Paul Majer is the winner of our fashion design contest
UFA, Unicorn Fashion Awards is a fashion experience and awards hosted by DARE CLAN Magazine and ERA-KI as coordinators/ a coordinator. UFA 2022 aims to search for and promote creative talents from all over the world by providing them with a platform to share their work with an international audience.
Considering awarded design as an engine of social and economic change, we understand the importance of opening dialogues between talents and renowned professionals inside the fashion world. The main goal is to provide emerging designers with international visibility, and to make them known to a wider audience and to the media.
UFA wants to offer designers and talents an opportunity to launch and develop their brand through an acceleration program.
Paul Majer is the winner of the 2022 edition of the fashion contest UFA. His path is made by many different experiences and in every of them he has had the opportunity to develop his art and express himself at his best. He started to travel around Europe working as a tattoo artist and this job allowed him to discover his passion for fashion design. It was for this reason that he went to Milan to study and deepen his knowledge, attending Istituto Marangoni.
Thanks to his talent and ambition, he had a great opportunity to partecipate and present his collections in many fashion events. His work has been published in various magazines, such as Vogue Talents and Corriere della Sera.
What Paul wants to do with fashion design is to approach it from different angles: he wants to add or create something unexpected. Actually, he enjoys work with unusual materials or fabrics. However, another trademark of his design is creating nice contrasts between colours and, last but non least, Paul thinks that sustainability will be the future of fashion.
The designer participated in the UFA contest because, unfortunately, nowadays it is not easy to enter the fashion industry and this gives him a chance to promote his ideas and vision.
Paul Majer won the UFA contest with his collection called “404 Page Not Found”. He decided to give such a title to his work because he wanted to show that current trend of unsustainable consumption does not work. In “404 Page Not Found”, the designer desires to use sustainable fabrics but also add innovative and functional elements to his garments in order to give life to multi-functional and multi seasonal pieces.
LEARNING AND EXPERIMENTING - A FLUID SWITCH TO FASHION DESIGN
HOW HAS THE TRANSITION FROM THE WORLD OF TATTOOS TO THE WORLD OF FASHION BEEN?
The way it feels to me is that there were two parts of the transition. The design side, and the practical side (fabrics, pattern cutting, production etc.) The design side was relatively smooth. I had spent the past thirteen years as a tattoo artist drawing and designing every day, so I was simply designing slightly different things.
I had an understanding of not only the practical side of drawing, but also regarding colour theory, composition, proportions etc. Thanks to this I was able to make quite a fluid switch.
Also, as a tattoo artist, I was required to draw a massive array of different images, in different styles. This was immensely helpful for my fashion design, as I am able to design in many different styles, and for menswear, womenswear, and genderless. I of course have my preferred style, but I am able to design in many different styles.
My biggest passion is decorating the human body. That is what attracted me to tattooing, and also fashion. Now I am decorating it in a different way, and thoroughly enjoying experimenting with all the new options that fashion design gives me.
Regarding the more practical side of fashion, there was much more to learn. I have always worked with my hands (before I became a tattoo artist, I worked as a chef). I love to touch fabrics and feel all of their different characteristics. Learning and experimenting with different fabrics is incredibly fun.
As well as enjoying working with my hands, I also had a strong desire to understand as much as possible about whatever I do, so even though pattern cutting and sewing was totally new to me, I was very interested to learn about it. Tattooing requires a steady hand, patience, and a great amount of precision, so pattern cutting, and sewing was actually relatively similar once I had started to learn a bit about it.
WHEN YOU CREATE SOMETHING DO YOU TAKE INSPIRATION FROM SOMETHING IN PARTICULAR?
My inspiration comes from many different places. I love to ride my bike and run, so I usually go out for a long ride or run. Without directly thinking about it, I always have my new project in the back of my mind. When I run or cycle, I have many different thoughts and ideas coming and going.
I am always surrounded my images, and either watching films, listening to music, or talking to people. As I run/cycle all these images, conversations, and ideas flow through my mind, overlapping and mixing together. Eventually when a particularly interesting idea starts to form, I start the research phase, going deeper and deeper, finding new ideas from the original one.
I also like to add one or two completely unrelated inspirations and blend them together with the main idea. For me it gives a nice contrast and adds more interest to a project.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE WAY IN WHICH FASHION IS DEVELOPING? SPECIFICALLY, THE SUSTAINABILITY THEME AND LOW IMPACT FASHION
I think it is very interesting and is starting to develop quite well. Regarding sustainability, it is obviously important and basically necessary. The real mega brands are mostly not doing much about this. They are too tied down and restricted by chasing profit margins. This is actually really good for smaller brands and emerging designers. They have a lot more freedom to really get creative with ideas and experiment with new fabrics and techniques. I can really see over the next years a large increase in people buy clothing from smaller brands or independent designers. It is very exciting to see all the new things coming from these people and I think it is where the future of fashion will be.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CREATING TATTOOS AND GARMENTS?
I would say for me, the biggest similarity is to not get too caught up in the philosophy of it all. People will spend half an hour telling you all about the meaning of their tattoo, and a designer will tell you all about the flower they saw on holiday and how they were inspired by the particular shade of purple in the sunset light.
While this is maybe interesting to a few people, generally when a person gets a tattoo, they want a tattoo that looks cool and makes them feel good. Similarly, when a person walks into a shop to buy an item of clothing, they want something that looks good and keeps them warm, or dry, etc. Don’t get caught up in the philosophy, and make sure that whatever you design looks good.
The biggest difference is not being restricted by the body. When tattooing, you are creating a design that is two dimensional, and has to fit on a certain body part. With fashion you are working three dimensionally and are much less restricted. A sleeve doesn’t have to finish at the wrist, it can be as long as you want it to be. You are still restricted with fashion though because a person has to be able to wear the clothing, and I love this restriction. Creating something that is not only beautiful, but also functional.
WAS YOUR COLLECTION “404 PAGE NOT FOUND” INSPIRED BY MODERN SOCIETY AND ITS “ADDICTION” TO SOCIAL MEDIA OR THE INTERNET?
Sort of. I was not thinking specifically of addiction to social media, but more about the weird “phygital” world we are currently living in. When Covid-19 first started, almost everything went online. Of course, there were problems, but we had to put up with it and take it in our stride. It was totally new, and we were in an emergency situation. Of course, there would be problems, but we had to do our best.
I was in university when Covid-19 started, and our classes all moved online. I would climb out of my window to sit on my neighbour’s balcony (they were away during the lockdown) and sit in the sun drinking tea and attending my lessons. It was actually kind of fun. There was a sense of fighting against the virus, and a certain camaraderie with my other classmates.
Now after a few years and things having gone partially back to normal, we find ourselves in a sort of limbo between real life and digital life. Don’t get me wrong, there are many positives. I have been able to attend lectures, meetings, and interviews with people all over the world which would have been impossible without Zoom. Equally there are negatives.
I am pretty certain that everybody reading this has been trying to log on to an important meeting, interview, or school exam, only to find that there was a problem with the wi-fi or the particular online platform they were using. I myself signed on for an important interview only to find that for some reason my camera would only show the interviewer an insanely bright yellow screen.
The collection was inspired by this and aims to highlight that while the internet and digital tools can be incredibly useful, it is important to remember that they are only tools. They are not real life. We should only use them for things that assist us, make life easier or more enjoyable. It is important to turn them off and enjoy real life as well.
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