INTERVIEW: NEŽA DAPČEVIČ
In a few sentences, introduce yourself to our readers: who are you and what is it that you do?
My name is Neža but they call me Neki which means (something). It was a nickname given by my Montenegrin grandfather and it followed me on my artistic journey. Coming from a small village near Maribor, Slovenia I moved to the capital Ljubljana during high school to grow in my creative aspects. I turned NEKI into my own representative name as a fashion design graduate student and looking forward to creating it into a brand. Besides creating my own designs I part-time collaborate as a stylist on music video sets or fashion editorials and as a personal stylist for a well-known Slovenian singer Amaya – Maja Keuc.
When was the first time you showed interest in fashion and being creative?
I was creative since I stepped on my toes and went into my first ballet class. Alongside a 16-year dance career in ballet, contemporary and hip-hop dance I as well painted and drew. I never learned how to sew so after the professional dance and painting era it was a skill I wanted to develop and add to my creative list.
How did your fashion journey begin?
Funny to think back, fashion was never my first choice of studying, I was a dancer my whole life and I also finished A levels in Art and Design as a painter at the British School of Ljubljana. But since childhood, my mother was my styling inspiration and I loved going into her closet to play dress-up. Somehow I ended up applying to fashion school and that’s when I realised that I can combine all the art elements which are my passions such as movement and fine art into fashion design. When I saw all the possibilities which I can make wearable every day either as ready-to-wear collections or performance silhouettes, that’s when my eyes really opened.
How would you describe your style and aesthetics? Who do you design for?
My aesthetics lean more towards futurism, emphasizing the volume in silhouettes and manipulating fabrics while upcycling a lot. Coming from a hip-hop movement background I design with a dancer’s mentality of being comfortable and not being afraid to stand out. Designing the idea of unisex collections I love to see all types of bodies no matter the gender in a collection. I want my muses to feel cool in everything no matter who they are.
Where do you draw your inspiration from, what’s your process of creating like?
I draw inspiration from everything whether it is still life, movement, everyday things we see or feel, paintings, sculptures, cultures, countries, and music that always played a big part as a source … I usually take what inspires me and I form it into some sort of a visual mood board or collage. Sometimes I go straight into fabric manipulating experiments or I already proceed with clean sketches on my iPad. I like my process to be free going from one thing to another or coming back to the first foundation and I never limit myself to the way ”it should” be.
What moment in your fashion career so far are you most proud of? What are your plans for the future?
I’m the proudest of finishing my graduation collection and shooting it in Iceland, which was a whole different challenge and my first ever small collection PACHA for a Stylo fashion show that gave me a ”big push” to pursue this road. I’m looking forward to continuing my MA degree studies in London or Paris and collaborating with more creative international artists.
What does PACHA as your first small collection represent?
PACHA coming from the Latin American tribe is the meaning of illusion in nature and the peace that a human body finds in nature’s frequency of sounds and textures. Inspired by living in Iceland and studying at the Iceland university of Arts, the collection is drawn from ice, lava, waterfalls and its general flora and fauna. PACHA represents a unisex ready-to-wear collection reflecting on fabric manipulation forming muses/avatars into a futuristic period. PACHA is an open question of how we feel in nature and what is our relation to it.