Aucarre, the Athens based brand with an anthropological approach, have been named as a One to Watch for SS19! Inspired and influencer by the notion of the female, and taking cues from feminine surrealism, the two women behind the label, Eirini and Dimitra Skalidaki have traversed the space between politics and design.
Seeking to empower women through aesthetics, the designers have harnessed their romantic world view and interpreted this through theatrical prints, textures and colour palettes. From using ecologically responsible fabrics to incorporating live flowers into their designs with a craftsmanship and delicacy that echoes that origins of the blooms themselves, the depth of thought that surrounds their creative process is admirable. We caught up with the designers to hear more about their SS19 collection, how their childhood affects their designs and why they're hoping to include more women in their brand.
Congratulations on being named a One to Watch! How did you feel when you found out?
We recall that afternoon when receiving Fashion Scout’s email as the most fulfilling moment of a very difficult day. After a struggling meeting with our pattern cutter we thought that nothing could go right that day. But we were wrong! The moment we found out we actually believed that we are doing the right thing. It was really encouraging that this supportive team believed in us and our vision among so many talented designers. This moment is an opportunity for us to pursue our dream and make the best out of this unique experience!
What has inspired your Spring Summer 2019 collection?
SS19 collection is inspired by FEMININE SURREALISM. In a dreamy “super-real” world the new image of the woman is portrayed, stimulated by her everyday silhouette giving a new rejuvenating and refreshing aspect of her alter-ego. In this surrealistic world the feminine unconscious express itself and appears though a fearless, dynamic, strong and powerful way. Objects defining femininity such as flowers, sparkle elements and domestic motives have been placed into illogical contents to form the patterns of our prints applied to shapes inspired by the Matrix Future Woman.
How do you stay inspired?
People always panic about the way women look. This means that appearance has to be dynamic. Empowering the appearance and upgrading the women of the modern society is always the inspiration of the brand. Wearing fashion is a visual representation of other people, on how to get treated. As the appearance of women is always on the spot, we emphasise in feminine power giving a voice to all women irrelevant of her cultural, religious, social or political status.
We have to find a story. Be part of it. Feel the atmosphere and vibration. It is not just an art piece displayed in a gallery that inspire us. Exhibitions are where research stems from in order to compliment our stories. Then we try to interpret our ideas into shapes, fabrics and contemporary characters without forgetting our initial inspiration but only trying to develop it. Ambition. Drama. Theatricality. Atmospheric. Romanticism. Bold. are some of the words that define us.
Also, what determines our process is that we kind of work together without losing our individuality. According to the fact that we both like the same things, our pathways in Print and Knitwear proved that our similarities are our strong differences. Having always someone on your side to criticise and push the work is like talking with your alter ego. It always has something new to say!
What themes and concepts are you exploring this season?
For our SS19 collection we experimented with real flowers as an initial element of creating both our prints and knits. This experimentation has started with a collaboration with a traditional cretan jewellery workshop where women massively select seasonal beautiful flowers, form our fields of origin. During their process they beautifully display numerous flowers on surfaces applying chitin. As a result they produce thin layers of glass with encapsulated flowers. After isolating each flower, we hand weaved them in our knitwear embellishing our garments in order to visualise our aspiration for craftsmanship. We believe that the majority of people enjoy the “experience” of personalisation which keeps them unique, so products that combine techno style effects with the quality of handcraft are much appreciated.
Personalisation and craftsmanship are themes that we have in mind especially when offered by small manufacturing units that benefit women of our country. We aspire to have the chance to develop kind of these techniques and concepts in our upcoming seasons and succeed in involving more women worldwide through our work.
Themes of sustainability, diversity and inclusivity are permeating the industry. What changes would you like to make through your work?
Our Greek origin and vivid childhood memories from suburbs have made us create a strong sustainable mentality with traditional and ethnic roots. Eco-fabrics are and will be of primary importance for our brand as we have already chosen linen, silk, cotton and hand weaved fabrics to compliment our collections as well as made our hand knitted pieces and crochets details out of silk and cotton yarns.
We have chosen eco conscious linings that are friendly to the skin and we are currently collaborating with Italian manufacturers in order to print our design patterns on natural fabrics and develop our printing process. Also, we are working on how we could introduce sustainable yarns consisted of wool and vegetable ingredients as well as collaborate with manufacturers who take into consideration decreasing water and energy consumption during printing our fabrics.
Through our designs and print patterns, we serve the need of uniqueness and reveal the character that the wearer has. Wearing personalised and powerful garments is the starting point of expressing themselves and feeling special. Having the ideal woman figure as an inspiration and muse gives us the impetus for empowering all minorities. History has proven that unique and powerful women have influenced all social groups. For this reason our statement is inspired by women and is based on the idea of giving voice to everyone.
Driven by our techno savvy society we believe that lots of people are creating private technological communities, being fearless to express themselves though virtual realities. That was an initial observation that made us keep our printing motives in a digital form trying to interpret also the virtual icon of today in our products. Harmonising fashion with the needs of society is like having psychology and reality in balance for these people.
What shall we look out for at your SS19 show?
Feminine Surrealism will be portrayed through strange feminine silhouettes and illogical scenes based on the “changing content” of the ideal woman. Romantic figures merged with the sporty and youthful essence create her new upgraded look leading her to run the world. Feminine and bold silhouettes reveal hand drawn motives, illusive prints and laced knitwear. Massive flowers and floral patterns symbolise beauty, vitality and life, chosen to compliment a masculinity which is not obvious.
Where do you hope to be next season?
The stimulating and challenging part of our strategy is to develop our personalised process of fabrication by next season. We aspire to introduce Jacquard and weaving techniques in order to interpret our contemporary pattern motives into traditional and fine textures which could partly replace digital printing. Sustainability, innovative cuts and personalised products are considered to be what would lead us to achieve a number of stockists as well as be part of other prestigious awards which help new designers find their place in the industry.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Interview by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins