We thought a staged interview would be the best way to communicate what’s behind aporeei. I have compiled a dozen of conversations between Beata and myself into one ‘phantom interview’. Sort of reverse-engineering our recurring thought exchanges.
Q: To begin with, I would like to ask you about the collages that appear on your instagram. They correspond very well with your designs...
A: It’s a very basic technique, but also very important in the development of contemporary art. It allows you to juxtapose different elements and create a fragmentary reality that best reflects the world we live in, a world made up of coexisting fragments in space and time. aporeei clothes are also collages. They are made up from fragments.
Q: So that’s what the oval-shape represents, a ‘fragment’?
A: I called the collection the ‘old collection’ because to me, aporeei clothes are always already outdated. I take many ideas and references to form an impossible synthesis that blurs all the lines into one curved line. The oval shape is a product of a disintegration of many forms found in fashion. This way I was able to come with something that is always escaping references. For some constant referencing and citing in fashion is its very core. For me, on the other hand, the most interesting bit is what is left after you mute them. What emerges is the fragment, something that was created out of multiplicity.
Q: And what is left when the references are not readable?
A: I believe what is left, is the anatomy of the garment that somehow gets closer to the anatomy of the body. I feel like I am constantly experimenting and the results surprise me. Like I don’t have any preconceived idea of the garment that I am making.
Q: This is fascinating. Do you find a lot of joy in your work?
A: I do. I think aporeei is about joy. It is about my joy when making the clothes and about the joy of wearing them. I want them to be playful, to carry this playfulness I experience when designing.
Q: So you want to be playful yet critical? How to combine the two ideas?
A: Have you ever heard about decadence? To be truly decadent means to reject what is oppressive by play. Playing allows us to place ourselves between the rules and the complete lack of rules. I think this is a very productive idea for design. There are many techniques of classical dressmaking that I celebrate in my designs. Some of them come from the world of haute couture, and others are used in upholstery. The little holes you find in many of my designs require a special finishing technique I developed alongside very experienced dressmakers. I can say that I play with complicated, hence rigorous things.
Q: Oh yes! Let’s talk about the little holes. Do you make the hole after the garment is finished? Is it your signature?
A: Oh no, the holes are drawn directly onto the pattern. They require both the dress-maker and me to work very closely as each curve and each fabric pose new challenges. I think you’re quite right about them being my signature. The liquid forms, and especially irregularly shaped holes are, to me, a form of resistance that opposes mass-production sewing techniques. You wanted to know how being playful and critical is possible at the same time and there we go!
Q: In our earlier conversation, you mentioned that you’re bothered by the fact that the idea of novelty in fashion is understood one-sidedly; as a change of hemlines between seasons.
A: I am interested in the idea of novelty very much; how novelty in fashion is created. As a designer I feel a pressure to alternate the hemline. I am forced to do it, to introduce something new all the time, something radically other to what was before and yet maintain my unique language. This remains unquestioned, everyone needs to conform. On the other hand, I understand that we need novelty on the psychological level, we need change. Maybe one day we can come back to this. In my work, however, I am trying to tackle the problem of novelty from different angles. It starts with the fragmentary character of my designs. Also the idea behind ‘13 days’ is about that. It introduces different temporality into fashion; by interrupting the cycle of production ‘the new’ is not becoming ‘the old’ by the loss of value at the end of the season. My designs remain blueprints, remain mere propositions.
Q: In your work I can see the opposites coming together. You often join humble fabrics with quite elaborate sewing techniques. You use leftovers produced when cutting as an ornament, in Wasteno trousers for example. I wonder if you see any meaning behind it?
A: It’s an interesting observation. I would explain it like that. I am interested in fashion as a historical concept, as a certain tradition. I guess, in my head, there are two traditions clashing. The first one is the sartorial tradition and the second one is the anti-fashion movement. I think my work is also part of the anti-fashion movement, its further development. I need to grapple with a question famously asked by Victor Papanek, ‘should one design at all’? Anti-fashion is a response to that. It is an attack on fashion, on clothes. I am pass the stage of pure negation and also trying to offer something positive.
Q: Yes, pieces created by Margiela are an attempt to deconstruct fashion. They’re quite good examples of ‘attacked’ clothes, quite literally. Your pieces look more like ‘putting things back together’ than tearing apart...
A: I think it is because the deconstructive process already happened, somewhere at the beginning of my journey. It has to do with the removal of references, with coming up with a new form that allows plasticity, the curved line.
Q: Would say that your language is…
A: The curved line? I think I don’t have a language! I think the curve is pre-linguistic, if I may put it that way. On a semantic level I am more interested in concepts that can be used to describe what is fashion than anything else.
Q: Would like to tell me which concepts?
A: That’s a topic for another discussion!
Text created by Paulina Martyna, aporeei’s critical half.