LOOK WITHIN – CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES – FIGHT THE FIGHT!

Smoke-Clad Warrior
Mads Dinesen at Berlin Fashion Week 2014

Mads Dinesen’s 2014 Autumn/Winter collection at Berlin Fashion Week endeavored to pay homage to activists from all walks of life, fighting in struggles past and present. What he presented was an androgynous, well-tailored and wearable collection of street wear whose aesthetic integrity accurately reflected the spirit of the individuals whoinspired it. This was a collection that was aggressively commanding in its presence, striking in its aesthetic and uncompromising in its message.

The collection revolved around angular layers of black, grey and red, referencing the attire that has become internationally recognised as the activist ‘uniform’. However, it was not just the technical execution,or the collection’s impressive size (involving over 30 items)which made it one of Berlin Fashion Week’s best presentations. Smoke-Clad Warrior was exceptionally successful in its combining of the more predictable activist aesthetics – slogans, patches, rebellious and subcultural textiles (in particular tartan) together with tailoring, fabrics and accessories closer to Dinesen’s signature style. His inclusion of knitwear in a way that did not soften the collection’s tough and modern edge was the best demonstration of Dinesen’s ability in this regard. Great care had also been taken to ensure activist references were drawn together broadly enough for wearers to project their own meanings and interpretations onto the collection’sitems.For this reason, Smoke-Clad Warrior’s presentation reflected a self-affirming integrity whose in-your-face energy was respectful and celebratory at the same time.

Metal caught up with Mads Dinesen before his presentation to find out more about the collection and the unique concept underlying it.

Congratulations are in order – your A/W collection is one of the most anticipated of Berlin Fashion Week 2014. How do you feel in these final moments?

Until a couple of days ago I didn’t have time to think about it! Unfortunately there have been a lot of voices (at Fashion Week) talking about how boring it’s been up until now… which personally I’m not quite agreeing with. But so many people want to come in and see the show so I feel convinced about my work. Of course there is a lot of pressure but I’m convinced of the collection and hopefully the audience is as well!

My initial impression about Smoke-Clad Warrior was that it was a concept which indicated a more extroverted and aggressive aestheticthan the more dark and introverted moods of your previous collections. How did you arrive at this character of the warrior as your inspiration for this collection?

I’m quite interested in how the world is put together now and throughout history. I’m impressed by people who dare to risk their lives and name and honour to fight for what they believe in and I think that each of us has to do that on a certain level. It can be by only buying ecological milk in the supermarket or it can be going out onto the streets and fighting for what you believe in. For me personally, it’s not so much about the demonstrations and the Antifa(Anti-Fascist resistance) as they have here in Germany…although a lot of people would see the collection as such. For me it’s about the moment where a personal ideal becomes a common ideal – the energy that it releases which can change history or just a singular life. For me it’s about daring to show to the world what you believe in and trusting yourself to believe in it, so for me it’s also still felt on an inner level which grows into a movement.

How does this collection fit into the narrative of your past seasons?

Of course, as you said, this collection is a bit more aggressive and out there – it is a very loud statement even though I’m not telling people what to fight for. I’m just asking them to look within and do it themselves. So it’s not taken from a specific case – it’s more like a broad statement: “Hey people – Wake up!”

It’s clear from what you’ve already told me that Smoke-clad Warrior is an ambitious collection. What was the most challenging part of putting together this presentation?

Probably the show organisation to be honest. But of course, when you make a statement like this you’re also worried about it coming across as ridiculous… or that it would turn into irony. I wanted it to remain in a natural feeling so people understand it and take it seriously.  I wanted to make sure the integrity of the concept remained.

And on the flipside – what was the most enjoyable part of this collection? What came the most natural to you?

The crazy pieces! I like the crazy pieces… that’s what comes natural. For me, to do a t-shirt is challenging because I always find it terrible… or maybe just difficult. In this show the statement pieces have been quite easy but it’s the basics that are difficult.