K: Define fashion.
DB: Just dressing style, simple as that. How would you describe Almost Home style. Comfy, simple, playful. For those who appreciate good quality but dont want to be a fashion try-hard. In the fast fashion world that we have nowadays, we wanted to make clothes that are going to last for year, not only physically, but in the sense that our pieces will not be outfashioned in the matter of one or two seasons. That’s why we want to keep it simple and straight to what really is important. We love the concept “buying less but better”.
K: Where do you find inspiration?
DB: Literally everything. From architecture to photography, to 90s fashion, to music, to scheme of colors. I try to put all my likes into the pieces and the campaigns we shoot. How did you design your portfolio? We wanted to design the basics that everyone likes to have in their closets. So we have started with tee shirts, hoodies and trackpants. They will be in different colors so you can mix and match and simplistic, so you don’t have to spend much time thinking how to wear it or how to combine it, just put it on and be ready for whatever you have to do, which is the important thing. We have 3 tees and a set of hoodie and pants almost ready, but we are already thinking and working on design for future pieces and colors.
K: What’s your creative process?
DB: When it comes to design fashion, I think of a piece I’d like to wear, then the color, then the fabric. I read a lot about fashion and designers which is always great for ideas. Sometimes just one photo or one sentence can make you have a whole new idea.
K: What according to you is a favourite part of starting a fashion designer career?
DB: Literally the creative direction. I’m lucky I can do that with my brand and not stick to only design, we have designers that know a million times more than me, I just know what I like and have the ideas in my head, and then they make these ideas come to life. I’ve always been a very creative person I’d say, and even if I didn’t put it in practice, I always liked getting inspired and learning about new things and arts. Putting all that knowledge into my brand is my favorite part of it.
K: What skills are necessary for a successful collection?
DB: I think nowadays is all about the story you want to tell, which is very close to what we know as marketing, just a bit more personal. People want to wear pieces from brands/designers they feel related to. You can have the best garments or coolest clothes, but if you don’t know how to attach a personality to them you are not going to get far.
K: Is this your first internship? What was the most valuable thing you’ve learned from this experience?
DB: I’ve worked with other brands in the past, both designing and advising, but I would say I never had 100% freedom as they weren’t my brands completely, only collabs or even just working for them. I am learning so many things, from the actual design language to types of fabrics. The process from having an idea till you get the final piece in your hands is so long and full of steps. It has taken us a year and a half since we started till we start selling soon.
K: Who do you imagine wearing your pieces?
DB: It is hard to know. But like I said, I always design things I would like to wear so I guess people with taste similar to mine are the ones purchasing. I think people who are into urban fashion as well as simplicity or minimalism, or even japanese clothing styles would enjoy Almost Home. It’s definitely not a logo driven brand like Off-White or Supreme, if you are looking to show off these logos on you I guess AH is not for you, but if you want durable clothes that you can wear every day for many different occasions then you would enjoy our brand.As a fashion model for years, you must be very fashion oriented!
K: How is working in fashion different today than when you started out?
DB: Social media has changed fashion and modeling a lot. When I first started modeling about 7 years ago, social media wasn’t seen as a market for fashion. Nowadays brands prefer using interesting people with a story and fans rather than models, so they adapt their campaigns for the people they are shooting, rather than the other way around as it used to be. Model agencies are struggling as they pumped up the models prices and now anyone can do online casting on Instagram and most people work without agencies, which is a step forward in my opinion, more money for the models and more possibilities for them to create their own campaigns or have a say with the brand. Also brands have realized most of their money comes from kids and people in their 20s spending money, so they are focusing their designing on these customers, which leads to a moreo urban and youthful approach to fashion. You can clearly see an example in Louis Vuitton with Virgil Abloh.
K: What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
DB: Social Media is everything for fashion nowadays. It’s the biggest tv, where all their clients are and where all the trends start and are settled. You can have Kylie Jenner wearing a piece from an unknown brand and that brand automatically will make millions straight away, that’s how powerful social media is for brands. Also 85% of shopping is done from mobile phones, which is crazy. At the same time, this also makes trends come and go constantly, so what’s in today may be boring tomorrow, this process would have taken longer a few years ago. This is the reason why designers have such pressure on them to design new collections, because the demand for fashion is higher than ever. This increase in the demand I think is only comparable to the increase of demand in music through spotify and apple music, which is good because we get new music/clothes on the daily, but at the same time it lowers the quality of them.
K: How has the feedback evolved since you began your own label?
DB: It’s hard to know because we have just launched, but I can tell people are loving the quality and the colors of the pieces, which makes me really happy. Most messages I get from customers are about the high quality of the garments and also the attention put into details such as packaging; it’s amazing to see people appreciating your product.
K: What are the goals for Almost Home?
DB: I want people to understand our point of view in fashion, of course we want to sell as much as possible like any other brand, but that doesn’t mean we would neglect our main idea, which is simplicity and durability. We want people to appreciate each piece we put out there, its details and the use they can make of it. We all have that one or two pieces in our closet that we love and wear more than the others just because they are more functional and can be worn for many occasions, we want people to have Almost Home as their favorite pieces in their range.
K: How do you think Coronavirus impacted the fashion industry. How affected have you been regarding the lockdown?
DB: Obviously it’s not good for brands, since many people are losing their jobs and making less money so brands are selling less. I think they are panicking a bit since they don’t even know how much or how little they will sell these months, so they are just being careful with how they spend their money, both customers and brands. Online sales saved their ass though haha. Fashion design is the art of applying design, decorative and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories.
K: What makes Almost Home unique in comparison with any other brand?
DB: We are selling the best quality clothes we can make at a very affordable price. For you to have an idea, our hoodie is heavier than those of expensive brands like Alyx, Undercover, Acne… and our price is at least a third of theirs, so when I say we focus on quality, I mean it. Almost Home wants to stay away from the fast fashion race and offer pieces that are guaranteed to last for years without having to buy new ones. We want to play around with colors and tones too, something very important for me since I have this condition called synesthesia, where I relate everything (from numbers to sounds). Colors are probably my favorite thing, people get emotions from songs, I get it from colors.
K: What is your advice for a young designer.
DB: I would say read a lot about arts (photography, architecture, literature, paintings, music…) in general, not just your 2 or 3 favorite clothing brands. The more art you know, the more ideas you will have and the more original they will be, you never know where your ideas can come from.How do you visualise Almost Home in 5 years. Hopefully being bigger and being true to our style, although style is something that changes inevitably. I hope people still agree with our idea of fashion and they keep appreciating our clothes.