Marite Mastina-Peterkopa and Rolands Peterkops are the creative duo and founders of the luxury design brand Mareunrol’s. Both from Riga, Latvia, which is rich in culture and history and has one of the oldest Indo-European languages, the duo studied fashion design at the Design and Art College of Riga, the Latvian Academy of Art and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. This creative duo became the first brand to ever win two main awards back to back at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion & Photography in 2009. Their creative partnership stands on the solid foundational aim of showing that “the impossible is possible”. They continuously push the boundaries of art and installations infusing every creative medium known possible into the presentation of their garments to communicate a story. Stories that are vividly inspired by diverse and various things coupled with moments in time captured in thought and created into space. Being truly inspired and captivated by almost anything that seems interesting or peculiar at a certain moment. That could come from their own emotional experience, misunderstandings and coincidences, or the stories conjured up in their fantasies. They tend to focus on the very trivial of things that due to the haste and rush of everyday routine life that we are so used to and become accustomed to, we tend not to pick up on or notice.
Their approach to their creative story could be influenced by an empty kitchen, dull elements, a moment captured in a hundredth of a second. “Sometimes we are influenced by strong personalities who are able to be who they actually are, and are not afraid of being misunderstood; the ones who welcome the challenge of breaking conventions, thus having inconceivable input in the future”(Via NJAL). Their clothing and collections are never unaccompanied when presented to the world. On the contrary, the talented duo always make sure that there is a powerful story visually recreated into a spectacular art form be it in film, photography, exhibition and or live combination of curated mediums of the afore mentioned always accompany the Mareunrol’s clothing with specially designed sets, scenography, video projections, installations, photography - any creative output that helps to communicate their story.
What attracted you both to fashion? Why fashion design? What is it about fashion design that stood out collectively for you both?
We see fashion not only as clothing, but also as an entire embodiment of visual emotions. It is the combination of things and feelings, looking for undiscovered emotions and tastes. There are various tools we use to find it - set design, sound, photography, sculpture, coincidences, misunderstandings and culture. That’s what we want to emphasize in our works. Our aim is to show that the impossible is possible. To us, Fashion is the building of feelings in the most inconceivable ways and of all sorts of tools that manifests in the form of visual ‘language’ - material, space, and sound or even set design. We are attracted by the vastness and the opportunity to combine and connect various disciplines through which we can disclose reveal the message of fashion, our visual ‘language’.
Where do you get your inspiration? Who would you say is a big influence on your design aesthetics?
For us, inspirations come from anywhere. It really varies. Sometimes the approach we take can be influenced by something as trivial as an empty kitchen. Other times it can be dull elements, or a moment captured in a hundredth of a second. Sometimes we are strongly inspired by strong personalities who are not afraid to be themselves and or be misunderstood by society. We tend to lean close to those that do really challenge and break conventions and redirect their own destinies. Great people in cinema, music and photography have influenced and inspired the outcomes of our work greatly. From the likes of Jacques Tati who is a master of composition in cinema to Roman Polański who was our main muse when we made our puppet project titled ‘Tenants’. We channelled inspiration from his well-acclaimed film The Tenant and Repulsion.
How does your partnership work? Are you both happy working as a partnership and would you advice young creative to do likewise if they could?
We are very different therefore we are very critical of each other and we think it that is the plus that truly makes our collaboration work and thrive so well. It is important for us that the design and the things we create have strong argumentation and they live their lives in the long run. If our ideas can withstand our self-criticism, the idea is worth creating and developing further. To work in tandem with someone, one has to trust, listen and be able to hear criticism and not get offended by it but rather see it as a positive channel towards development.
How hard was it setting up the business? Was it difficult to break into the industry?
The greatest difficulty for beginners is the financial kick-start, which affects both starting a business and retaining it. Another difficulty in this business is the issues of economical barriers. Young designers are forced to adapt to the market to survive. Most buyers seek low prices, while the cost of fabrics and materials is increasing, resulting in a direct and intrusive commercial dominance. The Internet has reduced the value of magazines, publications and fashion photography.
All images provided by Mareunrol's
Interview by Thomasina Legend