BIOLOXURY ERA

Originally from Slovakia, Mata Durikovic (MADbyMAD) is a fashion designer currently working with Chanel in Paris, as she enchanted the brand (and the rest of the world) with her use of self-produced edible bioplastic “fabrics”. In an interview with SWARM Mag, she draws aside the curtain on the playful flowery language of her garments, her childhood imaginative extraterrestrial inspiration, how the leftover starch water from boiling potatoes her late grandmother used to water plants with inspired her to invent her signature “Bioplastic Crystal Leather” and more.

How did you get into fashion design, and why was it something you were drawn to?

Fashion design has always been something I was naturally drawn to since very young age, at 3 or 4 years old. I used to spend a lot of time with my grandma and we played out portal-travelling galaxy games, during which I used to dress up as a different character, which represented one of the galaxies I used to imagine. I would design outfits for myself and my toys, and then my grandma would help me make them. She was a very crafty person and she also taught me how to knit, crochet, cook and reuse old stuff or garments from my mum/dad/herself. I was given complete freedom, and I think that is what made me not be scared to experiment. Besides my grandma, I had also help with sewing from my mother who was also a chemist and introduced me to chemistry in her laboratory in high school where she was teaching. I was so enchanted by this discovery that I started growing my own crystals and mix different weird potions. Moreover, my father who studied transport design, and currently is dedicated to graphic design, shaped my first design thinking. Later on, when I was 11 year old, I decided after not winning a competition for the W.i.t.c.h. magazine, where I designed outfit for one of the characters, that I will succeed in the future and become very successful young designer. Later on, I made a plan on how to succeed, and made contract with myself I will get into one of the best universities to study Fashion Design, Central Saint Martins in London. And I’ve done it!

In your collection, you aim to redefine the perception of fashion. Why do you think we should redefine the process of making clothes?

I think that we need to redefine anything where we want to see change. And this is very essential now in fashion industry. I believe it’s up to us, young designers, to start to rebel against fashion and redefine the process of how clothes are supposed to be made and try to find a different approach, which could lead us to many new options and then solutions to current issues in the industry. Wa cannot stop experimenting because that is what gives us new ideas and approaches, new purposes. I try to rebel against the luxury division, everything I make is made in my home kitchen with extra value added and is also biodegradable but it’s still keeping the high standard of haute-couture. All my techniques are only done by hand such as knitting, crocheting, cooking. I use only recycled materials and old products to redefine their old purpose and give them a new one. 

Can you tell us more about the process of making the collection?

My work process is based on a design technique called “material-driven design” where I first aim to experiment with the material itself, sourcing inspiration and ideas from its qualities and forms or what product it would suit the best. Afterwards, I develop the whole shape of the product and do further product design development on this material. I am inspired by those materials that excite me the most, give me more freedom and keep me open minded to experiment more intuitively. Then I start creating little drawings and visuals in my computer, and then the making part of my design process starts and I start aiming for what I designed. However, I try to keep myself not too fixated on my ideas and designs because many times, I found better solutions/designs/etc. during the actual design process and the result ended up being better. I put a big emphasis on my intuition, which I always trust and follow first.

Can you talk about your inspirations and how your style has evolved since you began?

My big current inspiration is actually my grandma and my relationship with her. She was a very sustainable person, and used many practices at her home. She used to save starch water after cooking potatoes. Then she watered her plants with it. This starch water is a basic bioplastic material, which has been my main one to explore and from which I discovered my “Bioplastic Crystal Leather”.

However, I find inspiring everything that is happening around me, to my friends, to me. My friends and my personal issues. I try to reflect on it all and through conclusions, I try to solve bigger global issues. You could say I am trying to help globally through solving my own issues in life. Currently, it’s the lack of sustainability in the luxury fashion industry.

Regarding my style, I am inclined to creating my own, mixing Eastern European influences with galactic universe styles and other cultural influences. I call it “Pink Matrix Babushka” & “Strawberry Crystal Alien Eating a Strawberry”.

What is behind the definition of Bioluxury?

This term is made up by me and represents the ideology I have, ”Bioluxury era”, through which I picture the ideal situation in fashion and mainly in the luxury division – only biomaterials, zero-waste and recycled materials are used for production. I am also trying to demonstrate it through my work by showing that luxury fashion can also be sustainable, not look like “the traditional sustainable aesthetic” and still keep the high level of craft and aesthetics of haute couture. Moreover, the extra value of sustainability and zero-waste fashion is being added. 

“Bioluxury” is coined from the word “bio”, which represents the bioplastic material I use in my work, which I call the “Bioplastic Crystal Leather”, and the word “luxury”, which, for me, represents something that is highly valuable and not available for everyone, but also easily degradable and intangible – just as us, humans.

What projects can we expect to see from you?

I have just showcased my last collection PINK MATRIX 23 at London Fashion week, with the help and funding from Fashion Scout and Slovak Fashion Council. 

At the moment, I am getting ready to prep my products to be sold and hopefully released soon. In April, there will be an exhibition in Slovakia with a planned performance opening event of making bioplastic with the audience. Besides that, I am working my regular job in the industry as a textile designer for Chanel in Studio Tissues.

Last question: What would a utopian society look like for you?

I would define my utopian society as a completely healed society, where each member would be freed from their own shadows and would find their own pure identity and purpose as a completely healed member. Everyone would operate only from loving and positive vibrating intentions, and would lose their ego for bigger purposes. Then, I believe, we would have no bigger issues and also sustainability would not have to be a hot topic anymore.

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Bio

Mata Durikovic is LVMH Green Trail Award nominee, and won awards such as ITS 2022, she is also the Best Fashion Graduate 2022 award winner. Besides all awards, Mata is Swarovski Foundation and UPW scholar who graduated from Fashion Design Womenswear from Central Saint Martins in 2022. Mata has various experiences and a history of working in textile design and womenswear luxury industry. She is skilled in research, knitwear, crochet, embroidery, pattern cutting, and print design. Mata is currently based in Paris where she works as a textile designer for Chanel in their textile design research team. 

In her personal work, Mata is focused on sustainable luxury fashion within her MADbyMAD bioluxury brand. Under the motto “Be MAD! Be Bioluxury!” she uses bioplastic material that she invented, called “Bioplastic Crystal Leather” as a leather replacement, and 3D embroidery. She uses it in combination with recycled Swarovski crystal waste, dead-stock yarns and zero-waste techniques such as knitwear and crochet. She just presented her first show performance during London Fashion Week 2023.

Credits

Fashion designer / MADbyMAD by Mata Durikovic @madbymad_ 

Interview /Kateřina Hynková

Photos / 

BACKSTAGE IMAGERY by Pawel Przytock

SHOW IMAGERY by Anna Savenko

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