Everyone knows the story about comfort that fails to make the proving ground for further progress. But who really dares to refuse to play it safe? They did!
The success of Marko and Sasha, the popular fashionable duo called the MATES, did not come suddenly, but it neither came slowly, bashfully nor in uncertain steps. The fashion public of Serbia recognized them as they finished their studies and did not remain indifferent. Although they introduced innovative, bold aesthetics, they quickly gained their place within the scope of Serbian, but also regional fashion.
You have several independent shows behind you. How much do the collections differ from each other and in what way did you generate the initial idea and concept of the collection?
M: We try to make each collection different from the previous one, to change the approach to the collection, and certainly to retain the MATES smack. By daily conversations and the things surrounding us, we come to the initial inspiration, which is the starting point of building the entire process, from mood board, sketches to realization, and whole campaigns.
S: Of course the collections differ, but there is a thread of unique MATES aesthetics that is permeated through each of our collections. The very idea and concept are something that is especially interesting to us, and by developing them we strive to move each collection from the comfort zone so that we can see how far creativity can go.
What are the biggest challenges that young designers meet in our midst?
M: Definitely finance and people who are willing to invest in young designers. It’s sad that most designers disappear after two seasons, but I am sure that one of the most important reasons lies in the financial support. I will always stand for the real effort and work to be able to find and build their way, but great dedication and perseverance is certainly needed.
S: It could be said that it is actually a great challenge to be a designer in our midst and to deal with this business.
You’ve been noticed and awarded a few years ago with the first independent collection. How much did this make it easier for you to make a breakthrough the Serbian and regional fashion scene?
M: With our graduation collection and the first magazine at Belgrade Fashion Week, we were awarded with three awards, which certainly facilitated the way in some way, and in some way this made us stand out from other designers at a given moment, but again, I have to emphasize that constant work and dealing with the brand is the reason we are talking to you now.
S: It is an honour to be praised and rewarded with numerous acknowledgments, but a much greater honour for me, as well as the absolute feeling of fulfilment, is when I see MATES pieces on our truly beautiful women.
You recently visited Zagreb for business reasons. Describe the meeting with the Croatian audience.
M: A really wonderful experience! Open people eager for new ideas, young designers, nice and quality things. The organization of Bipa Fashion.hr itself is at a very serious and high level.
S: The show in Zagreb is something that we dreamed many times, and now it has happened to us. I can only say that this was truly a wonderful experience, a completely different viewing angle, as well as the approach to the fashion itself – both for the audience, an incredible energy and mega superior production.
What does a woman you create for look like? What are her interests?
M: Free, independent, strong and modern.
S: MATES woman is completely self-confident, an absolute conformist has a remarkable power of perception, she is very aware of herself and will always attract your attention.
Do you follow the work of the global designer names? Who do you especially appreciate?
M: I constantly follow the developments on the fashion scene. I would single out Roksanda and the designer Simon Porte Jacquemus.
S: I used to do it a lot more when I was a kid, as well as when I was a student who was studying day after night, and now, given a completely different angle, I desire more often to support my colleagues. The names I would single out are Alexander McQueen and Jill Sander.
Have people in Serbia progressed in their confidence in authorial designs versus mass brands?
M: I think that they have progressed and that the consciousness may have changed a bit, but certainly designers are here to make an effort and persuade customers to opt for the author’s work by giving them reasons to do so.
S: I think that Serbia has made several major steps towards the author’s design, but in addition, I believe that we have gained and justified the trust of our customers in recent years.
By: Marko Savić