Sometimes to understand Earth, you need to be a little alien. That’s the thinking behind BOYFROMMARS1996, the brand helmed by Germany-based designer Samir Duratovic. BFM1996 poses its work in response to mediated experience. Last year’s Lovesick dealt with feelings of longing as we experience them today. In this collection, IAM WET, the focus is turned to independence and liberation. The way we engage with the world is changing, and Duratovic, whose youth and experience give him a keen insight into the mechanics of this novel reality, is here to show us how.
As a generational spokesperson, Samir Duratovic is ideal. A self-described “gay boy in a traditional and Muslim family,” Duratovic grew up submerged in a world he felt didn’t quite fit him – as a result, he sought refuge in creative expression, eventually finding his way to the world of fashion. The pieces he makes under the BFM1996 name channel these feelings of otherworldliness into bizarre yet utterly intriguing work. To celebrate its uniqueness, Schön! spoke to Duratovic about his latest collection, IAM WET.
First of all, where did the name BOYFROMMARS1996 come from?
BFM1996 was born when I started to study fashion and communication design. The idea of the name came through friends and [from] my personal sentiments. I always felt like an alien. To grow up as a gay boy in a traditional and Muslim family often gave me a feeling of alienation. At the same time, some friends at that time called me “boy from Mars,” because of my red-coloured hair. So it was decided for me: the name was BOYFROMMARS. In addition, the year of birth came as an indication of to which generation I speak.
Feelings of alienation are a motivator for your designs, you write in the press package for this collection.
The feeling of being a stranger in one’s environment is not only my motivation for the design. It is rather a general motivation of my doing, the existence of BFM1996. This motivation leads me to deal with topics that concern my generation but are still too rarely noticed, such as growing up or lovesickness today, all from the perspective of a member of this generation.
How do you see feelings like that represented in your pieces?
Last year I dealt with lovesickness today – because I was allowed to get to know [it]. From this experience, I created the collection Lovesick. I worked with colours that reflected my feelings of this experience. I use soft patent leather, satin silk and mesh fabrics. This combination represented it best for me. Dramatic fabrics paired with sensitivity and technical fabrics. When one suffers from lovesickness, one seeks shelter, which I tried by using seat belts as an element of the collection. I concentrate on translating this feeling into colour and formal language, while always leaving enough room for interpretation.
What inspired you to begin work on your IAM WET collection?
The collection was born out of my failure to live an independent life. I really wanted to leave my parents and swim out into the wide world. That’s what happened. I lived alone, went to work and studied. Everything did not go as smoothly as I imagined, [and] I realised I wasn’t ready to swim alone. During this time I experienced moments that felt like someone was pouring a glass of water on my face, or [like] I was sinking into the water. Every time I was wet. From there, I started working on the IAM WET collection.
How does technology impact the BOYFROMMARS1996 aesthetic?
Being a part of ”Generation Y” means to grow up with technology from day one. Therefore, it has a huge impact on us. All my experiences are influenced by technology. For my last collection IAM WET, I chose technical fabrics which had characteristics of being water resistant, antibacterial and fast-drying. This was important to create a clean and laboratory-like aesthetic.
You write that BFM1996 is “grounded on a real experience.” What is, as best you can describe it, that “real experience”?
With every collection, I tackle experiences I had to deal with. All inspirations have their origin in my personal history. With the beginning of the creative process, my “self” therapy begins at the same time. Being aware that I am not alone with those feelings, I would like to share BFM1996 with the world and address all those who can identify with [it].
What can we expect from BMF1996 in the future?
words. Braden Bjella