Here is a great read with this interview with Croatian born, German raised designer Damir Doma. Initiated by SSENSE, topics of discussion surround Doma’s upbringing and the influence from his mother that lead him into design while he also touches on working with the likes of Raf Simons and Dirk Schönberger before embarking on his own line in 2007.
Let us start right at the beginning with your childhood – spent growing up with fabric, with fashion, with clothes, all around you – and the influence of your mother, who herself is a designer, which must have been so impactful?
Well, my mother has an atelier so I basically grew up with all these things around me, fashion is something very natural to me as it was always there. I think for some people fashion is something very extravagant, but for me it’s what I grew up with so it was very close to me, it is what I knew so I decided to go in that direction.
Your mother’s factory is actually where your clothing is currently produced – what is it like to work so closely with her?
The reason I was able to start so early is that she had the atelier and factory; it gave me the possibility of doing my collection while very young, 25-26 which is quite exceptional. Most people struggle to find their way through the industry, and for me that was something that was very accessible.
So it’s an entirely positive thing for you?
Totally positive. And it’s great that I can share time with my mother. I am working so much that if I didn’t work alongside her, I would never see her!
You’ve had the chance to work alongside industry heavyweights like Raf Simons and Dirk Schönberger – tell us about what you took from the experience?
When people talk about fashion and those designers, they mostly see the surface, but the surface is not really interesting for me. For me, the most interesting part about my period in Antwerp was seeing how difficult it is to manage your own business, Dirk and also Raf were both struggling, in a way.
That’s the strange thing about fashion – that there are these two sides: the whole press side, that love to talk about the excitement of the fashion world but then the reality of our business is sometimes a bit more brutal and real, and that was a very important lesson for me. Especially working with Dirk Schönberger at that time, because just when I started he went bankrupt, then got new investors, then bankrupted again. To see this, was really, in a way…I was really impressed. Or something deeper than impressed, it was shaking my little world. Shaking it up! To understand how tough it is. People think “I want to become a fashion designer”, but they don’t understand how difficult it is to maintain a certain level. The first collection is easy, but then to grow, and to continue, and to get a certain importance…that’s pretty difficult.
Finish reading the interview over at SSENSE.