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The Greatest #9 Interview: Damir Doma

The Youth Issue

 

THE YOUTH ISSUE

THE YOUTH ISSUE ESSAY

A moment of excitement.

A tornado. Where everything is moving, and you keep ahead, you keep ahead wheezing. The stomach buzzes like a drum, and you wait for the end of the concert just to crack the sticks. You follow the tune, the voice of the singer and you swept; a bitter shower is pouring down, down, sliding on your skin, down and down. The feet are impatient, and you are pretty sure you will come out on top, no matter what.

That feeling, the feeling of a war, a battle in need to be faced, even if you are going to stand alone on the line.

The pulse goes on and it won’t stop. You are going to understand the expression:

“I don’t care.” That is the most difficult achievement, but it is going to be the key. You can be careless, because you feel defeated; you can be careless, because you feel victorious. These are the only options. Sometimes they excluded one another, sometimes they fight intensely.

Intense. That’s the word. While you are chasing the most intense beat, you feel hyper, and you don’t perceive the fatigue of time passing by. Time is various, time is vulnerable. Time is going to sign its bill, and you have to train a lot to be able to perfectly fake that signature. For now, you don’t care; for now, you believe that you are stronger than time.

Fair enough, for now the drumsticks are burning and itching under your palms. Your arms are keeping ahead, the strength of that time is the only fuel you need.
The bittersweet drops are splashing around you, more and more.

You used to be eager to grow up. You used to dream about your future. You used to think that everything will be better, once you turned that age. Now you don’t postpone the solution, now you just work for it, although you might be some steps away from awareness. Are we ever going to be aware for real?
I don’t know, and for now, I don’t care.

The audience is screaming, some are jumping, while looking at you. In the corner, there are doubtful expressions, and those are the ones that fascinate you the most. You look for the excitement, but you insist on disappointment. You fight to win it over; however, sometimes you feel too tired to shoot the first blitz. You’ll be an observer, a crocodile studying the strategy in order to attack at its best.

Best. That’s the best moment. The final drum roll, a whirling swell that you indulge in with each strained muscle. Up and up, until you feel the end, the effort that floods you. The moment has arrived, the final stretch, the loud bang, the crack.
The splinters that defined one side of the sticks are your pride, your voice, a demonstration of where you were and when. Those bits are the essence of your struggle and dedication. What remains after a quake:

the Youthquake (Diana Vreeland, 1965 Editorial). 


DAMIR DOMA

Silence, neatness, simplicity, yet, not elemental. These were my feelings, while talking with Damir Doma. A wide white space, somehow suspended in time, where everything seemed to be calm, patient, and studied. An exercise of perseverance. A demonstration of the importance of listening, observing, and going ahead following your nature, your flow. The importance of finding a balance in life is demonstrated by the weight of understanding and harmony. That is why I felt it was necessary to start from one word, empathy, and one question: whether empathy at first sight, between two people, can exist or not. 

Damir Doma

I strongly believe in empathy at first sight. I generally do. That is also the way we work as a company, the way we employ our people, and the way we work with people. It is one of the key elements of choosing your collaborators and the things you do in life. After all, work is part of our lives.

Empathy is something you can feel not only towards human beings, but an image, a song, an object, a piece of clothing, each of them can trigger it. It belongs to the emotions side and sensitivity. Have you ever felt this kind of empathy? 

In my work, instinct is very important, and I like to work instinctively. We need to follow our feelings, and our emotions. Most of the time, it is the starting point of my work. I too do not think that empathy is just between people. It is a general feeling that should guide our lives, and I think we should trust ourselves, sometimes a bit more than we do. Sure, this kind of self-awareness comes with time, but you definitely need to be open for it.

The theme of this issue is Youth, a stage between adolescence and adulthood it is so personal and so important; somehow, it is the early stage of awareness. Do you agree with the general distinction between youth and adolescence?

It depends on how we define youth, whether we define it just in a very simplistic way, like from this age to that age, or we adopt a wider meaning for it. For instance, if I have to bring this topic back to my brand, I could say that it builds following, especially when it comes to our customers, that follow us as a brand for a very long time. We have both very young and quite old customers. Today, defining age is very difficult, because youth can mean a lot; you can be young in your forties, and you can be old in your twenties. It depends on how you want to define it. Youth is something mysterious, because it is quite untouchable. In the past, certain youth cultures were interesting for fashion, and certain designers worked with them very strongly, because they were working closely with their own history. I do this too, maybe, but in a much more abstract way, especially when I think about myself, about feelings, much more than I do about very concrete things that had happened, or concrete dressing styles of a certain moment. For me, youth as a path is not very inspiring anymore. Today, people are generally very conscious, no matter the age. I have never seen the point of looking at my youth, or at somebody else’s youth. It might have been very interesting years ago, when there still were proper youth cultures, but we have lost that spirit a little bit. Today, we are so open to everything, everything is possible at any age. 

Alessandro Furchino - Damir Doma

Speaking about your youth, and creativity, what is the most significant event, or moment, that you can recall?

I generally never look back in life. I do not like to go back. When I forget something, I do not like to go back and pick it up. I always look forward, and I also try to find new inspirations and new moments. So it is very hard to highlight an honest answer. I have my own idea of time, I guess...

Would you like to share this idea?

My work is about repetition of things, it is about creating timeless pieces; for me, time should not be a subject. I would like to create pieces that you could buy, look at in three years time, and still wear, for they would still be modern. I do not like things that have an expiration date on them. That is why I do not like fashion, because it is about time, and my work should not be about time. I am definitely more into style rather than into fashion.

I have highlighted some keywords and I would like you to share your own idea about them. Anger.

Our office is very zen. All the people around me should be like that. Everyone who makes me angry needs to get out of my life. Life is about balance. Anger is something very negative, because it stops you from thinking clearly. I am a very rational person. Perhaps, that is why anger is so negative for me.

Mistake.

For me mistakes are super important. They are the bases of something new. That is why I do not like to sketch so much. Whenever designers sketch, they are just recreating something they already have in their minds. Nothing new can come from that. I am a conceptual designer, I truly try to find new perspectives, and new things in fashion, and that can only happen through mistakes. I like designers to drape. I am interested in seeing the mistakes they make on their way, and I think through these mistakes we can achieve to find new perspectives, new details, new finishings, and new volumes. 

Excitement.

Excitement is very important in our work, because it is the essence of energy. The moment we get excited is the moment we spark new energy, we are actually able to create, and to put even more energy into it. To me, it is like fuel.

Carelessness.

I am trying to be the opposite of careless. I am trying to be conscious, and to think. Although, sometimes in life, you have to be careless, because you need to protect yourself, and that can be a solution for creative and sensitive people.

Do you think real careless acting exists?

I would say that it can be conscious, and that is the big problem, because you decide not to care. Unfortunately, real careless acting exists, and there are a lot of very intolerant and very stupid people on this planet.

I firmly believe in the desperate need of a guide on everyone’s youth path. I chose the word desperate to highlight those moments when you feel lost, which is healthy and natural. Did you have a guide back then you are still thankful for today?

Family is a very important word. Family is not just relatives, but also friends, and people around you. It is important to learn from each other, and it is important to learn from your mistakes. For me, my family was very important in my young age. Since then, the people around me have been.

What do you think of unfinished and uncompleted things?

Somehow, I connect those two words with mystery. Mystery is a part of my brand. It is the idea of not answering every question, even though it is essential to question things. Like Yoshida Kendo said: “Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting and gives the feeling that there is room for growth.” Sure, some might say that the unfinished and uncompleted belong to chaos, but I am everything except a chaotic. Sometimes, I want to be chaotic in my work, in terms of style, and I had to train myself in order to do that. However, I am still a very controlled chaotic.

Damir Doma

About this idea of growth, I’ve always thought that unexpected events, wether good or bad, and the consequences that they bring in one’s life, are the things that makes you grow the most. Probably because they are changes born from choices we have to make in order to face them. In terms of attitude, your attitude, did you gain more from undesired changes or from conscious choices?

Unexpected events are the most exciting moments in life. You need to be strong and ready for it. I have always been ready for it, and I was already strong when I was young. Whenever I had an opportunity, and for me opportunities and unexpected events are really connected, I went for it. Obviously, not every unexpected event is as interesting as any other, you have to judge, take good decisions for yourself, and never be scared of it. That is the only reason why some people do not go for it and stop sometimes, but it is too important to follow our instinct, and to seize opportunities from these unexpected events. No matter if it is about love or work, it is the only way to get to the next level. 

A bit of risk is something that each of us must face at some point in life. It is a stimulating challenge, somehow. With every door being hypothetically open, what challenge would you enjoy to take on as creative director and designer?

I am much more easy taking risks by myself than telling others to do the same. I am a very rational person, and so risk is not a very good thing. It is not connected with unexpected and opportunity. You should minimize your risks as much as you can. Risk is also such a relative thing, because what you consider a risk, it could mean something different for me, depending on how much I trust you, how much I believe you. It is like two sides of the same coin. Some people like risks, I do not at all. As I said earlier, I firmly believe in learning from each other, and so it is important to have different points of view in life, to listen to one another, and to capture the right energy to go ahead.