When I went to Prague a couple of weeks ago, I met Filip Jakab at Debut Gallery. He introduced me to his beautiful artworks and I wanted to share his designs, vision and personality with you. Filip Jakab – definitely a name to remember on the fashion horizon!
Since 2010 Filip Jakab has been a student of fashion design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. During this period of time, precisely from 2013 to 2014, he got a chance to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands. With a BA degree in fashion design, Filip is currently pursuing his Masters Studies at the Fashion, Footwear and Accessories Design Studio under doc. Libena Rochova as his mentor. Filip’s work was part of an exhibition at the Bohemian Nation Hall in New York in 2014. In 2013, his work was exhibited in Beijing as part of the Czech China Exhibition. The same year, he collaborated with the so-called Collectiv 5.6 in Paris. In 2014, he worked as a design assistant at Meadham Kirchhoff in London.
In September 2015, he presented his BA collection „INVISIBLE BEAUTY, INVISIBLE LOVE“ during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for a season Spring/Summer 2016. At this occasion, Kim Howells ( www.kimhowells.com ) from HUNGER magazine called Filip’s collection one of the most thrilling of the show. Currently, Filip is preparing an exhibition in London, which will be part of the British Fashion Council in Spring 2016.
“I have found everything that doesn’t reflect obvious values and demands extreme attention from a viewer absolutely inspiring.”
Why did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
There is no other option in my life.
How do you arrive at your final artwork? Where do you take your inspiration from and how do you plan your projects?
It is always a narrow and uneasy way. As I am terribly demanding when it comes to newness, textile and fabric techniques to the whole concept of the collection, I close myself up and search from the beginning for an overall image in my head that might reflect a smell or certain voice I consider as new.
The older I get, the less I explain. I have found it unnecessary and way too literal. No one would like to be understood too easily, right? There are clothes to speak out about my vision, this message is more than enough. However, I do admire various interpretations from different types of viewers. Everyone knows that planning is crucial. You don’t move without having weekly or monthly plans. On the other hand, it is fundamental to find conceptual freedom and ‘air in my wings’. It means to allow myself the right amount of space for experiments, failures and thoughts.
For the current collection SS 2017 that will be presented in Tokyo in Spring 2016, I started with theoretical research. Of course, then there is a fabric research, textile and printing samples. The next step is a communication with fabric or leather suppliers. I would say it is some sort of a challenge to collaborate with someone outside who has his/her own rules and deadlines so you have to really manage myself perfectly.
Which fabrics do you use?
Sometimes I am challenged by some natural materials allwoing certain processes. The next time I might have extreme interest in polyester. You cannot specify anything, indeed. I always seek to apply an innocent approach wherever I look.
What keeps you up at night?
Deadlines. An instant flow of spontaneous ideas I cannot stop. Hunger to seek for the unseen.
Who are your role models?
I would not ‘label’ people that are close to me as role models. There are people who are inevitable for me and for what I do regarding inspiration, trust or decision making. I must say, a friend of mine, Gitte Hendrikx, a fine artist, is crucial to me. I nearly don’t trust any other opinion then hers!
There has always been something I couldn’t explain about the tension when I watch movies from the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. And that is also something that speaks to me. And If I should invest in an art-piece, I would definitely buy one of the painting collection called ‘Stapelkorting’ from a friend of mine, Elke Van Kerckvoorde.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes, I do. I may say, several ones. There is the Head of Fashion and Footwear Studio, doc. Libena Rochova. The Studio includes also pattern makers, specialists in shoe design and accessories designers. Unfortunately, I feel a lack of business advice in our school.
Which messages would you like to transmit with your collections?
Hope and despair; love and detest; life and death.
What do your designs stand for?
My designs reflect primarily an exuberant research of my relationship towards human beings. You know, everything moves, nothing is taken for granted. Every garment might be a quoted as:
“Evolve and search. Do not take easy options, on the contrary, pick up the most intricate ones. Rather fail but stand for your own vision.”
Your designs are very extravagant and it is obviously very time-consuming to make them. Is your aim to become an Haute Couture designer or would you rather work in the Pret-à-Porter field?
During my past studies I was researching crafts and translated them into garments I made. Now and in the future, I don’t feel a need to specify the garments I produce as Haute Couture or Pret-à-Porter. I am still searching and planning to do so. This way, I embrace to work with embroidery in a new approach or a ‘textile fabrication’ – as I call my way of manipulation with fabric. Conceptually, time spent on each piece or collection is not an important issue. Technically, it is. And then, there is a balance one should feel.
When it comes to a production for a private clients or some buyers, I am continuously developing more and more efficient ways to deal with it. Probably, it might be overwhelming, but I consider this process of MAKING to SELLING as a truly needed and natural process to build up a compact environment for producing my future collections.
If you could choose, would you rather work for a big company or start your own label?
I would like to work for a company after finishing my studies.
What are the biggest challenges for young fashion designers today?
There is a business and a marketing side of fashion that students miss in [design] schools mostly. That is absolutely devastating.
“Fashion used to be a privilege of a few but nowadays it is used by masses.”
Moreover, creativity is becoming more and more relative and less appreciated. What young designers are facing nowadays is a somehow illusive world of the ‘fashion business’ that reflects a fast-spreading industry. ‘Fashion used to be a privilege of a few but nowadays it is used by masses.’, as Raf Simons confirmed after leaving the Christian Dior company.
Is a sustainable and ethical approach important to you?
Yes, it is. There are a few garments I made out of an old blanket, curtains or used objects I had found and have a certain relationship to it. I know it is not 100% ethical but I try and look for some new possibilities to do so. There is a new collection that I am working on and I would like to literally go from the base of the yarn and ask and look for what are the options to work with. There is enormous amount of toxic pollution when producing fabrics and I would like to get rid of this drawback.
Follow Filip on Instagram: @filipjakabofficial