It is the dream of millions but only a few actually receive the chance to make a career out of it- fashion designing.
The key to succeed is to unconditionally be passionate about design and always be willing to exceed personal limits, as it is a very competitive business that relies on established brand names. Otherwise it might be a one hit collection. Not surprisingly, a lack of sleep, countless working hours and multiple last minute changes should be expected to be included into the daily agenda, not just before fashion shows. Fashion design is not just a dream, you need to go the extra mile for it; it is the attitude towards life, so says Desirée Slabik, a 2015 MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear graduate from London College of Fashion.
The German fashion and textile designer even demonstrated her final MA collection at the London Fashion Week in February 2016, as industry experts such as Anders Solvsten Thomsen – fashion stylist and consultant, Natalie Rigg – Editor, Anothermag.com, Zeba Lowe – Head of Fashion, ASOS and Lorelei Marfil – Editorial coordinator, WWD, alongside Head of College Professor Frances Corner, wanted to highlight Slabik’s skills. The handcrafted demi couture collection, inspired and named after a post-apocalyptical and very clean future perspective of a science fiction documentation called LIFE AFTER PEOPLE, has been created based on the attempt to answer the frightening thought of what would happen if the existence of human beings vanished. Potentially non-existing consumers would have definitely missed out on the designers’ positive energy of life which is clearly reflected in her pieces.
The fashion designer internationally collaborated with jewellery designer, Sari Raethel, shoe designer, Jana Chocholackova, as well as freelancing for contemporary menswear designer, Verena Schepperheyn. Even Canadian singer – songwriter, Allie X, loved her design and wore a piece of the MA collection on one of her London concerts and shared it with her Instagram community.
Apart from being a designer to watch, Slabik has always been a passionate contemporary dancer. She reveals to SANT why she didn’t make a living out of it and exclusively shares a look behind the designer façade. We talk about what she experienced during her student time at LCF and why she loves designing, in particular collaging, sketching, experimenting with structures, colours, materials.
What made you want to choose a career as fashion designer?
My family is very creative and this might be why I love art. I enjoyed optional art classes in my spare time after school and always have been a passionate contemporary dancer. I even taught dance for six years during high school and university. Due to the physical risk, this career, and [my] love for art, I decided to apply for art related subjects; the two options were either to become an art teacher or fashion designer. Although I was offered both, I followed my gut feeling and tried fashion design, [I’ve] never regretted it for a moment.
Why did you decide to study in London?
Initially I started a MA Fashion Design degree at the Artez Institute of Art in Arnheim, Netherlands. This has been a great experience. After one year of the MA course I felt the need to live [in a] bigger multicultural city and London has secretly always been on my mind. I basically just followed my intuition. Luckily, it did pay off. The city is so inspiring; all different kinds of mentalities and cultures are welcome here. The atmosphere is so positive and I felt I had the freedom I need to progress as designer.
What were the highlights of your time at the LCF?
The institution is very innovative and has a great technical support, which enables all students to try new techniques and discover new design elements. Although I appreciated that [I] had enough creative scope for development, it is sometimes difficult to continuously reinvent ideas as a designer. It was great that LCF knows their students profile very well and actively supported each of us during projects whenever needed. The guidance from the tutors was perfect.
In three words- how do you describe your design?
Tactile, graphic, conceptual.
What are your favourite brands?
Dior, Marni, Dries van Noten.
Do you have a design idol, if so who and why?
Absolutely – my brother! His sketching skills are amazing. I admire his capability of beautifully transporting various moods and atmospheres.
To what extend does your design reflect your personal look?
They are not really related; I would say they are completely different. When I design, I feel mostly inspired by Science Fiction, which is very abstract. My personal style is more down to earth and casual, depending on the occasion.
What are your personal all-time favourite items?
In general anything that is pink (it is my favourite colour), white Nike sneakers and my leather wallet that my mum bought me ages ago.
Does your passion for dance play a role when you design?
Somehow it does. Everything I design is based on intuition, this always relates to dancing too.
How did you experience showcasing the MA collection during the London Fashion Week?
It was an absolute honour. I feel grateful that I was able to show my collection and work with influential industry experts, such as the stylist Anders Solvsten Thomsen. He is great.
If you aren’t working or dancing, where could we find you?
Somewhere in a park or cafe with friends or family. Sometimes I also like doing yoga to relax.
Is there any magic advice you could share to help others succeed as designer?
Always believe in yourself, be prepared for constant change and never, never give it up, especially when you feel the passion for design!
Words: Natalie Tack
Tags: #trends #LFW #fashion #designer #upcoming talent #interview
Image 1: Desirée Slabik
Image 2: Desirée Slabik