Already awarded ‘Best Young Designers’ at the ELLE Croatia Magazine Style Awards, Croatia-based brand, Dioralop, is evidently on the path to notable success. Immerse yourself in our exclusive interview with the heart and soul of the brand, Andreja and Maja, where they share with us the quirky way they met, what polaroid pictures have to do with the creation process, punk culture in the late seventies, and the significance of God as well as the number “4” in their collections.
When was the defining moment that you decided to work together towards founding Dioralop and how did this idea come to fruition?
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 favourite 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 jewellery 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.
It says in your bio that distorted and chemically altered Polaroid photos are the main motive behind the design process for all Dioralop collections. In what way was that foundation of your brand conceived?
Besides DIORALOP, Andreja has a brand under her name which is monochromatic, but she has always aspired to work with colors. Until she met Maja, who is an architect, but also the artist-manipulator of Polaroid photographs. Andreja fell in love with the whole technique of creative deconstruction of Polaroids and getting completely new unseen colors 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 inexhaustible number of the most unpredictable color combinations. Also this technique is not usual in print designing and that is the main reason why we have taken it as the foundation of our brand.
Subcultures and street fashion are a strong influence in the creation process. Are there any particular subcultures and street fashions that you take into high consideration when establishing an objective?
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. In these elements we found our signature, lots of hand-craft, layers, ripped fabrics, and unfinished edges.
There is a multitude of colliding textures, prominent cut-outs, and separations in the fabrics used throughout your collections. A few words on this choice?
Tearing of a material and connecting it back together, losing the difference between the sexes, and yet retaining the clean lines of the cuts; the basic issue was how to cut the print which is already strong in itself. That issue became our main excitement in a designing process.
All of your collections share a conspicuous theme of strength that seems to be bursting through the restraints of each piece. Would you say, through your work, you’re giving a voice to those living through modern day struggles and issues?
Apart from the subcultures, we find great inspiration in God and through researching and re-reading the Bible. We couldn’t make it without Him, so we like to send that message to the world, that all struggles and issues are a piece of cake for Him.
From the cardinal directions to the seasons and elements of nature, the number four, seems to hold a great significance to humans. What is your personal affiliation to the number, seeing that you decided to name your latest collection after it?
Number 4 has always represented the number of creation, as well as the beginning of material existence and matter itself, as in the first four days God created everything material. By naming this fourth collection “4”, we called it a new beginning, a new creative cycle in our career which is turning into reality.
Would you articulate that your clothing allows its wearers to break free of the social norms and conformities? If so, how?
Definitely, especially in Croatia, which is a small country with a small fashion scene. We are proud that we transformed quite a few people here from conformism and social norms which was a difficult task. Boys in skirts and dresses, that’s our favourite thing.
In which direction do you see Dioralop moving in the future?
We are very happy that we are going on a small tour this June with our latest collection. First stop is Fashionclash Maastricht in Netherlands and a few days after we are a part of Brighton Fashion Week in England. Hopefully this will open new doors for us, as we are trying to break into the international scene a bit more.