The SS18 collection of Jiri Kalfar pushes the boundaries of gender fluidity to embody seductively sweet honey fashion infused with an environmentally motivated sting in its tail. The choice of fabrics, colours and intricate embroidery are a glistening salute to the hard work of the honey bee and have resulted in a collection designed for an empowered and glamorous Queen Bee. Beehives have been kept since antiquity and the passion of the designer to create sustainable and eco friendly techniques to produce luxury garments can be described as the main ethos of the brand.
The timeless presentation at L’Escargot on the evening of Saturday 16th September was complemented by classical violin music, and the space was as densely packed as a beehive, infused with a passion to save the planet one dress at a time. In an exclusive interview for IRK Magazine the designer expressed the depth of his passion for the collection.
I am Natasha Hall from IRK Magazine and it is so exciting to be able to interview you. Such a lovely presentation downstairs.
So what I am really interested in is the idea of ethics and the climate revolution movement you mentioned in regards to your work?
That is going to be a long answer. I am a fashion designer I create and design, I work in fashion but that actually allowed me to look at fashion from within and however beautiful, it is a dangerous industry too. It scares me long term is how much waste, how much dirt, and how bad the fashion industry for the environment. I worry of the consequences of it. How we live and act now, will shape the standard for the next generations, not only of people but of animals and too. That is where the climate revolution comes into my work. Basically, I have an opinion of a sort of what we need to do and how can things be changed. As a small brand it is maybe easier to be sustainable, ethical. and I can tell a story through my work, express a feeling, an opinion and therefor the collection. So that is why SAVE THE BEES.
So does the symbol of the honey bee represent climate change?
My previous collection was about climate change. The honey bee is about saving bees. They are dying out and it's important to look that there is no future without them.
And you mentioned that your fabrics and manufacturing are sustainable and ethical. Can you tell us more about that?
To start, this collection is zero waste. Everything we make for our runway show and for our orders is created in in my studio in Prague by a small team of three people. I know that they are well paid and taken care of and I can control how our clothing is made and assure that there is no child labor used as there is almost no factory manufacturing involved. Of course, nothing in fashion can be completely sustainable. As a designer, I cant limit my choices in material completely. But we are sustainable in that we do not waste. We don’t over-produce and we work mainly on made-to-order system.
Yes, I have spoken to a lot of other designers and as part of the design process, there is a lot of waste because of all the variations.
I think you can even see it in the collection downstairs. It is so specific and unique that it would not be possible to make multiple versions.
In the press release, it says this is a collection for the Queen Bee! Can you elaborate on that?
Yes, yes that is because its blinky!!! They are sequins, corsets, silk and embroidery… I would kind of love to see a women dressed like the tsarinas commuting on the tube or the dressed like the queens. To be fierce in their clothes and their choices!
Twice in the press release, it mentions magic in the sense of reflecting the magic and color of the bee and later the magic of the environment.
You are very on point but I did not write the press release. (Laughter.) But yes both things are indeed magical.
Is magic something or is it more physical?
I did not actually study fashion design I was a trained ballet dancer. And the stage and theatre were magic.The world is magical, birth is magical, life is magical and inspiration is everywhere. Do you believe in magic and fairies? Well me too. I always clap twice before going to sleep.
And you don't cry when the fairies die?
(half laughing) I cry all the time. I cried this morning, and this afternoon and later today. I am the biggest cry baby ever. I cry all the time....
Ohhh! Well, I hope you compensate that with happiness and today will be a huge success and make you very happy!
I can cry with happiness. If you can actually produce emotion then it is a happy time. Any emotion means that you exist.