The big heritage of Slovenia – Julija Kaja Hrovat

This designer will let us discover the big heritage of a small country and she tells us that what counts more, before finding the right outfit, is finding our identity.

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“I was born in Toronto, Canada from where me and my mom moved to Ljubljana, Slovenia to join my father. Both my parents are Slovene, but my mother was raised and lived in Canada for the majority of her life so I grew up with a north american mind set in central Europe in Slovenia, a county that throughout history has had many foreign influences (the Austro-Hungarian empire, Italy, Yugoslavia…) but still managed to develop and nourish their own rich cultural heritage. From since I can remember I have been very creative, drawing, creating and sewing Haute couture outfits for my dolls so it came naturally for me to attend an art hight school where I finished with a degree in graphic design and later in continued to study fashion and textile design at a local university. During my BA I did a year in Istanbul and later internships in Stockholm and Antwerp. My BA degree was based on identity of design where I set the basis of my label and started to work around the concept of identity. All my abroad ventures made me think of my identity, where I come from, my background and who I am. I graduated with honours and continued to a MA degree in fashion and textiles. I have been developing the story of my label throughout university so identity and my passion for cultural hermitage had become the main focus of my label, creating womenswear. The women I create for is independent, she known who she is and admires culture and art.”

What’s the concept of your latest collection? This collection speaks volumes not just of history but also of a nation and its significant traditional patterns. The dominant patterns are my interpretation of Slovene textiles and its woven patterns that are painted first using watercolours and then transferred to the fabric by digital and silk screening technics. The silhouette inspiration comes from the 40’s era and again speaks volumes of history, Slovene consciousness and difficult times that connects and relates to present day. I wanted to create a fanciful collection with just of hint of sex appeal by way of the patterns used and the fashion accessories reminding us of our rich heritage, wrapping the wearer in the warmth of the colours and the patterns used.  The garments are for the active woman who works, creates, dreams and is conscience of society.

 What kind of mood do you try to create? The mood I try to create is a bit different for every collection but It is always based on identity, art, history, architecture. I try to make the mood a bit playful, a bit nostalgic and sophisticated. The moods are created mainly throughout colour and patterns that are my interpretations of cultural symbols, and all of this comes from my background of graphic design. The mood is also very street style and wearable, I want people to wear the identity and create their own personal style.

How does the place you live in affect your design? Slovenia is a very small and young country with a rich culture heritage from influences of Ancient Rome, the Austro-Hungarian empire, Yugoslavia and all the countries that surround it. I find it a very interesting environment that has had so many rulers and influences but has managed to develop and nourish its own identity. A country where you can hike the alps and drive to the sea in the same day, with hidden treasures of nature and a lot of creative minds from architects, painters, artists and musicians. There is always something to find, something to inspire you and something to wow you and keep your imagination going.

What’s the future of fashion according to you? The future is digital and sustainable. I think that individuality got lost but hope it will come back soon. Consumers are getting the point of sustainability and quality materials but they need to start creating their own identity also.

What’s your next project? I have been invited to a Slovene design co-operative Zoofa, that consist of 12 designers and runs a shop in the centre of Ljubljana and I am also working on a new collection that will tell a new story of my cultural heritage.

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