MODEM: The fashion industry is not always an easy place for independent designers. Tell us about why you’ve decided to found your own, eponymous brand… MARIA DOYCHINOVA: I was very young when I decided to become an independent fashion designer and so I didn’t thought about the fashion industry or how I will make it. My goal was to create pieces of art that correspond to each other with different identities. Later, when I worked in London with Roland Mouret, I realized it is possible to be creative and successful, even if the fashion industry is a tough business.
What were the challenges that you had to face — and that you are still facing — as an independent designer?
A big challenge for me is to find qualified people to work with and to keep them for a long time. Also finding investors, fabric producers, and good showroom representatives is challenging.
How has your signature style evolved in the past years, since your launch in 2009?
My first independent collection dealt with the question of personal identity. We staged a great show in a big church in Vienna, where we projected orthodox Icons over the models’ faces. The next collection was a symbiosis between myself, as a designer, and two other artists. The paintings were inspired by the collection and each collection piece was featured in each painting. Then, the next collection “In Comment“ was a comment about how people wear political symbols without realizing what they actually represent. “Petroleum”, for its part, dealt with the question of exhaustible resources. “Cover” was an ode to old book covers. We had a lot of layering and handmade safety triangles with custom-made engraved graphics. The collection “Reflex Light”, for its part, was very graphical and featured lighting lines. And so on, until the last collection “Stamp”.
Describe your most exceptional creative experience to date. How did it influence your work?
I would say that my most exceptional experience was working with Hussein Chalayan in London. His highly creative design process has always fascinated me. There was also a project that was named “Nylon 6.6”, for which we made a collection crafted from Airbags. It was very exciting to work with partners like VW, Mercedes, Citroen etc, and to create new shaped out of existing airbags.
Who are your muses currently?
Not just currently, my muses are high quality, good manufacturing, ethical fabrics, and creativeness.
Is craftsmanship playing an important role in your collections? If yes, do you find this craftsmanship in Vienna?
Yes, craftsmanship is important for me. I enjoy to experiment with different materials, and I always try to push the borders of casual fashion. So I work with different artists for prints, laser cuts, graphics, leather works, etc. Most of them are based in Vienna, but also in Sofia.
What’s up next for DOYCHINOFF?
We just participated in a concept store opening in Vienna at Q19, but we are also looking forward to be active on the international market, which is why we’re currently working on our exhibition that will take place in Paris at Bureau Seutail next season.