The Passion of Dragica Gudeljevic

SJFW: How long have you been in the industry?
Dragica: I have been in fashion and creative work for a very long time, practically since childhood, but I decided for this branch only in 1992. Until then it was parallel occupation with other professions. Thus, from 1992 I am engaged primarily in fashion.

SJFW: What is your role in the industry?
I am working on interior design, painting, decoration, but primarily designing unique models - from the very beginning, which includes original cut to the final which is consisted of painting and embroidery. I tried to design the meterage and it very successfully.

SJFW: What does fashion mean to you?
: Fashion for me is the ultimate commitment in the profession. It is a way of expressing feelings and attitudes toward life, culture and art the way in which I found in the painting is transferred to the models so that they sort of blend of art and design. Whether it is done by hand, painting on silk, hand embroidery with silk on silk, creating a motives by sewing pearls or hand knitting. In any case, the fashion for me is art and a way of expressing individuality and attitude towards life and times in which we live. Fashion is often a reflection of resistance to negative phenomena in society.
For me fashion is a lucrative business, the question of imposing style of domination and for-profit monopoly. Sometimes qualitative and sometimes loss of control is present. On the other hand is an art. It is in fact branch in which the author finds himself with many years of extensive work and research findings and follows himself without repetition and copying himself.  And besides all of that designer must have recognizable style.
Thus presented to the public, fashion for me is the suggestion or incentive to a mass / consumers and encourage them to focus and build its own style and individuality. If someone finds himself in what I offer it means that we have found kindred spirits approximate feelings.
I am not a blind supporter of monitoring certain style or imposed without plugging and developing individuality.
SJFW: What is your inspiration?
Well this is something a little difficult to explain, inspiration comes from the inside of the creature and something I follow and subsequently shape in the form. It often happens that I can't catch up all of my inspiration. What I never do is to seek for inspiration tensely around.

SJFW: Is there a theme or message in your clothing?
: Observing my work and unique models I can say that I never repeat myself and basic theme does not really exist. Mine is to paint and convey my emotions and on the audience is that my work experience in accordance with their emotions, aspirations and personality. Often happens that the same model, which is hand painted or embroidered people experience it's motives different.

SJFW: What makes your clothing/accessories unique?
I use plain materials which I paint, and which in this way are improved in the aspect of bright colors and are a real piece of art. I also decorate my models with an embroidery and hand-sewing on of beads creating unique patterns and motives. I like to work with wool – I knit my models, whether it is a dress, top or a skirt. I like to combine colors. My all models are full of bright colors, cheerful. It is exceedingly beautiful to see the creation of something multicolored or with bright colors, full of soul, painted by hand as a medium of feeling and thought...and then we are thrilled how it all looks in the end, so we get an order to create something similar but it never turns out the same. Not even close! I simply move forward with my work and idea creation. Creativity leads me so I can hardly repeat myself and my work...Sometimes we get into very interesting situations when my customers assure me that a model is not painted but printed instead because they get such an impression on a fashion show. When they see the same model in person they are stunned. That's why I emphasize the fact to all my customers that everything multicolored and colored is not an original material but it is hand-painted. Besides that, I use my own original patterns when creating a model.

SJFW: Your target demographic? 
From teen to mature age, people appreciate the unique work. Wide range of profession and status.
SJFW: Where can readers buy your clothing?
Dragica: My models, except in Sarajevo, can be purchased over the Internet. photos of my models can be found on several web pages and with foreign buyers I contact via email.

SJFW: When did you know you wanted to be in the fashion industry?
The moment I made first piece of clothes.

SJFW: What are the materials you work with?
: The materials I use are silk, wool, leather and cotton, though 90% of what I prefer to use is silk. I design the specific piece of clothing first and then I pay my attention to the details – I paint on it or do the embroidery.
SJFW: What is your favorite piece/item you have ever done?
An evening gown, popularly called the "snake“,  in two versions, and a hand-made gown for Coca-Cola silver contest, "silver lady", also handmade.

SJFW: What is your favorite fashion season?
I cannot decide on this. I am doing my work with same passion on silk, natural light summer models as well as those for autumn/winter made of wool.

SJFW: How do you feel the recession has affected the fashion industry, if it has at all?
Dragica: Recession is evident, however, I think that it is more mounted than realistic. maybe it partially affected those designers who use noble materials with a demanding finishing and construction, but it appears that the recession in this branch served more as a new image of some designers who are running out of ideas, then those that use cheap materials and simple lines as a form of involvement in a current financial situation and what will be faster and easier with the earnings invested minimal labor and capital. I think the most important thing for health of people, considering clothes, is to wear quality processed materials that breathe and do not load the skin and don't endanger the health of allergies and vacume. I think that is smarter to have in the closet a few such pieces of clothes but the closet full of wardrobe made of unhealthy and synthetic nylon that very negatively affects on the organism and the cold and the sun's rays. I think that the planet has the ecological recession. Besides natural materials are not necessarily expensive and with a little imagination and individuality in clothing, you can again be special and show of your personality.
SJFW: What trend could you do without this year/season?  -What trend do you love this year/season?
When it comes to criticism of my work critics are unanimous that my designs are not subject to current trends, but they are timeless and they are always there in every moment and go before the season. However, if one could say that my trend is not subject to the current and imposed, not to follow his style as retro as he himself has given the maximum and it is in a certain way encroachment into someone else's work and if it can be said of desecration. Retro easily be used as it is vrlim with respect to those who have brought to perfection. Lets put it this way, trend for me is unloaded and a free way of expression but certainly not without foundation.

SJFW: Most loved designer/brand?
Dragica: Paco Rabanne

SJFW: What is your most beloved fashion item?
Dragica: Hats, hoods, gloves, sash, belts and boots

SJFW: Being a  Sarajevo designer, do you feel American and Sarajevo fashion tend to differ, and so how much? How you would you define your city's fashion?
Dragica:In principle, I feel as european and citizen of this planet and intensely experiencing all the changes and situations and changes in their environment as well as globally. Before the war, Sarajevo was full of talent, full of diversity and freshness when it comes to fashion, and inexhaustible source of ideas. And the possibilities were wide. Currently is evident drab uniformity and expressed the spiritual and creative flatness. In the situation as it is now in this country, fashion and all other segments of life, those who can work undisturbed are those who have the support of closed political circles, which as a logical, suppresses quality.
The difference between the United States and Bosna I Hercegovia
In Europe there is a hunt for talents. If I'm familiar enough with the situation in the USA then it is stimulation and support for talented people with fresh ideas and views of life which is very positive because it seems that there is general state of crisis of idea in the world. In Bosna I Hercegovina talents are suppressed, and you need a great love, a firm commitment, great energy, courage, risk and no waiver in order to survive in this business or the world.

SJFW: Do you market in the United States? If not, do you plan to do so?
Dragica: I am certainly facing America. This year I had several significant offers and I hope that next year some of this will be realized. I hope there will come a time when art and fashion, which can often be subsumed under the same, shall not have barriers, because in the end this is what, without prejudice, connects all people of the planet.

SJFW: What is the most memorable/favorite moment in your fashion career/history?
At the beginning of the war, under the shelling I held a fashion show, in a textile factory in Sarajevo, for children and adults for donations. The fashion show was done without electricity, with the help of generators and there was incredible passion and enthusiasm with which children and teenagers walked down the improvised scene while bomb shells were hitting all over the city. It was a symbol of love and desire for life beyond the horror and uplifts the horrors of war. Former mayor of Edinburgh, was appalled. He made a tape and when leaving gave me a warm thanks and expressed his admiration and gave promise that he will do his part, if not impossible, then at least what is in his power to help. Indeed, the recording was presented to the cities of Europe and provided significant humanitarian assistance intended for the children of Sarajevo.

Another important moment in my career was post-war tour of BiH Misses, represented in the Zurich show with my model. Attention given to my design and positive criticism of my work have caught my modesty and simplicity of accessing to my work. In the course of working on a model (to model I pay the same attention) I fully surrender myself and do not stop until I bring it to perfection. When it is completed and when I am sure that's what it is, I move to the other and have no longer a special relationship with previous one. I did my part and gave myself in the relevant form and the rest is in the public or to those who are offered to experience if they are finding themselves in my expression.



Fashion Writer Arriel Ginter

Images Dragica Gudeljevic

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