An interview with fashion designer Michaela Čapková.
What does the theme of heritage mean for your work?
Heritage is an indispensable source of inspiration when I create. Even though I sometimes don’t intend to reference it directly, I often slip in that direction with the concept. It inspires me either through clothing forms – I like to work with their original function that I then purposefully transform into another one, mostly aesthetic – or via a specific historic moment, event or ritual. I perceive heritage as the most valuable legacy I can turn to as a designer.
Could you introduce the trio of you projects that’s built on the theme of heritage?
Let’s start with Modfolk. The project’s assignment was to get inspired by either the personality or the works of Dušan Jurkovič – the collection was then displayed in his villa in Brno. My concept was based on his passion for sightseeing and camping. You could say that back then tourism started to be a sport also for women. I studied outdoor clothing from the period of Jurkovič’s youth (2nd half of the 19th century) from photographs of various tramping clubs and created similar garments for men and women, featuring coats with hyperbolically applied and sewn-in tourist “luggage” such as backpacks or bum bags.
The ARTEFACTS collection was created for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia and I was able, thanks to fashion designer Liběna Rochová, to get in contact with Czech textile artist Eva Jandíková who produces her own dimity and linen. And it was dimity that eventually defined the direction of the whole concept. Since this material used to be largely utilized as soft furnishings and bedding but also working clothes such as aprons, I was intrigued by the idea of toying with and interconnecting of these morphologies. So I’ve created a collection that’s partially wearable and partially an object – e.g. a pillow transformed into a vest. The collection was also accessorized by delicate Czech cut stones by the Preciosa brand called Chatons, which I’ve glued by hand piece by piece into selected stripes of the dimity pattern. These also carry a legacy since Chaton was the first cut stone in the world that originated from the region of the present-day Czech Republic in the 18th century.
The COOLAGE project came to life as my thesis at the Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture in Prague and, primarily, it was a charity project in cooperation with the retirement home and charity stores Sue Ryder. My vision was to create a 100 per cent recycled collection, which was made possible thanks to Sue Ryder shops that gifted me specific clothes for upcycling. I produced a recycled patchwork fabric that yielded seven women’s outfits. The collection had another, social dimension that reflected the stories of five ladies – Sue Ryder home’s clients – with whom I spent two months. Each garment carried a label with a QR code that took you to the ladies’ personality profiles on the project’s website. The collection was subsequently on sale in one of the charity stores and 100 per cent of the proceeds went towards financing the care and supplies for the Sue Ryder home. Besides clothes, the collection also featured several pairs of hand-knitted shoes created in cooperation with Prague’s senior organization Elpida through their project Ponožky od babičky (Socks from Grandma).
What are you working on right now and in which direction is your fashion design work headed?
As of now, I’m working on a new women’s collection that is taking form in cooperation with Therapy Concept Store and will be on sale in Spring 2020. Regarding my future designs, I don’t dare to make any predictions but I’m open to various collaborations and new impulses. The only criterion I probably have is to approach newly initiated projects with purely local and responsible goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR / Michaela Čapková is a Czech fashion designer, living in Prague, the Czech Republic. Under her name, she creates conceptually coherent limited collections, each of them understandable as product development, bordering on a creative experiment and the search for new approaches. Each collection piece is sophisticatedly transforming fashion design into fine art. The MIM Brand, founded in 2011 by Michaela Čapková, is only focused on certain products from her current collections, offering them in more variants and sizes. MIM doesn’t follow trends. MIM is just a tool to express oneself – without words.
MODFOLK / Ondřej Přibyl
ARTEFACTS – SLEEPING CAMPAIGN / Michaela Čapková
COOLLAGE (grandma portrait) / Martin Kaspar
COOLLAGE (models ph) / SHOTBY.US
Interview / Kateřina Hynková
Translation / Františka Blažková