Art, music, film, personal preocupations and contemplations are the foundation for every new collection – claims Dragana Ognjenović, fashion designer whose skill has been confirmed by quality and longevity, despite the whims of trends and the challenges of the new ageHow much has the work of a designer changed in the digital revolution era? What challenges of our times do designers face? Dragana Ognjenović remains true to her artistic origins – to design for a woman of integrity, which, in any era, is a phenomenon that stands out
What’s it like to start working on a new collection? To what extent do you tune into the impulses of the global fashion trend, and to what extent do you follow your inner voice?
I try to safeguard my thoughts, in as much as it is possible during this internet revolution, from the influence of the enormous flood of photographs and information. The foundations of my collections lie in the sum of experiences, contemplations, influences from music, film, literature. I record all these impressions on a daily basis and, at some point, a collection is conceived from them.
Does Serbia recognize the value of original design? Could you pinpoint the woman you are “addressing”?
We are a sensitive nation, in the fashion sense – sensitive to design in clothing, but we prefer to trust foreigners. Despite this, there is a sufficient number of informed and interested individuals of integrity, who do not hesitate to select what they like, not just status symbols. I address, like I just said, the persons with integrity who have allowed themselves to pick what they actually like, without any interference from the outside.
As for the relationship of our country to design and designers, I could say that this is a state of a constant lack of interest.
To what extent have the street style influencers, bloggers, democratization of fashion in the broadest sense influenced the global taste and the way the designers approach their work?
I think there are no changes in clothes design, if we are talking about the technique and the procedure of designing; there have been major changes in the way we present design. Nothing has happened in design itself that has not been around before. We all had someone in our immediate environment who had an interesting way of combining different pieces – the only difference now is that this is presented immediately and it has become visible – eventually becoming a profession. The good side of all that is that the internet has made millions of girls and boys create, photograph or film what they have created and endeavour to be more interesting, thus developing their imagination. The internet, unfortunately, also has its downside; the presentation of the personal and private has now crossed the line to where such texts and photographs are no longer aesthetically acceptable, they can hurt others and they strive to attract attention by banality. But, this is something that has always been around, just in different form. In addition, intellectual property and copying are a major topic these days.
The designer’s job is always the same, it is important that they meet their own criteria and the criteria of the profession, to keep raising stakes and remain interesting to the audience.
In the visual era, in a world where first impressions bear ever more weight, is the way we dress more important than it used to be?
Dressing was always a way to attract attention; perhaps it is just more obvious now.
What was the key to the creation of your own taste and then also your original expression?
Parents, probably; their taste, personal interests, curiosity and, of course, the impact of the arts.
What projects are you working on right now? When will you present your new collection?
The new collection for the “dragana ognjenović” line is just out; the next one will be presented at the opening of the Belgrade Fashion Week on April 20; there are plans for an exhibition, too, as lately my thoughts have been driving me increasingly towards painting.