delve deep inside a decade of damir doma

To celebrate his 10-year anniversary, Damir Doma teams up with FarFetch for a limited edition collection, Past.Present.Future. As he shares an exclusive first look at the reworked designs, he talks us through improvised beginnings, reacting to an...

by Steve Salter
17 October 2016, 12:40pm

Pascal Gambarte

Never for money, always for love was the name of Damir Doma's combined menswear and womenswear spring/summer 17 show presented back in June. Rather than just describe a fleeting snapshot of fashion's ever quickening conveyor belt, these words could easily read as the Croatian-born designer's mantra. "My work is very personal and sensitive. I'm trying to translate my obsessions into clothes," he explains. It's an obsession that has driven Doma forward for the last decade and beyond.

Having grown up surrounded by toiles in his mother's atelier in Germany, Doma has long obsessed over the ephemeral quality of the human body. From the moment he shared his first men's collection back in 2007, his evolving designs are part of a measured study of proportion and a melange of textures. Never distracted by fashion's fanfare and working just beyond the brightest glare of the industry's spotlight, he constantly proposes a quiet luxury revolution, just doing what he loves. Time flies when you're having fun though and to mark his 10-year anniversary, he's teamed up with teams up with FarFetch for a celebratory collection that updates some of his most iconic, gender fluid creations. Instantly recognizable Damir Doma classics such as the 'Infinity' coat, 'Scarf' jacket and 'Bag' skirt, all feature. "This was an emotional exercise for me as with every piece that I pulled out of the archive and started to study, I felt like I was thrown back in time again," he laughs. Ahead of this week's launch, Doma invites us to delve deep inside his past, present, and future.

What was the starting point for Past.Present.Future? How did you start to distil a decade of design?
The starting point was clearly the idea to bring together what had been on my mind back then with what's on my mind right now. I would say my work is very timeless, so it was rather easy to mix up all these collections for the Farfetch collaboration. The distilling was also very straightforward and instinctive. I pulled out the pieces that I consider iconic and important for the brand in one way or another — it's the first pieces that came to my mind when I started to think about past collections. To be honest, it was very emotional for me to work on the project. I feel that in the last few years I never really took the time to look back and reflect on what actually happened to me. I still feel that I'm living my dream. Behind every piece that I picked there is a story and there is a person who worked on it.

How would you say your work has evolved over the years?
I feel the essence and starting points of all the collections are still the same, but I would say that the product changed. Today, we are more professional and mature as a company, which you can see in the final garment. At the same time, I'm still trying to keep a certain naivety when it comes to designing and creation.

What are your overriding memories when you think back to 2006?
There are so many, but obviously the first show was very special for me. We basically started with zero budget, little experience, and a lot of naivety. It felt like some strange dream for the first two years. The first show was staged in a courtyard of a church in Rue des Archives, Paris. I remember writing handwritten letters to a priest who was responsible for the church asking the permission to do my show there. He didn't reply to the first three letters, so finally I had to fly to Paris to talk to him personally and he agreed. The show was very improvised; the first models arrived and we sent them to a hairdresser on the corner of Rue des Archives to fix their hair, the makeup was literally a box of powder from Jean Paul Gaultier and we forgot to bring light for the photographers, so I had to organize it last minute and so on. In the end, it was a great success and from there it all started.

What would you say has been the greatest challenge you've faced since you started? How did you overcome it?
The last 10 years were very turbulent years in the fashion business, with so many changes and so many crises in different markets. I think it's crucial for us to stay flexible and dynamic to overcome all these changes. I believe being an independent, niche brand is a real advantage in today's environment. The greatest challenge I would say was to stay happy and play by your own rules.

What's the greatest lesson learned from 10 years in the industry? What advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
I think the most important advice I can give is to find out who you really are and what you really want from your life. I believe it's crucial to love what you do and stay true to yourself. That's also something I had to learn over the last few years. I think the only way is your own way!

10 years strong, what continues to drive you?
I love creation. 10 years on I'm still happy to go to the studio every morning.

What excites you most about tomorrow?
I like change and at the moment the ground is shaking and the system is cracking up. I can`t wait to see what's next and how things are going to evolve. I believe it's a fantastic moment for brave people.

The Damir Doma Past.Present.Future collection is available exclusively on on October 17. 

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