Marina Mendes is a creative from Croatia who specialises in fashion design. Her work and research capture global issues through knitwear textures, textile manipulation and contemporary pattern cutting. She is recognised as a winner of GFW22 Uni of Derby and Hertfordshire joint catwalk show and a runner-up in the knitwear category at the Fashanne Awards.
During my studies, I realised how my work mostly goes towards finding inspiration in nature and its elements. I always felt its pure forms fascinate me and wanted to capture it through clothing. Sadly, in touch with us humans, the pureness is losing itself. With the fashion industry being such a big part of this inevitable problem, as a designer, I need to try and set an example of what we can do to prevent it.
The collection "Cenotaph" emphasises poor management of natural resources and a silent war without a winner between Man and the Earth. A fight led in the name of superficial prosperity led by insatiable greed. In a direct meaning, a cenotaph is a symbolic tomb honouring the dead without containing the body. Therefore, as a metaphor, it aims raising the collective awareness of the modern way of life and the negative impact on nature that embodies the core of human existence by paying homage to the planet.
Researching natural elements and comparing how we've got them and what we've done to them, final designs mostly took inspiration from oil spills after discovering pictures of birds trapped in them. Thus, these helpless animals served as a symbol for the suffering planet. By transferring the heaviness of the situation onto the garments, the Cenotaph woman is the carrier of the tangled situation, just like the bird, nature, planet, or any destroyed once alive part of the globe.
Sustainability being the top priority right from the start has led me to discover recycled t-shirt yarn. For me, texture is essential when it comes to clothing design. Creating my fabric was my initial idea. Therefore, it turned out as a great medium to base the collection on knit and crochet experimentations, while on the other hand playing with gathering and quilting techniques.