Interview: Jiri Kalfar


Interview: Jiri Kalfar


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Jiri Kalfar is Czech based designer, who originally trained to be a ballet dancer. He infuses his innate sense of style into garments with folk-art inspired prints and innovative cuts. His menswear is boundary pushing in terms of its fluid approach to gender identity and his womenswear celebrates the freedom of the feminine soul with free flowing silhouettes and a vibrant palette.


When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?

It was actually quite spontaneous. I have not studied fashion design, originally I trained to be a ballet dancer. At the time when I lived in NYC, I have been a model. I couldn’t go back to dance as long I was out of the stage and modeling didn’t fulfill me. Thanks to ballet I had a perfect knowledge of the human body.

One day  I decided to do a fashion collection, so I have taken lessons and started to learn the basics and craft. Already my first collection proved to be successful though, we showcased it on main schedule of Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week. It took a lot of time, learning and dedication to be able to fully understand in which way I would like direct my brand.

It was your dream job?

Actually not. Well, I always draw, I adapted my clothes. In school I never made notes of the subject, instead my notebooks were full of drawings, of ideas… I was dedicated to ballet, to performing, to theatre. That was all my life.



Which is the first thing you designed and for who ?

I actually designed my prom suit. I could not find the kind of design that I had in mind. So I bought the clothes in the shop and adapted them to my idea. It was actually quite bold and my suit was really original.

Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?

There are three who I have always admired. Surprisingly they are all British. The God, Alexander McQueen, the king, John Galianno and the queen, Vivienne Westwood. To me they are not just designers, they are the story tellers, dreamers and fighters. With them I have always felt, that it is not just about the clothes, it is much deeper. Personal, unique, magical.

Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?

I am person who came from theatre, I spend my childhood and teenage years being backstage … I saw how a costume can transfer a ordinary person into a role which they are suppose to play. I don’t have a muse. In my designs I tell  a story that I see and all of them has a different characters.

If you had to design an entire collection using just one colour, which is the one you’d pick and why?

Indeed, I have done this with two of my collection. In one I used a red, second was based on green colour. Mainly, it depends from my mood.

Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?

My head-seamstress. She is actually the only one I show my sketches.

If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?

I think that perfect soundtrack who can link with my collections is  The Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and Kylie Minoque.

Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…

I don’t have, because inspiration is everywhere. In history, politics,  music, art, architecture, nature, city, stories and fairy tales… In society in general. I always think ahead, and sometimes when I create one collection, in the same time I already begin work on the next one, at least in my head. I do the pieces and then I connect the dots.

If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?

Maybe a fashion journalist, because I like to meet interesting people, get access to places you cant normally get. See the backstage and proces. It is so curious for me!