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Made in Austria Made in Austria

Meet David Hojnik, the fashion designer who shapes Slovenia's fashion

On the shores of the Adriatic sea, Slovenia has quietly developed an impressive creative scene.

Even though it is best known for its sports achieve­ments such as alpin­ist Davo Karničar who is the first and only per­son to ski down Mount Everest, there is some­thing grow­ing up through music, food, arts, and espe­cially fashion.

Today, Slov­e­nia might just be Cent­ral Europe’s most uplift­ing loc­a­tion to have an eye on. To dis­cov­er one of its gate­keep­ers, you have to cross the coun­try and settle near the Aus­tri­an and Hun­gari­an bor­ders. In Mari­bor, fash­ion design­er Dav­id Hojnik makes unique and hand­made clothes and jew­elry in a very dra­mat­ic way and is the one who defines what fash­ion means in Slov­e­nia. He tells us about his label DH Fash­ion, how cre­at­ives are shak­ing things up in his home coun­try, and why he col­lab­or­ated with neubau eye­wear for his last collection.

What is your first fash­ion memory?
When I was about six years old I star­ted with bal­let classes. Dance was a part of my every­day life for about twelve years. Although I’ve switched dif­fer­ent dance styles through the years, dance has always remained my pas­sion. And when it came to dance cos­tumes I dis­covered an even big­ger one: fash­ion. I guess it was meant to be, because my grand­moth­er is a seam­stress and I was prac­tic­ally liv­ing around a sew­ing machine.

Des­pite the fact that as a child I often tried to make dresses for my sis­ter­’s dolls and all the enthu­si­asm about spe­cial glit­tery dan­cing dresses, I later star­ted to study media com­mu­nic­a­tions, because the fash­ion scene in Slov­e­nia as I saw it did not show a great poten­tial. It was only dur­ing the stu­dent years, when I star­ted work­ing as a styl­ist, I began to think about cre­at­ing my own fash­ion brand and design­ing jew­elry at first and quickly after­wards also the clothing.

Can you describe your label in three words?
There is so much more in every unique and hand­made piece we cre­ate, but first there are dreams, pas­sion and devotion.”

Why did you choose neubau eye­wear to accom­pany your latest col­lec­tion?
As a guy who was wear­ing con­tact lenses for a dec­ade, not feel­ing con­fid­ent with frames on his face, neubau eye­wear came to my res­cue. I imme­di­ately con­nec­ted with the brand, their philo­sophy and fell in love with their style in every aspect. After becom­ing a loc­al hero’ of neubau eye­wear I quickly saw the con­nec­tion between my fash­ion label and neubau products, so our col­lab­or­a­tion was inevitable.

What makes the clothes and jew­elry you cre­ate spe­cial?
Every piece I cre­ate rep­res­ents a part of me and my vis­ion of beauty and aes­thet­ics in the world. I am open-minded but firmly on the ground, so my designs are dreamy, extra­vag­ant, glit­tery on one hand and wear­able on the oth­er. It is mostly about dra­mat­ic mater­i­als, sexy cuts and pro­voc­at­ive mes­sages presen­ted as every­day style.

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Why did you not settle your busi­ness in the Slov­e­ni­an cap­it­al, Ljubljana?
I did not plan this to turn into a ser­i­ous busi­ness, I was just devel­op­ing my hobby and pas­sion for fash­ion, while liv­ing in Mari­bor. But already after one year my cre­at­ing has over­grown. It is not a secret that Mari­bor, which is the second largest city in Slov­e­nia, is any­thing but a fash­ion cap­it­al. But pre­cisely that con­vinced me to open a fash­ion stu­dio right here. It was some­thing new, fresh and for some even exot­ic’, but that is exactly what I used as an advant­age and cre­ate recog­niz­able fash­ion brand, based in Mari­bor. For­tu­nately, Slov­e­nia is a small coun­try, so we are approach­able to everyone.

Tell us more about the Slov­e­ni­an fash­ion scene: is it hard to get in as a new­comer? What are cur­rent trends that are spe­cial for Slov­e­nia?
It’s hard to tell which is the right way to become a part of fash­ion scene in Slov­e­nia. Some­times I feel that I cre­ated my own. My designs made me recog­niz­able so I choose to work hard instead of just wait­ing and pro­mot­ing myself. I think that major­ity of our scene has not yet figured out, that the pur­pose of being a design­er is to cre­ate for people, get closer to your cus­tom­ers through your ideas. Only people can pour the life in your designs, not hangers. And there are people on the oth­er hand, that rarely sup­port and appre­ci­ate loc­al, because the things over the bor­der are always bet­ter”. But luck­ily this trend is slowly but per­sist­ently chan­ging, so there are more and more Slov­e­ni­an designs that you can spot on the streets and go extremely well with pop­u­lar world trends.

What oth­er cre­at­ives should we have an eye on? Do you con­sider Slov­e­nia as a hub for cre­at­ive people?
Des­pite the fact that we are mostly known as a sports nation with a lot of suc­cess­ful ath­letes, there is more and more space for cre­at­ive people, cul­ture and art and it’s get­ting more appre­ci­ated every day. Next to tal­en­ted design­ers you can find amaz­ing musi­cians, dan­cers, act­ors, paint­ers,… some of them also world known. Togeth­er we prove from day to day that there is always a space for cre­ativ­ity and art, regard­less the size of a coun­try… and mind.

What do you expect for the future?
I am very well aware that in order to dreams come true, a lot of work needs to be done. I have a lot of plans for the future which can some­times get a little over-ambi­tious, but I believe from my past exper­i­ences that I can make it through any­thing and become big­ger and bet­ter, start­ing from Mari­bor to the world.

Watch DH Fash­ion’s AURA film :

08 Sep 2017 · neubau eyewear
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