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Fashion designer, and Graduate of the College Of Design in Belgrade, Serbia, Ivana Pilja has worked as a designer for sport and street-wear lines in various fashion houses for many years and just finished her first exhibition during London Fashion Week presenting her newest collection, "Semi Song".

Having won two awards for her first collection, one for best collection from ELLE Magazine and one for the best designer of the season, and also one of the featured designers in Nathalie Grolimund's book Fast Forward Fashion: Where Fashion Defies Function, she is returning with a renewed vision and desire to continue pushing the boundaries of fashion and culture.

In what ways, if any, has Serbia influence you as creator - how did it impact your design aesthetic and overall artistic style?

Serbia really hasn’t had that meaningful of an impact on me as far as my design and creativity, although I have a great deal of respect for artist who have come from Serbia, such as Marina Abramović. I draw the majority of my inspiration from Japanese culture. The architectural construction of the garments combined with the overall fashion sense of the Japanese people is amazing. I adore Issey Miyake!

Your latest collection, "Semi song", was inspired by the semi cicada native to Japan. Is the natural world a great source of inspiration from you, is it a lens you are going to continue to focus your ideas through in your future work?

I do find a lot of my inspiration in nature and in my future work I will continue to play with and explore the idea of biodiversity and evolution but approached and thought about in different ways. It’s always going to be a new concept or message centered around my core artistic beliefs, ideas, and also some questions that through my work I hope to find an answer for.

What is the main difference between this collection and your first one – in what ways did you approach the concept of design different or was there a certain goal or massage that you wanted to get across with this collection that you did not with the first?

The main difference between my latest collection Semi song and my first collection is mainly my experimentation with prints. The all black colour palette from the first collection was replaced by a diverse range of colors and patterns to bring a strong connection to the uniqueness of the Semi cicada and reflect how each cicada’s call is different and unique. I really wanted to bring a sense of evolution subtly by just changing the “shell” but keeping the silhouette and geometric shapes of the designs true to my style. The prints were custom made for each model in collaboration with illustrator Nada Serafimovic and Cvetex Sportswear. It’s all about growth.

As an artist it is your job to push culture forward and push the boundaries of fashion and art. Your work finds it’s roots in the concept of future and in a forward thinking mindset, what do you feel is the future of fashion?

The future of fashion is the continued destruction of barriers that dilute art, such as the perception of gender specific garments - wear what you want, do what you feel. People are so afraid of that in-between area of fashion and gender and sexuality but it’s all a spectrum. I’m really excited about a resurgence of drama and theater as it relates to fashion. Everything has become so commercial and digestible, in a word – boring. I love fashion that is polarizing and unconcerned with trends or what’s “popular”at the moment. That’s why I love the avant-garde aesthetic, I’m completely devoted to it. Thoughtful avant-garde, not just avant-garde for the sake of being avant-garde or abstract, but because it’s what you believe in; it’s what you bleed.

Recently Paloma Faith wore pieces from your latest collection for one of her appearance at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, and also for her performance on Watch What Happens Live on the Bravo Television Channel. Róisín Murphy and Andre J are also admirers. Who else would you love to see in your designs?

Paloma Faith looked amazing and I’m always so interested to see the different approaches artist take styling wise. At this point really interested in working with different photographers and multi-media artist, especially now leading up to my next collection. I think that would be amazing. As far as who I would love to see actually wearing my clothes, people like Michelle Harper – people who I think truly understand fashion. I think it would be interesting to see important creative people like Mykki Blanco or Sharon Needles wearing something Ivana Pilja, I think they're so great. Now that I’m partnered with POP PR in London I’m looking forward to working with many more amazing artist.


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