For the second chapter of the HVMBLE HVSTLE collection, fashion designer Marco Blazevic is telling the story of migrant workers leaving their home country to look for a better future. Leaving everything behind, but taking their memories and cultural heritage along the voyage.
Coming from a family of Croatian migration workers, Marco draws inspiration from a personal background and upbringing.
The collection “Zadnja Rostiljada” (which means “the last barbeque”) and the surrounding event on May 14 2022, are a tribute to his late granddad whose life and struggle served as an inspiration for this collection. At the same time, it is a celebration of all the heroes who are trapped in this struggle.
Noukhey Forster attended the launch event and delved into Marco's world on behalf of Culture.Fashion.
“Nothing had to be done and the written rules of fashion events were fortunately nowhere to be seen”
The event took place in the ABCND store on the Northside of Amsterdam. ABCND stands for Art Beauty Clothes Nature Design. This concept store offers an assortment of carefully curated garments from Dutch and international designers and vintage labels. The store is located in an industrial area on the fringe of the city. This is completely in line with Marco Blazevic’s brand, which offers a platform for stories from people who are on the margins of society.
When I arrived at the event, there were some people sitting in front of the door. I was kindly welcomed by Jarwo Gibson, the owner of the store, and invited for a beer. Still completely unclear on what the launch would look like, I decided to join the people in front. There were no chairs or anything like that, so the sidewalk was used. Still somewhat unaccustomed, I started talking to a girl in front of the door. She had travelled with a friend from Germany to the Netherlands for a weekend, to attend the fashion show of Marco Blazevic, in which her friend would walk. I gained a little more information here, but she couldn't tell me much more. So, it came down to waiting, having an open mind and, you know, giving the place a chance. Slowly, more people joined and a natural hedge of honour was formed.
There was a very relaxed atmosphere. Nothing had to be done and the written rules of fashion events were fortunately nowhere to be seen.
“There was a sense of poetic necessity that runs throughout the work of the designer. A feeling that everything is an important part of telling the story he strives to tell”
About two drinks later, three cars suddenly drove into the street with loud music. Everyone jumped up, because it was obvious that the fashion presentation had started. The models came out of the cars fully dressed in beautifully composed denim pieces and other reconstructed garments. The pieces were lively and there was a sense of poetic necessity that runs throughout the work of the designer. A feeling that everything - from the garments to the models and the way they arrived - is an important part of telling the story he strives to tell.
Perhaps the most ground-breaking were the older male models. Here too, you saw that the traditional fashion rules were broken. The older men were no models you would expect on a runway and were more likely to portray the working class. But they were owning it. They looked proud and comfortable doing it.
After all the models had made their entrance at the door, they paused in front of the cars for a moment and concluded the fashion show by entering the store. One of the car trunks was opened. A stack of customized t-shirts with various texts was displayed here. Inside, the entire store was had opened. The store's collection - including Marco's new collection - was displayed. Outside, there was music by the Croatian artist SRNA and SBM (Germany), a screen print service, a Croatian BBQ & drinks. The laid-back atmosphere and presentation were a beautiful ode and appreciation to the working-class heroes and other characters at the edge of society.
About the collection
The Story of this collection is divided into three acts. The first act is about people leaving their home country, hoping for a better future. Only bringing what they can carry, and the memories of home. This story takes shape in huge silhouettes, overloaded garments and over-packed bags.
The second act is about St. Maria and St. Josip the Hustler, two migration workers stuck in a system, having to hustle for a daily living. The clothes in this part of the collection are overworked and distressed, just like the characters they portray.
In the final act of this chapter, it is about finding peace and a place for yourself in this world. It is about characters that hustled their whole life, fearing to end up empty handed in their old day. This is materialized in outfits that take heritage from Croatian Folklore, but which are combined with stereotypical western garments that characters like these wear in their daily lives.
Every HVMBLE HVSTLE collection serves as a monument for the people at the borders of our society and their hustle to overcome their situation. To illustrate this, the entire collection is upcycled.
Report written by Noukhey Forster, curator & producer
IG @ hvmblehvstle