He is 23 years old, we want to stress that. He was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we want to stress that too. Because, in a Country where “fashion means only dress”, no one would expect to find an high level creative talent such as Marko Potkozarac Feher. He studies to become a fashion designer and, with his naivety, his desire to grow up and learn always more, he told us the evolution of his first real project: Virdzinia is the collection which he realized during the 2nd years of Textile and Technology’s faculty, at the University of Banja Luka; it is a collection that we can define in three words, quoting Marko: “minimalistic, geometric, androgynous”. Now, you judge!
Why did you choose a Fashion School? And what means “fashion” in your Country? Is it considered a study subject? We suppose it is difficult to being recognized as a fashion designer…
That’s not my decision, I’m born that way. The first time when I comprehended myself, I knew that I was born for fashion industry. It’s difficult to explain, but I just feel that fashion is in my blood.
In my Country, fashion means only “to dress”, and it is very primitive, very old-school, close minded. I am studying at University of Technology, which is more focused on technology and textile, and less on design, but I really want to force design as primary subject. So anyway it is difficult to recognize any talent in Bosnia, it’s the same when it comes to fashion.
What helped you to grow up during your studies? What have you mainly learned at your University?
I think I learned some important things; maybe one of the most important is how to be commercial with the designer signature at the same time. I’m not a big lover of commercial fashion, but fashion could be commercial in a good way, that’s the thing which I love the most.
Would you like to continue your studies in a foreign Country? If yes, where?
Absolutely! I would like to continue my studies; maybe I would like to do some internship in Italy, France… In a fashion capital! I would like to continue my studies in Japan, but I don’t want to limit myself with places or something else, I want to be, and want to feel free…
Have you ever participated in a fashion show or events? Have you ever won awards?
I did not! Virdzina was my very first work, at the 2nd year of the studies. So I presented my collection in Banja Luka Fashion Fair, on the student night show, where I gained the sympathy of the audience, and later the sympathy of the media who began to appreciate my work, and they consider that my work has made the growth of the fashion scene of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Your first collection Virdzina has some androgynous aesthetic characteristics. For your line, have you got an hypothetic target? Do you prefer menswear or womenswear? Or, why not, accessories?
My aesthetics are inclined to androgynous fashion, but I like men’s and women’s clothing equal. I also think this is a new time in which the male and female clothing should not be much different. From the accessories I only made bags, that can be worn as backpacks, but I certainly want to do more things, to experiment and grow.
We like so much your large rectangular satchel: maybe they demonstrate the weight of culture? In your opinion, how much is the History of Fashion important?
They are representing the weight of the Balkan life, how many problems people in this region carry “on their backs”. And yes, I like Fashion History, even if it is one thing missing at my faculty. We have the subject History of Art in general, but I think we should focus strictly on fashion. I was very interested in it, so I’ve researched about Fashion History, designers, art directors, collaborations, on my own.
What about the materials and colours in Virdzina? What is your approach to the fabrics, cuts and sizes?
The colours in the collection are shades of gray scale, which represent the state of the Balkan minds, mostly grey and dull, gloomy and quite rarely clear. The materials are cotton, wool, leather, pressed homespun, again something from light weight materials to heavy weight materials, which would connect to the inspiration, and with that it would represent the character of a man. The clothes are slightly larger than the standard size, which again connects to the feeling we sometimes have, that we do not belong to that body in which we find ourselves. The cuts are geometric, it was the task of the university, but that is the direction in which I want to move, geometric shapes.
Could you describe your usual creative process?
For this collection, the creative process began with an inspiration, started with the watching of a film. Later I analyzed the film’s roles, made my own film in my head and tried to feel some of the roles. After that, a mentor at the university announced the task “architecture or geometry”, and I found myself completely in it and I could do what I love, geometry. After that I did sketches, then tested models and at the end the collection raised up.
So Virdzinia is partly inspired by a film. Do you suggest it to us? We think films are incredible treasures for any inspiration and research, an important instrument to know and analyze the contemporary society.
The director is Srdian Karanovic, but the film does not have English subtitles, I’m sorry. Usually I’m not a big fan of cinematography from the Balkans, but this movie is something special. This is a movie that I watched a lot of times and every time I felt confused and strange. It represents the life of a girl whose father decided that she will be raised as a boy, because she is the third female child in the house. It really happened not so long ago, and every child raised up in this way was called virdzina.
We imagine that you like fashion film too. We are waiting for the last Yves Saint Laurent movie, are you?
I am a lover of fashion films, but more documentary than played, and certainly I look forward to every new fashion film from which I can learn something.
Tell us something more about your inspirations. Do you have any special and secret place where you are more inspired than in others?
Inspiration is weird. Sometimes I am inspired by people, other times by a natural phenomenon, sometimes by any street, wall, crying, laughing, rain, snow. It’s weird. Often when I want peace, that very special place can be anywhere, I just close my eyes and I’m there. I like solitude, perhaps then I obtain the best ideas.
Past and present: what are your favorite fashion designers? What are your cultural and creative references?
I’m in love with Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Rei Kawakubo, Jil Sander… I love minimalism, bit futuristic, and mostly black clothes, that all reminds me of some Tokyo/London cultures, also I’m lover of punk, skinhead culture…
We have found your creations by Facebook and internet. What do you think about the social networking connected to the brand communication?
I think its a great kind of marketing, a lot of people find me and my design by internet, facebook, and buy clothes, it’s awesome that someone from New York, Milan, London, Tokyo; can buy and wear my clothes. But I’m also a bit scared because of that communication, I don’t want to live my life sitting behind a laptop and only sketching and sending it to someone, I want to be and feel real…
Your future projects?
I want to try myself as a designer for some brands (not only my aesthetic, I want to try something feminine or masculine, want to try myself as a designer), I want to do internship, to get more information about working as a designer. I want to be prepared to make my own brand, and to have fashion show on some important fashion weeks. I want, I want I want.
And in that “I want” we can read all his will, all his young energy and his determination, the same determination which will lead him far. Good luck Marco!