Andrew Majtenyi - Clean Lines and Interpretational Visions
‘I’m inspired by the clean lines and interpretational visions of what things would be like in the future’ and this is why Andrew Majtenyi has intrigued us ever since making his mark in the world fashion design. Unlike most designers who start with a sketch, Andrew starts his design process with the textures, colours and feel of the fabrics, a free-thinking, creative process has made him an award-winning designer.
Majtenyi has studied various aspects of Fashion Design, including Colour Theory and Image Management at Niagara, Sheridan and George Brown Colleges and also attended the much vaunted London College of Fashion. He has apprenticed in late 19th and 20th century tailoring under master tailor Vincenzo Cardone and then with Madame Sophie who taught him advanced draping techniques. In the mid-90s, Majtenyi refined his couture skills while working with the National Ballet of Canada under Oscar nominated and Tony award winner, Santo Loquasto.
He has since built an eponymous label and has several awards to show for it. For his Spring Summer 14 sartorial showcase there was a nod towards a modern sci-fi theme, but with the clean lines and a minimal aesthetic that kept the collection contemporary and current. Fabrics were innovative and dynamic, woven cottons in blues and blush pinks, juxtaposed with remarkable imitation leathers. His edgy sense of style and creative design instinct is enormously inspiring and we couldn’t wait to chat with him to understand more about the vision behind the Andrew Majtenyi brand.
What are your early influences and what encouraged you to study fashion?
It all started visiting charity shops with my mother in St. Vincent de Paul in my early teens. There was something about old school tailoring which fuelled my imagination.
How do you feel you have grown as a designer from when you first started out?
Like night and day. My very early designing was pure fantasy, which at the time was difficult to materalise and into an actual garment. Over the years I have developed a better sense of translation. Also more and more research is involved each season to help evolve the collection upward.
Who has influenced your design choices, designers, artists etc?
Early Galliano really had an impact, as well as McQueen. Musicians and music videos in the late 80’s and 90’s are also inspirational. They signalled a new modernism in technology moving exponentially forward since then.
How would you describe your brand?
There are so many adjectives but the best way to describe it is slightly outrageous but not enough to scare. There is a combination of solids and prints in the collection, both of which work well together.
With such bold and couture-inspired designs, what type of woman do you envisage wearing your pieces?
My customer is not afraid of being herself and using her way of dress to extend her presence. The brand appeals to a woman who wants to be noticed but not stand out too much. There has been a positive reaction from the celebrity roster, which in turn creates a buzz.
What do you like about British fashion?
There is plenty of innovation here, and a sense of perpetual youthfulness seen in pretty much every designer’s collection. I guess it’s the frequent grey skies that induce creativity.
As London is so eclectic in its culture do you think our capital has helped you to push your boundaries in the world of fashion design?
Yes definitely. Other fashion capitals lack the intensity of London and there is much more exploration in terms of design. So much goes on in a single day it’s hard to conceive.
With fashion design being such a competitive market, how did you manage to stand out and stay true to yourself?
I just do what I want and try to stay consistent. Of course there will always be cheers and jeers for your collection, but it is part of the business. I’m always looking for something new and fresh for inspiration and find it in the most surprising places.
How does travelling help to unleash your creativity? Does it allow you to visually create mood boards which feature new ideas and inspirations?
I love to explore different parts of the globe and see something very different. Mood boards always start in one direction and end somewhere else which is kind of similar to travel mode. For ideas it’s a long stewing process, which I really need to think through thoroughly.
You’ve worked with the National Ballet in Canada, have these theatrical influences encouraged you to hone in on your couture skills, what else did you learn from this kind of environment?
Discipline and patience are the first things to come to mind. There is such a richness of colours, textures and trims it can be mind-boggling at times. Hand work is more enjoyable as you can control and manipulate the fabric in a way a sewing machine cannot.
You’re also very involved with the TV and film industry, as well as being a trained image consultant; do these mediums help to inspire your designs?
Actually I’m more focused on my collection. I’m still getting calls to come and do film/television and quite tempted but the collection will always be Number One. My film work experience developed an understanding of different periods in history. The film set brings the whole period (20’s 30’s etc) to life.
A sci-fi feel is notably referenced in your previous collections, where did your initial inspiration for this come from?
Oddly I’m not a fan of science fiction. I rarely watch it on television but I’m inspired by the clean lines and interpretational visions of what things would be like in the future.
Textures, fabrics and colour are your key influences rather than initial sketches, is this the process that you always choose to follow?
Yes pretty much as fabrics have lightness, strength, and dimension, which influence the look and shape of the design. The common mistake is having a design then finding out it does not work.
What are your future plans as a designer and how do you hope to expand?
I want to get better and better and expand with shoes, accessories and menswear.
Interview by Lauren Estill. Edited by GP.