CONVERSATION

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer

Caleido interviews Dima Leu, Moldovan fashion designer and creative director of the homonymous brand. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here

 

Diary of: @dima__leu

#CaleidoPerspectives
10 topics of conversation, approached from different perspectives, to explore reality through a kaleidoscopic vision
 
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Ph. @petergiodani
1. You come from Moldova. Which aspects of your homeland have shaped you the most? If you imagine exhibiting your collections all together in one room, which cultural elements would emerge most strongly and consistently?

I brought simplicity with me. I was lucky enough to live in a place where everything was clear and in a time where little to nothing was happening; thus began my hunger to know and to discover.

During the winter holidays, which I often spent with my grandparents, everything was covered with snow. I remember long walks in the whiteness, wherein, to fight boredom, I convinced myself to be a director and to shoot films through the camera of my eyes.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giuseppebini.ph
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Film Direction: Miha Kacic
2. What did it mean, at the beginning of your career, to be a fashion designer in your country? Are there any episodes, worthy of being recorded in a Diary, that you remember with greater intensity?

I left my Country at the age of 15 and I discovered the fashion world in Venice, at University. I studied the garments and clothes of the great designers and sometimes I blended them with the colours of my childhood. I was attracted by the big cities of fashion, by the desire to create and to experiment and, inside I felt a little-big world emerging. Now, I love going back to my place of origin and to collaborate with young and local creatives, sharing my experience with them, this is something I missed a lot when I lived in Moldova.

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Ph. @lina.burbulea

3. What do you think are the most profound changes the fashion industry is experiencing today? How is the new generation of talent contributing to these changes?

This is a question that touches me a lot. The pandemic has touched everyone and even fashion, both from the point of view of creativity and the market, questioning its most ephemeral aspect. Everything has suddenly aged. For a young person it is easy to get lost and difficult to find oneself.

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Ph. @vadimphh
4. What do you think are the strongest social issues that contemporary society is facing? Are there any battles that are closest to your heart?

The strongest social issues we are facing today are crises, crises and crises! We have to deal with climate change, hunger and poverty, the availability of health-care, weapons of mass destruction, privacy, disinformation, the dynamics of internet and democracy. I come from a small country that has always been in crisis and I have learned that every difficult moment is a great opportunity for a positive change. The greatest effort is to change ourselves and discover that our habits start with respecting ourselves first and foremost.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @zuonly
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @zuonly
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
5. One of the most important issues in today’s discussion is the sustainable approach to fashion. Not only given by the naturalness of fabrics, but also by an approach that results in production processes, ethical or social content. What is your approach to this?

Since its inception, the brand has embraced the sustainability concern in manufacturing processes and in the sourcing of materials. Upcycling, re-made and the exclusive use of archive fabrics have become a distinctive marks of the brand through collaborations with Italian textile producers. For SS22 I had the opportunity to design and produce an exclusive fabric in collaboration with Marzotto, recovering yarns of old seasons. This experiment gave rise to creations with some fabrics used in raw form, without finishing, giving the garments an artisanal look.

“Sustainability” means also collaborating with artisans, discovering how much art and care there is in the hands of simple people who have never had the opportunity to even see a fashion show. It is about resilience, circularity, creating quality that brings thought and awareness, transmitting heritage and values to new generations through a contemporary language.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @omarmacchiavelli
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @omarmacchiavelli
6. Your work is steeped in cross-cultural references, making you a talent to follow. If you had to identify 5 references (even outside of fashion) that describe you, to search for on Instagram, what would they be?

“You have to be shamefully in love with yourself to write about your own person without shame,” quoting Dostoevsky… Would you like to know the good references or the bad ones…?

It is always difficult to describe yourself in a few words when you have an internal world of continuous discoveries and evolution. I have studied the great creators, I have worked with real masters and I also see many things that I like and that perhaps inspire me, but this does not lead me to compare myself or to say that I am more creative than them.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Vladislav Tretiak wearing the Olympic opening ceremony uniform in Innsbruck - 1976
7. Recently, a guest at Caleido said that in today’s world there is no longer a need for new “symbols” (which have always been central to fashion): what is needed is for creatives to focus on finding effective solutions to protect the environment and nature. Do you agree?

One does not exclude the other. Fashion reflects a common feeling at a given historical moment through symbols to which certain values and contents correspond and sustainability cannot be the only new content in our industry. The preservation of environment today is the prerogative and fashion must contribute to this education, but the actual change should start from ourselves as human beings reframing our habits and lifestyle. We have reached an emergency situation, we want to safeguard the planet because we want to safeguard our lives. We have to give ourselves the opportunity to be less self-centered starting to sincerely love the place where we live and the nature that surrounds us, otherwise it will not succeed.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @lina.burbulea
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
8. As a new generation of creatives, what definition would you give to the concept of luxury?

Luxury today is knowledge: knowledge to have the skills to choose a quality fabric, an accurate finishing, authentic creativity, healthy food, a suitable workplace, transparent information, a valid political representative. Being able to choose between what is good and what appears to be is a true talent of our time.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @zuonly
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua
9. How would you define romance? And love?

As a human being, I experience layered feelings and sometimes distinguishing them is more complex than to split a chemical cocktail. Love is one, it is a primitive energy, a un/conscious intention to take care of someone or something in everyday life. A romance, however, is how we tell others about love and above all how we tell it to ourselves.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @omarmacchiavelli
Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @omarmacchiavelli
10. What is one object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it? Would you send us a photo taken by you?

There are no objects or memory that I would never give up on. They are all passing through.

Caleido interviews Dima Leu fashion designer
Ph. @giacomo_cosua

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