We have a special guest on Still in Belgrade. Jelena Malesevic, fashion designer and owner of fashion label Morfium is answering our questions. Morfium is established in 2004 and has a studio based in Belgrade.
Hello Jelena. We are happy to have you here. Can you introduce yourself to “Still in Belgrade” readers?
Yes. I lived and travel a lot: Milan, Amsterdam, New York…
For years we were presenting Morfium in DoubleOne showroom in Milan to fashion clients from all around the World together with big and well known brands such as A.F. Vandevorst and Rue du Mail. So we were concentrated on developing of distribution network. Of course, many times I was invited to take part in fashion shows from Berlin, Paris and New York but unfortunately I couldn’t afford it. I still don’t have investor who could help me. Good fashion shows are extremely expensive and it includes big investment for presentations on international scene.
I started very young at the same time I was studying archaeology. First i started with the exhibitions of hand printed textile. Very soon after it to present my collections on Belgrade fashion week 1998. Then I had invitation to start working as a costume designer in Nation theater where I had a chance to learn how to became a pattern maker which help me a lot in a future. That was a hardest thing to learn. For me it is a perfect combination to use my archaeology experience knowledge in my art which is a great search for archetype of women nature. My basic idea and Morfium concept is to use Balkan heritage and to mix it with progressive and futuristic design with strong impact of mythology and archaeology.
Yes, I am a great admirer of all kind of arts from my early childhood. While I was in a ballet school i had opportunity to feel the scene and the audience and to enjoy in theater full of music, beautiful costumes and ideas. It was a place full of magic and wonders. For me beauty as a consequence of harmony was marked my life.
When I started in 90’s there was a lot of talented people around for example Aleksandar Protic or Zoran Stanic and many others. Unfortunately our fashion scene did not develop in a way it could. There are still many talented people without a true chance to develop their knowledge and ideas because fashion is a craft and a hard work which needs industries behind its back and market for it. Personally Morfium is focus on international market with real competition where you can check your own achievements and ideas. The point is if you want to success you need to have original ideas and perfectly made products.
As a designer I am into avant-garde and progressive fashion looking up to the future. So, that is the kind of fashion I like the most. Designers as Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh… were my natural choice of interest and curiosity. Today fashion scene is going more on commercial direction. For me fashion is art not only business.
I always have my favorites because models are also muses for designers.
My advice for young designers to learn from better, to be brave, dedicated and disciplined. No one knows what future brings to us but we have to fight for our visions and dreams.