Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exclusive Interview with MVLydia

Getting to know the process of how the clothes are wrap into one mind blowing collection and the story of how one is hustling to make their dreams come true, and to be inspired. These are three main reasons why I love having exclusive talks with people in the fashion industry.

In between shows, during Indonesia Fashion Week 2015, I took the time to casually interview one of the up and coming designer, Lydia.

Lydia from MVLydia, is such a darling, I knew it ever since I met her in a fashion event here in Jakarta, April last year.

Whilst wandering around the exhibition, I found myself in front of her booth. She was occupied with her fellow designers and visitors. I was just glad that I get to meet her because it was the last day of fashion week. 
After talking with her for a lil bit, I had to run to the next show in the main stage. After a couple of shows later, I went back to her booth and thought  to myself, why don't I just have the interview now. We both have been planning to go out, not only to hang out but also for me to interview her. But we never got the chance, we both are pretty occupied. And so, I took my phone out and start the interview.

Here is the interview, I hope that you will be inspired and you'll get to know more about the girl behind MVLydia.

A Typical Day of Maria Valentine Lydia
07.00 Wake Up, Breakfast, Take a bath
09.00 Go to work - sketching, make lookbooks, arrange prints, branding, fixing the patterns, designs. 
17.00  Go home
17.30 Have some down time
19.00 Dinner
20.00 Work on some projects from earlier that day
00.00 Go to sleep

AS /STYLE: What inspired you to become a designer, the time when you know that being a designer is your calling?
MVLydia    : I have a best friend called, Cindy. She drew anime and their costumes. So I started doing the same thing, and I got hooked by it, especially with the clothing part. How fun it is and how cool it is. It continued until I was in 7th grade. And then my mom saw how attracted I was into drawing and told me, why don't I just find a course where I could attend a school during the holidays, thus it will be more flexible. Then I found this one school called, Phalie Studio - Tex Saverio was also enrolled to the school. And ever since, I took the classes, I like it even more. So, it was the moment when it was settle, that this is what I want to do.

AS    : Is there any designer that you see as an inspiration or role model:

MVL: A lot. I can't say that they're my inspiration for a certain collection, but for International I like designers such as, Dion Lee, and Gimbatista Valli, for evening gowns. Actually, there are many... really. The Row, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and then like of Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. Especially The Y-3, his colaboration with Adidas. And then there are Garreth Puke and Rick Owens. Something like that, designers that are more edgy and different. And particularly, I like designers based on their collection. So like, this designer has a very good collection, that designer has a very good collection. Because it's not often that I like the collection the designers put up. It's great, but maybe not to my taste. And in Indonesia, I like Jeffry Tan, Sapto Djojokartiko, Rinda Salmun, Natalia Kiantoro, and Deden Siswanto.


 AS   :  Absolutely, so tell me more about Jeffry. Correct me if I'm wrong but he is your mentor, right?

MVL: I used to work with him, and then he is a really nice guy, he is a really cool guy, the way he designs the clothes. He taught me how to handle a boutique, and up until now, I can still ask him questions.

AS   : Cool! What did you do when you work with him?

MVL: I was the pattern maker, involved in the production department.

AS   : Tell me about this collection, here in your booth.

MVL: The collection is called Chapter: Pilot. It means beginning. Beginning means that you have to fight, like a fighter. Since you're new, you need to push harder. The themes started from one clothes, where I was inspired by the samurais in Japan. I started designing and was interested in this one particular design.  And everything starts from that design.

These clothes right here, the collar is actually connected to the back of the dress. And behind the prints are a mix of batik kaung, batik parang. And the batik kaung is shaped into a silhouette of batik sawat. What inspired me was the fact that batik kaung means respecting people, the elder. And Batik sawat was worn by the kings, and the king is someone that fight for the people. Then batik parang was worn by the soldiers after they won the war. And the soldiers worked their hardest to have the victory for their homeland. So all and all, it's about hard work.

For the looks, it's more edgy with contemporary cuttings. With simple and loose designs.

 AS   : Do you prioritise the design or practicality and utilities?

MVL: It depends on every elements. In each designs, I have to think thoroughly, whether or not to add pockets and so on. Think about the smallest thing, if I add this element, will it be more pricey? can people walk in it? I think of women that carry their bags, so will my pants be too thick if I add pockets? and whether or not it will make the design look good.

AS    : Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to see wearing one of your designs?

MVL: Actually, it's a model. I think like, Marcella Tanaya, an Indonesian model. Or someone like, Kelly Tandiono. Oh my gosh, I really love her.

AS    : They will look so cool in your designs, because they're already look like the cool girls.

MVL: Yes, yes. My girls are fearless but then really nice and really soft.

AS   : And I think, your girls are very sophisticated in a way that they're very mature. You were talking about the philosophy behind your latest collection, which is hard work. And I was in awe because there are not many 20 years olds that works hard for what they want, and they realized it but still staying humble.

MVL: Thank you thank you so much, I want to be the kind of designer that is approachable, if people want to talk to me and come along with me, even though maybe there are not much that I can give them. But to inspire them means so much to me. I want people to reach me and be inspired. That's my dream. Therefore I cannot put a very high price - on the collection because I want my designs to be affordable. If it is expensive, it may be because of the materials or the printing or the tax. Which is a hard thing to control because for me, I want to push down the price as low as I can, not to be cheap, but so people can buy, and enjoy my designs. But it's not easy. During the process of costing, I saw my clothes that are just "oh my gosh, can people buy the clothes with this price?" It makes me nervous.

AS   : Talking about the materials, what are the thought process going through a new collection?

MVL: Actually, maybe we can have a picture of what a collection may look like. Do research and all but when you go to the fabric market and stuff, you see what they offer and everything started to change. There are a lot of unexpected changes. For example, I know what kind of print that I want and with materials, but sometimes when you tried to print, the prints may not work with that particular fabric. So we need to see the reality. Sometimes I tend to know only the design first, okay, the design is like this, and then I bring them to the market. And then I see and get inspired, oh wow this fabric is suitable for this design, and this fabric for this one. Because I also have to see the quality and the uniqueness of the fabric.

AS   : Can you tell us a little bit, your involvement in the TREND FORECAST.

MVL: I joined this year because I was one of the designer last year, so maybe I could tell you what happened last year first.

So IFW have a trend forcast book and for the 7th edition, they had their first collaboration with designers from fashion schools. So they chose the schools, and asked the school to choose their brightest student to join. And representing Raffless was me, Raffless asked me to be a part of the trend forecast. So yea, I joined it. 
And since last year I was in the fashion show and had mentors, this year I was originally offered the part in their research and decoding (design the clothing in the decoding book) department. I think it's a really great opportunity, and good networking place, thus I joined them. Although I wasn't planning to join this year's trend forecast, because I already have a booth here, I had to join. It's because the juniors from my school were not prepared and the preparation time is so short, less than 2 months we have to give 3 looks. The time includes changes from the mentors too. Therefore, the mentors called my school and both party agreed to appointed me as one of the trend forecast designers.

AS   : It's so honored. To be chosen by the Indonesia Fashion Week AND your own school to representing them in the Trend Forecast show that are shown to a lot of people from around the world. It's big! And you can work under pressure, I mean. It's amazing.

MVL: yes, thank you. well, sometimes I cry but it's all worth it.

AS   : So, do you follow trend, then?

MVL: Not really. uhm, can you read minds? *No* So do I, and for me trends are like trying to read people's mind. Yes, you're predicting this and that. But are you sure it's good for my designs? Although, there are trends that I like, but I don't follow the whole thing. Just some parts of it. Like this trend forecasting, I follow my heart. Representing my feelings that have a red-string on the trend forecasting.

AS   : How many people do you have in your team?

MVL: Well my team is basically, me, my mom and one seamstress. Hahaha. Not forgetting my sister as part of marketing and financial team.

AS   : That's pretty awesome! For the whole collection? wow. And your mom is so supportive.

MVL: Yes, she's awesome! I'm really lucky to have her a part of my team.

AS    : Since you're still so young, 20 years old, what is your plan for the future?

MVL: Making more collections. Make things that people love and can buy.


AS    : Is there any plan for going International or starting somewhere close to the homeland?

MVL: Uhm, I'm planning to put my collection in the stockists, for now. I will not go international directly, ya, step by step. Let's see how it goes. For example, the social media platforms are so strong that maybe I could go international because of the social media. Well, let's see la. We'll follow the flow.

AS    : But, if you can do anything you want. What are you gonna do? What is your biggest dream with your collection?

MVL: I want my collection to bring me somewhere else. which is very good. I mean for example, maybe my collection can bring me to Paris. Well maybe not Paris, more like London. But maybe not for fashion week, maybe with these artwork I could travel. Well, you can travel anywhere like to Africa. Well yea, that is really my biggest dream actually.

AS   : Well, there's no such thing as dreams that are too big, right. Anything is possible.

MVL: Yes, exactly.

AS   : What's your designer pet peeve?

MVL: Following people's design. Even if I do, it's not on purpose. We have subconscious, and sometimes we forgot things we saw, but it's there in our memory and accidentally design it again. But 50% - 100% copying other people's design is a HUGE NO NO.  

And, when the clothes are not looking good on the runway. I don't want to look back at my old designs or photos and say "what did I think? what happened?"

AS   : Last but definitely not least, what is MVLydia's vision?

I want to make it ready to wear first, that's when people are able to know my identity and my work. So if they want to customized their clothes, they will know my style, MVLydia's style. Because for me, I think designing bridals or customs are mainly based on the clients wants. And it's hard for me to design something I don't necessarily passionate about.

My main design is always using something from Indonesia, because my main philosophy is, never forget my roots. And it's always been that way ever since I started. It's tricky, but I always try to make it my own. And be original.

So there you have it folks, hope you guys enjoy it, learn something new and see you on the next post.

More of MVLydia...
Facebook: Maria Valentine Lydia (confirm me first via Facebook message)
twitter: lyddesigns
instagram: mvlydia

Stay Stylish,

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