Worship the glitch

A fashion story photographed by Marco Giuliano.

All the times we’ve lost and will never have again, all the things we are not but could have been. Alison Ishtat in a fashion story featuring multi-functional pieces by Project Autark, photographed by Marco Giuliano and styled by Anca Macavei.

Can you share with us an insight onto Project Autark.
We met at school 13 years ago: Kassim is music producer and Vic is fashion designer. We are a couple, business partners, parents and pretty long time friends. After countless evenings full of intense criticism of our industries and one too many glasses of red wine, in 2018 we decided to start a joint project combining music and fashion. Maybe it was the drive to create something together maybe it was seeing the parallels between fashion and music. But somehow it was just organic to see what would happen if we created both once together. That’s how Project Autark was born. A project that designs clothes, produces music and rethinks both a little bit.

“A fashion designer and a music producer have joined forces”: music and fashion are two things that surely go hand in hand, but how did this original idea to truly incorporate music in your brand came about?
There are so many emotions that have no words to describe them. Compared to all other senses of the human organism, the sense of hearing has the most direct connection to our emotions. Our mission is to define an emotion through music and make it touchable and wearable through clothing. Because clothing is as much a form of expression as music is. It is an instrument with which we communicate, with which we present ourselves. Through our music, our fashion can become understood.

The fact that with each purchased piece comes also a uniquely produced song is beyond original. Do the songs you create for each garment revolve around the same genre of music?
We don’t really have any limits when we produce music. The symbiosis of fashion and music is in our idea an interaction. So sometimes the music is inspired by the clothes and sometimes we create the clothes based on a song. But what always stays the same is that we agree on a theme or an emotion before we start and create something new out of it. So no, we wouldn’t say that we are specialised in one genre. Just the mixture of several elements from different genres – if not contradictory genres creates something unexpected.

In today’s fashion industry sustainability has become a major topic. How important is it for you?
To us, sustainability is not a marketing tool, it is a necessity. Not to deal with the maintenance of our planet in 2021 is naive and selfish.
When we founded Project Autark, it was obvious from the start that sustainability has to be our first priority. We have an incredible amount of responsibility in the fashion industry, perhaps more than many other industries. So we spent weeks looking at materials, creating and discarding concepts, connecting with productions around the world, thinking through supply chains, etc.

The point is, starting a 100% sustainable business is not that easy. The solution is not to replace cotton with organic cotton and that’s it. We wanted to think further and change things for the long term. Topics like multi-functionality, reduction, care, durability and much more have to be considered as well if we want to act sustainably. Our current collection is made in Germany from an Italian material that is easy to care for, quick drying and wrinkle free. We have reduced all sizes that are available on the market to three sizes. At Project Autark, there are no gender-based standards. We keep a piece in our range for at least a year and don’t throw it into the depths of sale madness after two months. And we focus on multi-functionality, meaning our pieces can usually be transformed and worn in different ways. So it is possible for us to present a small but useful assortment that helps everyone to make his everyday life a little easier. Whether man or woman, young or old, thin or wide.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspirations behind this collection showcased here in our pictures and the song featured in the video?
We both love the cut of Japanese classics like the kimono. In general, you could find an affinity to Japanese aesthetics in our collection.
First and foremost, however, we think about function and utility… quite unromantically. We ask ourselves what our customers might need. In the process, we look at society, the zeitgeist, … earth-shattering things. Significant topics like a pandemic or “Black lives Matter” of course play a very big role for us. In addition, banal topics such as the current season and of course our personal inclination to certain cuts and functions. We ask ourselves what people are currently preoccupied with, what do they feel, what do they need, what scares them?
Covid… “The theme is pride and humility…A paradox that is reflected in each of us during an all-changing pandemic. And there you go, a song can be produced. While with our collection, it’s usually not that simple. Tailoring in a gender-neutral way is complicated. We rarely design freely, because we always have to create so that the body, regardless of gender, can be shown from its best side and especially feel comfortable. Somehow it is always a mix of multi-functionality, tailoring and minimalism that leads to the result of a design.
You start from a vision and you are guided by your own rules to a new, unexpected but wonderful point.

Any future plans you would like to share with us?
Topics like our digital presence and the connection between fashion and music are at the forefront. So far, this has unfortunately come a bit short, but we are working with wonderful people who are helping us to connect both media more obviously. We also want to add new materials to our range and focus even more on multi-functionality. We will see what challenges and opportunities the new year brings.

Worship the glitch


Photography: Marco Giuliano / @marcogiulianoph
Styling: Anca Macavei / @ancamacavei
Fashion & Soundtrack: Project Autark / @project_autark
Editorial assistant: Inga Lavarini / @ilavarini
Interview: Maylyn Bertorelli / @twiggymay
Model: Alison Ishtar at Elite Model / @alison.ishtar @elitemodelworld

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