15 Mar Interview with AFA jury member Branko Popovic
Maastricht-based Branko Popovic is a creative entrepreneur active in various fields within the fashion scene including fashion design, project development, blogging, curation and art direction. Under the self-titled brand he has developed various projects including a menswear fashion brand, costume design for theater and dance plays and a lifestyle blog. In addition Branko is known for being one of the co-founders and artistic co-directors at FASHIONCLASH, a foundation that creates interdisciplinary projects with aim to offer platform for new generation designers. One of their successful projects is the annual international ‘FASHIONCLASH Festival’ in Maastricht. This year, he is also part of the jury that decides about who will be awarded with the AFA – Austrian Fashion Awards.
Despite all these activities he took his time to answer some questions about the situation of fashion nowadays. Thank you, Branko!
Are there still any differences between fashion design in European countries or is it all the same by now?
On one hand there are many similarities. We live in a globalised world where we can reach a wide audience throuh online media. Designers of today are ‘global designers’. But as I travel a lot around Europe and meet many designers it is evident to see that the cultural heritage of the designers are influencing their design aesthetics. In contrast to globalisation there are also designers who choose to focus on their local market and more personal approach with their customers.
What are your three top tips for young fashion designers?
Take seriously what you do because you are communicating with your work.
Don´t take yourself too seriously.
Be patient and go step by step; it really takes many years and hard work to get there.
As a jury member of the AFA – Austrian Fashion Awards, what are the most important criteria you look at in a label´s work?
First of all the actual talent of the designer and his/her label’s potential. But also authenticity and how relevant the designer is.
What excites you most about fashion? Does fashion ever bore you?
Like nothing else, fashion knows how to renew itself again and again by creating a new atmosphere each season, using the past as an infinite source of inspiration and by selling and presenting the past as the new future. Designers look back to the past but also dare to speculate about the future. From this perspective designers are shaping the future of the shape of things to come.
I believe that the art of fashion can stimulate a critical debate about controversial issues in our society. By researching and questioning “fashion” we learn to understand the psychology of human behaviour and its role in undermining stereotypes. The central question to ask is “How can we develop the fashion industry to improve well-being and equality?”
What bores me:
The wannabes and arrogant people. To them I say: “Drop the attitude! Take fashion seriously but don’t mistake this by talking yourself too seriously!”
How would you describe your personal style? What does it express?
I am not really into one style, I dress depending on how I feel. When possible I try to wear pieces of young designers, combine it with vintage and accessories. I really like rings and shoes. My wardrobe consists of many dark colors and black.
Recently I try to avoid fast fashion chains and think more sustainable.
Your latest fashion discovery?
I really love Rish Shoes from Serbia, I have several pairs of their shoes.
And here are some names that I am intrigued by: Bethany Williams, Sandrine Philippe, Duran Lantink, Roman Castulik, Manon Wertenbroek, Peter Popps and Fernanda Fernandes.