An exclusive interview with the creative collective Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE from the UK.
What is Mainline:RUS/Fr.CA/DE ?
We are a collective based in London, merging the cultural settings of the founding members from Russia, French Canada and Germany by presenting intimacy and sexiness throughout garments and projects.
How are you working on a collection as a collective and how does this affect your outcome?
As we are collectively working on our projects, we are combining and compromising each idea into one vision. Having different professional backgrounds can sometimes make us have to deal with clashing views. Although, it pushes us to meet in the middle and acknowledge our different perceptions, which is leading to compromising ideas and forces us to explore outside our own comfort zone with an external eye. Our outcome is the result of three people’s minds, something that none of us could have done or thought of individually.
Have you all connected with the vision of Mainline in mind?
As all three of us have been working on different projects in London and collaborated with each other previously, we came to the point where it made sense to merge into one team. Allowing us to go further with our ideas and experience working together. The vision of Mainline is to be able to trust our intentions and develop those organically in the team, which is evolving within each project.
Besides fashion, what do you stand for as a brand?
Sustainability has been a core value within our work. Last Autumn Winter collection, we introduced our leather line out of reused leather furniture which we sourced from East London streets. We started by creating an artisanal couch leather jacket produced locally. Manufacturing in Europe, using deadstock materials, reducing and reusing waste is not only seen in our leather project but also throughout our entire collection and back office. Besides sustainability, being connected to our motherlands and their social structures feels important to us, we want to encourage and liberate our customers to break free from traditional settings we all have been stuck in without forgetting where we come from.
In which sense does your collection thematize travelling? What is travelling for you?
Travel as an implement of our life brought our collective together in London. It is a vital element of our every day which affects not only our physical state but also psychological. While we commute a long distance, we observe people we travel with more in-depth than we ever would have on any other occasion. The concept of the time being frozen while being in transit is compelling, we think time does not pass while waiting in the common area together with diverse people from contrasting continents. It contradicts how upon arrival we are divided into groups depending on what passport we hold, which can separate families and friends. Since we do travel and commute a lot, we get inspired not only by the concept of travelling but also by people we meet and the way they look. It is fascinating how casual uniforms can be used as an indicator for the distance or class of travelling. Our aesthetic has very much started from observing businessmen or women travelling in the suits they would usually wear during office times. The way the fabric ages throughout travel, creating all the creases and gathers reflects that time never stopped.
Can fashion strengthen spirituality?
Yes, of course, spirituality and psychology play an important role as it’s reversing and confirming the ideas of what society thinks people should look like. We are using those settings and trying to twist them. The way we feel in clothes is always in relation to who is watching us vs how we individually feel on our own. Being aware of how clothing dictates the way people perceive each other, we want to push this idea with the concept of feeling comfortable while being unapologetically sexy. What we wear can strengthen how we feel, therefore reinforce the desire to be seen.
Is sexiness for you necessarily connected to comfortability as well as the other way around?
Sexiness is often connected to discomfort, but this idea generally comes from society’s ideals and prejudices rather than the actual discomfort while wearing it. We are reworking this concept by creating very comfortable sensual pieces, strengthening the idea of feeling cosy while being and feeling desirable.
You encourage and question genders at the same time. What are you aiming with your fashion in terms of binary identity?
Gender shouldn’t have boundaries the way society has taught us, we try to free ourselves within this concept in our personal lives and translate this as well through our work. Unconsciously, we are taught to fit society’s ideals which feeds prejudice and bias of gender roles. The expectations set up by our born sex have been one of the most systematic destruction in the way individuals are raised up and been exploring themselves. Intimacy and sexiness mostly stand in relation to the concept of masculinity and femininity and have clearly been banned and oppressed to insure control and authority in our modern world. Encouraging and questioning those settings within our work is important for us, as our industry should be aware that the systems of sexuality, gender and race still bring a lot of pain to humankind and we all need to step out of this creative industry bubble.
What were the most important criteria in presenting your collection through a campaign? What aesthetics do you aspire (especially connected with your collection)?
We originally showcased the SS20 collection through a performance in collaboration with dancing artist Asya Ashman during Paris Fashion Week last summer. The performers and our team lived together in a flat for over a week, working on this project day by day together which was a pure collaboration between all of us. We loved this experience and decided to work on our first campaign in Berlin in a similar way to present the collection in our own aesthetic of dusty offices and creased suits, sharp and dreamy. It is very important for us as a collective to represent people we know, our friends and colleagues as these are the people who support and push us further!
Would you like to share your vision for the future with us?