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We have a talk with young Australian designer Demetra Kakopieros, who has some strong and clear views on fashion. The first thing you notice is that Kakopieros has an ethical approach to fashion, which is not very common. She is fiercely against animal exploitation in the industry, and aims to explore artistic, spiritual, political and philosophical questions through her innovative work. She lets her irrational side take her to new and unexpected places, and the result is a brutal, unsettling and mystical aesthetic. We could say her creations are reactions to how she experiences the world around her: full of contradictions and opposite forces always trying to find balance.

You recently debuted on the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Congratulations! How was the experience?
Thank you, it was stressful but exciting.
The collection you presented at MBFWA is inspired by the refugee crisis, which means your work has also a political side to it. How important do you think it is for a designer or an artist to have a political approach to their work?
I feel it’s very important for our art to be functioning as a symbolic visual commentary on the main social and political issues of today. Art isn’t about money; it’s about sending a message.
You are a strong defender of animal rights and the environment, especially in terms of the fashion industry. What do you think are the most urgent matters that should be taken care of?
The fur trade. The people who practice the murders, and the people who willingly wear fur knowing how brutally it is obtained need urgent medical attention. It is a sickening and unnecessary shallow act. There is nothing heavier than compassion, in life and in art. But it is desperately needed.
Linked to the aesthetics, there’s something very empowering in your line of work, which seems to be related with a sense of spirituality. I read somewhere that your last collection is surrounded by some kind of dark light. What do you have to say about that?
A dark sacerdotal spirit, a philosophical conflict… Unpredictable and chaotic. The absurdity and contingency of existence weighs heavy on my mind.
You say you admire Alexander McQueen. In which ways has he influenced your creative thinking?
Openly disturbed, beautiful but a torched mind. A revelation.
Do you think of fashion more as an art or an industry?
I think of fashion as a form of art.
What role does technology play in your work?
I am somewhat limited with use of materials due to my ethical stance; I am heavily reliant on technology to begin utilizing new innovative fabrics. For example Piñatex, which is leather made of pineapple – a very exciting thing.

Aida Belmonte
David K Shields
Myles Kalus
Danielle Soglimbene
Meg and Alise Murie (FiveTwenty Model Management)
Make up
Kelly Bowman
Se Hee Jeon

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