ATU BODY COUTURE
I always design to educate and not to please
ATU Body Couture is a Romanian fashion brand which explores women’s world with its aesthetic manifestations reflected in two seasonal collections Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Since Winter 2015, the brand has appointed a Creative Director: Catalin Valean. His designs are worn by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Marlo Hampton, and several others. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, Valean discusses the aesthetic and inspirations for his collections, his favourite projects, and shares some wardrobe essentials for women.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you illustrate your journey in the world of fashion and what motivated you to join ATU Body Couture?
My journey with fashion had a pretty rough start. After going against my parents’ wish for me to study anything but arts & design, I decided to take matters into my own hands and enrolled myself at the University of Arts & Design in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you define the aesthetic of your collections?
While developing our aesthetic we came up with a term that I think describes our direction perfectly, magic wear. Esoterism was always one of our key creative inspirations which just got refined and adapted subtly in time. We found a great balance between the functional aspect of the brand (Body Couture) and the more magical and inspirational elements of design which I think make our clothes stand out from the others. Every piece we make we consider an amulet, at times completed with small quartz crystals, destined to emphasise our customer’s personality and give them the comfort and confidence to dazzle everyone around them.
Fibre2Fashion: Where do you get your creative nutrition?
Creative nutrition for me comes from a multitude of sources. I could be studying the latest trends and runways, but I could also be watching a movie and be inspired by the sad storyline of the main character. I could be translating the latest exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum into a dress, but I could also be impressed by the way a random stranger on the street wrapped their scarf around their neck.
Fibre2Fashion: Since your designs are worn by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Marlo Hampton, and many other leading ones, what things are to be considered before making them?
I always design to educate and not to please, so the only thing I take into consideration before making them are of practical nature. I like to dance to the beat of my own drum when it comes to creativity as I think it’s the only way to truly succeed. My partner in ‘crime’ Lacramioara is usually the voice of reason that makes sure I stay on the right track.
Fibre2Fashion: How do you keep up with the competition? How do you make yourself stand out?
Through consistency and dedication to our brand’s ID, we have reached great milestones.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you include sustainability in your creations?
We are trying our best to have a more sustainable approach for our business as all of the fashion collective needs to be more mindful regarding the environment.
Fibre2Fashion: Tell us about your few favourite projects that you did?
One of my dearest projects was our latest collection, The Gem Collector, as it was the first time we shot the lookbook and campaign in Berlin. It was great to change the scenery and have contact with people with very different visions than the ones I was familiar with back in Bucharest.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you describe the evolution of consumers’ choices from earlier times to now?
Due to the rise of fast fashion, I have noticed our customers wanting pieces as far away as possible from regular retail sold items.
Fibre2Fashion: Name top 5 essentials that every woman should have in their wardrobe.
Fibre2Fashion: What are the upcoming fashion trends that can have the highest influence on fashion aspirants?
I think the biggest trend that now has to become a business imperative is sustainability. Fashion is the world’s second-largest polluter and it’s our responsibility to straighten our mistakes and become better as a collective.
Fibre2Fashion: What skills according to you are necessary to become a successful creative director?
You can achieve a lot by having an intuitive nature, confidence in your vision, a great amount of information, and a hard-working business partner that believes in you.
Fibre2Fashion: Whose designs do you admire the most?
I have always looked up to designers who can provide a subversive element to their designs as I have always aspired to do the same. I appreciate true game-changers like Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons or JW Anderson, but also can give a lot of credit to new voices like Glenn Martens, Marine Serre or Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta.