SAMPLE magazine, Project O3one and the 40th Belgrade Fashion Week have presented the fashion exhibition of Croatian designers Dioralop in Belgrade’s creative quarter Savamala. So, that event gave us an opportunity to catch up with the designers and talk a bit about their cutting-edge fashion label.
- Hello, please introduce yourself to Still in Belgrade readers?
Hailing from the island of Pag, Croatia, Andreja Bistričić is a fashion designer with a graduate diploma in fashion from Central Saint Martins in London. Maja Merlić is an architect with diploma from Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. The two of us are best friends and we founded Dioralop together.
- Can you tell us more about your fashion brand Diolarop?
DIORALOP is all about creative deconstruction of Polaroids and getting completely new, not yet seen colours and patterns, trying to achieve as much as possible with the abstract images. This very same principle is consequently applied in designing each of the ready-to-wear pieces as we think this technique has an inexhaustive number of the most unpredictable color combinations.
These Polaroid pictures are created by intentional chemical spills and exposing these images to different temperatures. This way the pictures create different colours depending on temperature. Dioralop is actually Polaroid backwards.
- What were your inspirations for the brand name and collections?
The beginning of punk in England in the late seventies is the most inspiring period for us. They had a theatrical use of clothes, hairstyle, and tattoos. Their ordinary clothing was customized by embellishing it with fashion statements, completing it with paint, or enriching it with band patches. All in all, they adapted everyday objects for an aesthetic effect. In these elements we seem to have found our signature, lots of hand-craft, layers, ripped fabrics, and unfinished edges.
- What kind of fashion items you design and where does your production take place?
We design all of the ready-to-wear pieces both for men and for women, even though everything is more or less unisex. We are trying to lose the difference between the genders. We produce everything in Croatia where we are based.
- Did you take part in any Fashion Weeks or had any solo fashion shows so far?
Yes, we have had fashion shows and showrooms all over the region and Europe in general, but we are most proud of the fact that we have had a fashion show and a showroom at London Fashion Week and one at Paris Fashion Week respectively.
6 . What do you think about Fashion week and fashion scene in Croatia?
Croatia is a small market and it does not seem to have a proper fashion scene. There are lots of fashion events in Croatia without any buyers and sometimes without people who seem to fully grasp and appreciate fashion. Apart from a few really great designers who are not mainstream and recognized enough, that’s about it.
- A few days ago you presented your works in a newly opened gallery Prozor in the Savamala. How did it go? We really enjoyed the opening.
We are glad to hear that you enjoyed it, we did too. We met some amazing people and got a great feedback. Girls from Sample magazine did a great job producing this event and we are grateful for their sterling work.
- What do you think about Belgrade Fashion Week? Are there any Serbian designers you prefer and why?
We had a fashion show a few seasons ago at Belgrade Fashion Week and we really loved it and this exhibition was ‘beyond amazing’. Regrettably , we do not know enough about Serbian fashion scene, but we will try to keep pace with it from now on.
- Do you have any role models in fashion? If so, which one?
That would definitely be Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garcons.
- Name a few ready to wear brands you prefer.
Acne, Raf Simons, Comme des Garcons, Henrik Vibskov
- I‘ve noticed you are producing pieces from fab materials. Could you possibly elaborate further where you purchase materials and which kinds are most suitable for your production?
We source our fabrics from Italy and UK. For each season and idea we tend to use different fabrics. We try to use only natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, viscose. We thoroughly enjoy working with really heavy cotton drills even canvases since you can get really good sculptural feel with it.
- Who tend to be your clients?
Our clients are quite varied, all generations and both sexes, but mainly they seem to be coming from creative industries.
- What do you think we can expect from a global fashion scene in the future?
The fashion scene seems to have begun to change in the last few seasons. The industry seems to take a rapid pace and to be rather ‘money consuming’. Creativity is not the most important thing any more, but its commercial value. Independent brands cannot keep abreast with economies of scale and a number of designers are closing down their businesses and discontinuing their brands. But something is certainly changing. Fashion shows as we know it are bound to change, since videos and internet will take over. 16 seasons a year seems to be an insane number, so we will go back to two – s/s and a/w.
- Last but not least , where can fashion lovers buy your clothes and what is the price range?
We have our own shop in Zagreb, Croatia. But DIORALOP is available in USA, UK, China and will be available in Belgrade – Nicolas Concept Store any time soon. Our price range is from 50 to 500 euros.
Translation support by Angloland
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.