s showroom where Maja came to buy a dress again and we started talking about fashion, art, and architecture and eventually became friends. At that time Maja was designing jewelry based on Polaroid pictures with which Andreja instantly fell in love and wanted to use as fabric prints. Everything else happened spontaneously and we decided to order 2 meters of fabric, just a sample to see how it looks. It worked perfectly and the rest is history.
Was there any particular thing about your individual work that you thought would be interesting to combine?
Maja’s Polaroid prints and Andreja’s cuts and innovative design brought us together.
You two have quite an interesting past. Maja being an architect and Andreja, former intern at Alexander McQueen and graduated from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design – Do you use your different background to draw on your individual experiences in your work?
Architecture and fashion may be two different backgrounds but they are very similar in many ways. Construction, textures and planning in architecture are perfectly applied in fashion, too. Maja is very well organized, doing all the paperwork’s and emails, while Andreja is in her own creative universe being child-like naïve. So we have a perfect balance of these two worlds becoming one – DIORALOP.
I’ve read that you draw inspiration from, amongst other things, subcultures – are there any particular subcultures you find more inspirational than others?
The beginning of punk in England in the late seventies is the most inspiring period for us. They had (have) a theatrical use of clothes, hairstyle, and tattoos. Their ordinary clothing was customized by embellishing it with markers, adorning it with paint, or enriching it with band patches. All in all, they adapted everyday objects for an aesthetic effect.
Can you simplify how you use that inspirational source in your design?
Lots of handcraft, layers, ripped fabrics and unfinished edges, always trying to achieve that atmosphere in our collections as well in campaign images and videos.
You’ve mentioned that you’re reading and re-reading the bible and thereby you find even more inspiration. Would you describe yourselves as religious or are you just curious?
We are not religious. In fact, Jesus was the most anti-religious person ever; religious people crucified Him. We have found the truth in Him and by rereading the Bible we are strengthening our faith and our personal relationship with living God. The Bible is our sword in everyday life and an eternal inspiration.
Does your inspiration source change throughout you different collections along with your aesthetic?
The main idea stays the same, but we always try to find new things, situations and issues to get inspired by.
Other than that you’ve said that issues with an emotional impact inspires you. Have there been any issues this past year that you have used as inspiration source in your new collection?
We could say that issues that Croatia is facing as an ex-Yugoslavian country were inspiration. Socialist architecture of former Yugoslavia surrounding Zagreb, which is haggard and grey, trying to find some light in it. The SS14 collection stands strong and stoic, facing the world without contention.
Have you had any struggles being upcoming designers in Croatia, a country that doesn’t have the biggest fashion scene?
Of course, Croatia is a country without proper fashion scene. We don’t have buyers, fashion journalists and sometimes even fashion-oriented people. The funny thing is that, despite all of that, we have 4 fashion weeks. You spend a lot of money for nothing exhibiting here. So the greatest struggle was to turn a new page and go international.
What has been the greatest struggle to overcome with DIORALOP?
The greatest struggle is always financial one. However, we are always full of hope and faith and we always find our way at the end.
In what direction do you see DIORALOP heading in the future?
In all of the directions – all over the world.
What is the next big thing for DIORALOP?
We are going to present our AW 2014/2015 collection in Fashion Scout Paris Showroom during Paris Fashion Week and we will see what will that bring.
See more of DIORALOP at dioralop.org
Interview by Emma Marie M. Johnsen