MM: Tell us about your background. Where are you from, and what inspired you to come to London to study menswear?
TM: I am from Croatia. I did my BA in Zagreb in Fine Arts – Painting. I was always working with different media and my grandparents were great tailors so clothes turned out to be my favorite one. It also has to do a lot with my sentimental nature. I was always interested in London and its heritage, the age of punk, and how it affected culture generally, and some icons that London produced from Leigh Bowery to Vivienne Westwood to Judy Blame, but also tradition in menswear, such as Savile Row. The menswear course at the RCA seemed to be the most suitable for me. They are known for their very individual approach to each student but also the importance of reference to tradition in menswear.
MM: What inspires you as a designer? And how would you describe your aesthetic?
TM: There are many things that inspire me- movies, music, situations, history. My aesthetic is a bit dark and cold. I guess it has to do with the socialist society I was growing up in. Also, uniform inspires me a lot; what I like about it is its inherent paradox; that is, its ability to make one who wears it stronger by giving him certain protection since it identifies a person as somebody who belongs to a group. This strength comes at a price of violence to which a person must subscribe to earn protection sacrificing at the same time his individuality.
MM: Other than designing, what do you enjoy doing most?
TM: It is definitely painting. Nothing can replace the feeling of when I am standing in front of the huge white canvas. I know it sounds a bit cheesy but it’s a bit like Jon Bon Jovi videos..
MM: Your collection seems to draw inspiration from sources as disparate as Americana, grunge, fetish, and workwear. What was the inspirational starting point for the collection?
TM: Yes, it is inspired by the cannibalistic scene in the movie Suddenly, Last Summer. Also, there is this constant reference in my work, which is the radical group, Trenchcoat Mafia – who took parents’ over-sized trench coats to hide weapons inside them, but also to borrow a mature look. This bricolage action relates to my approach to designing, so I was deconstructing this iconic items – such as donkey jackets, crombies, flight jackets, tonic suits…, and mixing them with military elements, and also adoration of one garment, having in mind this Mackintosh fetishistic group. Also, I was looking at Larry Clark’ s images a lot.
MM: Having graduated from the RCA MA menswear course this year, what are your plans for the future?
TM: Well, the good thing is that some shops showed interest in my clothes, so I was very happy when some of the pieces from my graduate collection went into small production. Also, I had some orders from people whose opinion I really appriciate, and I am super happy that they want to wear it! Also, I was interviewed by some Milanese and Parisian fashion houses so I will see what happens. I would really like to do my next collection, and start my own label but let’s see…
MM:Your life mantra?
Sonic Youth’s Drunken Butterfly
I loved the photos!http://streetstylebystela.blogspot.com
Bon Jovi videos, ha! Great interview…