The Studio Visit: MATÉRIEL
Georgian designers have been making a serious impression on the global fashion scene over the past few years, and at the forefront of the conversation lies design house Matériel. Introducing creative duo Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili and Lado Bokuchava, the masterminds behind this must have label.
Think 80s tailoring set against a feminine colour palette, beautifully draped dresses, and a paired back minimalist sensibility. Who doesn’t want to be a “Matériel” girl?!
On why they became fashion designers…
A: Being a designer was my childhood dream.
L: At the beginning, I wanted to be an artist and then a plastic surgeon but at the same time I’ve always wanted to be a designer. Creating clothes is the thing I love the most and the only thing I want to do now.
A: I find inspiration everywhere in my everyday life, the people I meet and my relationships.
L: Growing up in the 80’s, memories from my childhood, of my mother, her style and wardrobe are a huge source of inspiration. I love the underground music scene and the aesthetic of that era. Fashion gives you the ability to be transported into a different world, maybe even a dream world, and this would not have been possible without creativity.
On the most exciting thing about the fashion industry today…
A: Fashion has become more multinational, multicultural and inclusive – it no longer feels like some sort of exclusive club - it’s for everyone.
L: Social media platforms are making it easier than ever to reach a global audience which is something that I feel has helped to drive the interest that the Georgian fashion industry is seeing right now. The flip side of this is that the market has become much more competitive, and because a lot of similar brands have appeared it’s more important than ever to be different and creative.
On how their background has influenced who they are today…
A: Everything I am and do today I owe to my past. My mother is the most important person in my life as well as being my main source inspiration. She’s the person who has taught me the most and inspired my style.
L: I was born and raised in a small city where being different was not accepted. I knew from very early on that I wasn’t going to let this stand in the way of me achieving my goals and have always stayed true to my vision.
On their designs…
A: The woman I design for is educated, someone who knows what she wants and is determined to succeed, someone who fights for her purpose. My work is very minimalistic, sophisticated, interesting, and sometimes dark.
L: Overall my collections are very feminine with a touch of vintage tailoring. I never design for one specific type of woman, or only for women, my inspiration is always different.
On their favourite place in the world…
A: I love to spend time in nature. Walking in the forest is so tranquil it’s hard to beat.
L: Home, because family is very important to me and it’s the only place where I feel calm, comfortable, and rested.
First thing you do when you wake up?
A: I drink a strong cup of coffee.
L: Drink water, I’m not a caffeine addict.
Last thing you do before bed?
A: Listen to music.
L: Drink water, it’s important.
A: Marina Abramović.
L: Kate Bush.
A: Antony and The Johnsons, ‘I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy.’
L: Placebo and David Bowie’s, ‘Without You I’m Nothing.’
What are you reading right now?
A: I wish I had time to read.
L: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick.
Do you have any phobias?
A: I have a phobia of height and claustrophobia.
Where can we find you on a Friday night?
A: Working in my atelier or partying.
L: Sometimes at Bassiani, otherwise I’m at my atelier.
A: Black and yellow.
Favourite thing to eat?
L: Churchkhela – it’s a Georgian delight.
What can’t you live without?
How would you describe your generation in 5 words?
A: Free, determined, full of life, informed, hard workers.
L: Brave, free, depressed, creative, determined.
Describe yourself in 3 words...
A: Determined, workaholic, difficult.
L: Workaholic, perfectionist, fighter.
How would your friends describe you in three words?
A: A good listener, attentive, caring.
L: Supportive, successful, inspirational.
What’s the best thing about Tbilisi?
Tbilisi’s hidden gem...
A: The bazaar is the definitely the most interesting and underrated spot.
L: The historic district.
What makes life worth living?
A: To enjoy every sunrise.
L: Emotions and memories.
Photography: Jonathan Middleton
Styling: Sally Bottomley