Not Just Fashion Magazine discovers a new order.
Black eyeliner, black hat and long clothing pieces with symbols that take us to Asian cultures describe a talent from Barcelona who, actually, lives in Bali and invites us to discover her conceptual fashion brand. That i show we met Olga, better known as Honey Kill, fashion designer of the brand Dystopia.
We invite you to learn about her philosophy.
Tell us about how you started in the fashion world.
I started one year ago but I had several years interested about fashion. From more than 10 years I have been working in the art world. I started with graffiti, then illustration and graphic design. Art has always interested me in all aspects.
Going to Bali was a challenge for me to devote to fashion because it is a place to learn to produce it. My main idea was to continue my personal project as an artist, as Honey Kill, but I wanted to transform it into something new and throw myself at design.
And what is your concept of fashion? What perception did you have about the fashion industry?
I was very clear about the style I wanted to create because what was happening to me, and many others I think, is that you cannot find a brand that gets away from every year trends. This made me wonder: “what is it that I like to wear?”. To me black color seems very elegant and a basic piece for everyday life.
Another matter was the oversized and unisex. You can only find them on specific independent fashion brands. Sometimes I go to a store and go directly to the men section because for girls is all very defined in terms of patterns, sizes and graphics. I gradually started conceptualizing what was my version of fashion: something comfortable that would be open to unisex, more diverse and with more choices to people who like dressing differently.
I think Dystopia is something that stands out from the comercial industry. Dystopia does not pretend to follow any trend.
Tell us about the origin of Dystopia and its concept.
Dystopia is a concept that I had worked long time ago as Honey Kill. I focused on a serie of illustrations that spoke of a Dystopia, announcing an evil and perverse future. It was a thought that analized about where the society is going and where it is standing now.
When I put myself into this fashion project it was unclear what name would it have but it had a very strong point of connection with Dystopia. It does not pretend to have a negative mood.
What was your inspiration for the project?
For me, Dystopia is a mixture of all the experience lived in Bali and my background as an artist. I like to mix multi-cultural iconography and concepts that make people react. When people asks me: “¿Does Dystopia mean something negative?”. No, it depends on the sense that you look at it, a Dystopia, can even be something positive.
Sure, that is why we were going to ask you, why a Dystopia and not an Utopia?
Because an utopia is out of reality from the path of everything. The concept that I worked many years ago was created while I was angry. In poetic terms, Dystopia is closer to a color black than an Utopia.
Using this feeling to do something in a positive way.
Yes , the positive influence you get in Bali invites you to prohect things differently. Hindus believe that there has to exist negative things to positive things to exist. That is how the balance generates.
If you had to describe your clothing, what adjectives would you use?
Well, symmetry because it is a constant in my work. Eccentric and conceptual. with a lot of meaning.
If people ask you “What ocassion would you recommend me to wear it for?”
It is a basic style for everyday use. It is comfortable.
Why astrology? We see a lot of it in your scarves and shirts.
Southeast Asia is heavily influenced not by astrology but the lunar system. There are many celebrations around the moons and the seasons that go away from the Western beliefs. I considered how to represent that whole set of beliefs around the universe and I thought of astrology as something constant. Besides, for me, its symbolism and iconography is very interesting.
Your adaptation in Bali.
In the beginning adaptation was very hard due to cultures being so different. We work with craftsmen from diverse cultures who do not speak a same language. I found many closed doors, there were printers that did not want to work with me just because I am a woman or because I did not speak bahasa (indonesian).
Have you managed to make contacts over there that have helped you through this adaptation and conduct the work of Dystopia?
Yes, I have met a lot of people. Most of them have not been valids but I finally was able to work with a craftsmen team who I have connected with and we have been able to elaborate the product I had in mind. In Bali you have two options: either you go to a factory to produce large volumes or go to a craft workshop to produce side by side with the craftsman.
I have very proffesional people that make the path ahead with Dystopia easier for me. In the beginning, many years ago I didn´t think the same. Note that we have made a collection of 400 pieces and it has only taken a year to produce them. That process has been very slow and expensive but the result is very good.
Is that the reason you speak a little about slow fashion right? Did the slow fashion came by force because that was the only thing available around you or was it within the concept that you were looking for with Dystopia?
On the projects you always consider an idea or path to follow but in the end they develop into something different from what was stablished. My idea was to produce a few samples and then go to a factory and make them but I did not like the treatment from the factories with the garment. No care, no caution for finishings. I was satisfied with the samples production that I thought: “I want to produce this type of pieces even if it costs more”. It is worth investing more time and effort even if you get few units. We did not think about making slow fashion with Dystopia but unwittingly we started doing runs of 12 units of each model and say: “We think this pieces is finished. There is no need to produce more”. We do not want to produce more, you know? We believe that there are 12 units of very good quality and special. You have a few pieces, each of them special and different because the printer has not printed the first equally to the last one. The result are unique pieces.
Your fashion references.
I have always loved brands like Boy London, Skingraft o Yohji Yamamoto. This whole serie of independent designers. I have always admiredthem because they create pieces of clothing that will not wear anyone. And that fascinates me.
Illustration. You started first on illustration before arriving to the world of fashion.
(laughs) Yeah, well, I began by graffiti and then I chose illustration.
We saw a video making graffitis very inspired in Asia. By chance, Asia came later.
Yes, I worked a long time on a project in Japan and it was a turning point for me in my career as an artist, I got passionate about the Japanese art, its sculpture and its prints. There has been always an influence of the Asian aesthetic that is reflected in all my artworks.
I am a fan of scientific illustration, I studied it because I love the details, the work of drawings well finished, the symmetries, the perfect lines. That, along with the Asian art, works very well.
Would you define the style of your illustration the same way you defined your style for fashion?
Yes, totally. My work is very symmetrical.
Fashion designer or illustrator?
Mmmm… I think that now I am more a fashion designer because I have barely picked up the sketchbook.
A place for inspiration?
A place for inspiration? Berlin. (laughs)
Because I love the decadent point there is, the recycling point, tha artistic movement, the style of the people, the mood. I love it.
Mmmm … Groups like Cold Cave, The Horrors.
Asia or Europe?
(laughs) Well, now, Asia. Yes.
Faves a la catalana (typical catalan plate) or Nasi Goreng (typical indonesian food)?
(laughs) Faves a la catalana.
Always in black?
Always. Yes. Without exception.
A word in Bahasa (typical language from Indonesia)?
Mmmm … Bekerja . That means work.
That young talents, entrepreneurs could chose to carry out their projects here in Spain.
I would predict an end of the world. At humanity`s rate and the destruction we are doing. I have a friend who says, “The best thing that could happen to the world is that the human gets extinguished” (laughs). And it really is true.
Your next steps.
To continue with Dystopia. Go further with the next collection and learn to do more in fashion and its processes.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. Thank you so much.
Very good! That was cool! Thank you.