Mandarin dream

Out there in the blogspots is a divine monochromatic creative soul that is Natascha Plum. Her secret world is now about to be revealed. A Pierrot among today’s clothes enthusiasts, Natascha’s views seem to deal with terms of orthodox decor, austere scalpel precision, sense and sensuality – sheer elegance with adorable guerilla touch. Currently working on a new collection for women, she is now in retrospect systematising and verbalising her history. In regards, here is a tiny interview with the genius of black, white and grey – that dares dream in discreet flashes of colour.

SD: Do you believe in anti-fashion or the future of fashion? 
NP: I believe and support everything anti-established.

SD: How many of your ideas arrive out of curiosity or reaction, rather than inspiration?
 NP: It depends, really. Sometimes it is  contemplating new impulses, start from scratch, then exploring and repeating these. After that comes reassessment. What I learn and discover daily is interwoven to the fabrics and imprinted in shapes or letters I use. But after all, it merges into one big puzzle I have to put together.

SD: Do you consider yourself an activist? NP: Now when you say it,  yes. Thank you for that question! Everything I do, be it the clothes, photographs or editing  certain content on the web is driven by a cause. To challenge. To get some internal discourse about important issues; be it on process art,  gender identity, deconstructing social constructs (morals, affirmation, shame, etc.)… I like paradigm shifts.

SD: Your creations seem to carry out the qualities of good installation art – an interaction between the traditional and the experimental. How inevitable  for you is the mixture between fashion and other areas – like music, film, arts, literature,…? NP: I think this became integrated in my clothes nowadays. I wish this to be more/less obvious. I can – for instance – tell, in 95% accuracy through work of other designers if we’d share the same influences. It is of big importance to me. I guess, that’s why youth culture and subcultural clothing interested me in the beginning, years ago.

SD: How would you describe your approach? Does life experience also bring influence to your creations? NP: Life can be good and cruel. I regard art per se as counter balance to life. My approach in my work is therefore artistic…

SD: Which shape and colour is your favourite, that inspires you the most? 
NP: Light and the absolute absence of it, in various shapes and proportions…

SD: From your perpective, is fashion something to be of intellectual rather than aesthetic purity? NP: Again an interesting question. Aesthetic must have an intellectual premise for me. In that sense, yes there was art before conceptual art and so clothing design should be able to communicate insight and imagination. The production process isn’t as important as the awareness moment. The underlying sign language of the aesthetic is what fascinates me.

SD: What material you find the most comfortable to work with? Do you prefer the fabric is more natural or more synthetic? NP: Well, I do use both. Just for the sheer caprice of it. But certainly natural fabrics, bring out the best attributes of a garment. I especially love to work with fine wool for suits. It’s miraculous what wool and iron do together. This fluidity in perfectly cut fabric is a very traditional sartorial delight.

SD: Do you have a specific target group of people to wear your clothes? NP: Let me think, so far it proved to be creatives, 20-30-something plus the over-50’s men. Non-locals.

SD: How thin is the line between excellence and arrogance in the world of fashion? 
NP: If we talk about the [big] industry, that line can be hair thin. The more money is involved the less you’re in charge as a designer. You have to understand what your job is. But mostly competition and vanity break loose.

SD: What is it that you appreciate and what is it that you despise the most in today’s fashion in general? NP: Mostly, I’m just bothered when somebody says fashion. That’s why I always prefer to talk about simply designing clothes. And for some reason that seems to become the tendency in a very literal sense. Globally the demystification of fashion and rigid trends itself. If you basically look at the average facilities of big corporate vendors and the way all possible styles, shapes and colors are displayed. From season to season, inbetween, and amidst. Today, it’s Simons for Dor, tomorrow it’s Margiela for H&M. Everybody will get his “everything” in this ludicrous postmodern era. So, in a very cynical  way (we’re talking high consumerism here), I like this defragmentation, because it gives us insight into the diversity of sign language in clothes.

SD: Is snobbery a good or a bad thing? NP: It’s ridiculous. One of the good sides about people here is the almost complete absence of snobbery or elitism. Be it either modesty rooted in that deep patriarchic tradition or a simple residue of socialist politics, but their essence is brave openness (exceptions being little burgoise like everywhere). SMRT FASHIZMU!


Further information:
Images (in order of appearance):
Aleksandra Žiravac (“Death Mask of Living ME”),
Jovana Četković & Predrag Vranić; Natascha Plum


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