According to Tropical Magazine, more and more talented designers, also capable of competing internationally, are appearing in Hungary. They are taking part in an increasing number of prominent events in Hungary presenting their implemented designs. Nini Molnár, Richárd Demeter and the DVA team are the dominant actors in the contemporary Hungarian fashion. Their designs and accessories pop up in many places, online, on the catwalk or in everyday life. We already published an interview with Nini Molnár and Richárd Demeter fashion designer, now we are focusing on DVA.
DVA was created and designed by Annamária Kaptay and Klaudia Csáki.
Distinctiveness, spontaneity and humour. Perhaps these three words best define both the brand and the designers. This August, DVA celebrated its third year since foundation.
Established with an expressed objective to mix humour or, rather, (self) irony, the brand brings a certain kind of braver and less expected laxity to the Hungarian streetscape.
Since the beginning, the brand and the designers have developed a great deal and their models have also become a lot cleaner, yet the initial vibrant, clearly recognisable, DVA style has never been omitted.
Neither studied to be a fashion designer: Anna graduated from the University of Miskolc and ELTE in communication and then continued her studies at BME, as a Russian interpreter and translator, while Klaudia graduated from the Technical University of Budapest as an architect and designer.
When did you decide to build your own brand? Was it a long-time dream or a sudden idea?
Klaudia: I have had that dream for a long time. It began with my love of drawing, continued with my design and production of clothes for Barbie dolls with my mother and I simply did not stop. Fashion design was my dream and the construction-engineering faculty was a compromise. This love came from inside me, though the women in my family also had a huge influence on me with their constant knitting, crocheting, embroidery, dyeing and sewing and I was always around them. When I was little, it was easier to make our own clothes rather than trying to find the right things in the shops.
Anna: I generally go with the flow and begin things randomly. Our brand already existed when I realised I actually enjoy the design part, too. I have always been interested in many things. For a long time I played the piano in competition, there was a time when I loved painting and I also have video recording on a VHS cassette tape of a home fashion show when my cousin Léna and I, totally unexpectedly, wrapped ourselves in my mother’s dresses and combined them with towels. So I definitely have an ‘artistic’ or creative bent, though to be honest I never thought that you could also make a living from it. More and more it seems that I was wrong.
How was DVA born? Did you have any assistance?
We helped each other. We established our brand with a firm determination and have been working hard on it ever since. When we began our work, we were both disappointed with the jobs we were actually doing.
Klaudia: At the time, the construction industry was dying or perhaps it was just beginning to pick up, though nothing yet was being felt of that at all.
Anna: I happened to be working for an advertising agency where I realised I am incapable of performing tasks as part of a process every day instead of creating or producing something tangible, something new and something of my own. That realisation actually crushed me. We both felt that it was time to change and we had nothing to lose. We also found the right partner in each other.
Could you tell us more about the beginning? How did the first success come?
We do not really remember the moment of the actual decision, only that we were making progress. We first met to decide on a name and the second meeting was dedicated to the design of our logo. We did not employ a graphic designer but drew different patterns with a pencil in a checked exercise book by a swimming pool. Later the first gym bags appeared, which were sewn by Klau as an experiment, using the material from an evening dress with silvery glitter. Three years ago, that was still new and nothing similar was available or could be seen. Anna liked them immediately! She took photos of them at home with a borrowed camera and when we put them on Facebook, it soon turned out that others liked them, too. That set us off in this direction and from them on we began to deliberately design the details of the various pieces. The most important thing was that smart materials were used to make sporty designs.
After the bags, the first success was the first fashion show organised for us in Holdudvar. We felt greatly honoured by the request and did not have the guts to reject the invitation though, in fact, we did not have a collection to show at the time. We produced everything from zero in one week. All the clothes and, similarly, the bags. We approached sewing shops, designed the first swimming costumes, which were not yet perfect for the show, and put together our first collection, with prints that we drew ourselves.
That gave us the right impetus to start. If we had not received that invitation, perhaps would never have pulled ourselves together.
“We, ourselves, find it difficult to express the style we are working with, though perhaps the best words to describe our style would be the motto of our brand: “made for adventures”. Wherever life takes you, whatever adventure you have, you will always feel completely special in a DVA dress and totally comfortable with a DVA bag.”
Who or what inspires your work?
Time and space inspire us. We constantly click, design and think. Every day we bombard each other with ideas or send them to each other’s phones and, if everything goes well, we will implement one a week. Our environment, nature, the streets, the people, our friends, our holidays, films, exhibitions, theatre plays, trips and even our solitude, constantly inspire us. Implementation is mostly subject to the restrictions of time, which is a great enemy to both of us: though we have improved a lot.
Who are your greatest role models?
Anna: Apart from my parents, I do not have any other role models. I never idolised anyone. Fortunately, I have met so many people, even in everyday life, who are exemplary and inspiringly good at what they are doing.
Klaudia: Emilia Anda. I was sitting in an office talking to my then boss about my dreams and I was given Emilia Anda as an example. She is an architect and fashion designer. Her career and personality are both examples to me.
Do you take part in the design alone or do you rely on assistance?
Most of what we design is done together, though both of our boyfriends help out a lot when we get stuck. We can also rely on our family (parents, brothers and sisters).
What are you most proud of?
Anna: Now I have reached the stage where I am proud of what I am doing. Obviously, DVA is one of the things I am proud of. Alongside the brand, I also work as a trainer and I am proud of that because it is a good feeling to encourage others and to make their lives better. Sport is one of the best ways to do it.
Klaudia: There is DVA and there are many other things that I am proud of. As an example, I may be a member of a team competing in the masters category of the Aquatic World Championships.
Have you any specific stylistic feature?
Geometry, geometric order and rectangles, combined with busy patterns and eye-catching, glittery materials, simplicity, spontaneity and eclecticism.
How would you define your target audience? For whom do you design?
As we progress, our target audience grows. As we reach out to people, people coming from new areas can shape our pieces to suit their own image. Originally, we targeted our own age group (women of 25 to 35 years) but even that group is very diversified.
Fundamentally, we design practical and comfortable casual pieces that, even so, are not for backpacking, so any career woman in an office or young mother with a pram can fit a DVA bag into their style, every day activities and life, perfectly.
At the same time, more and more teenagers are getting to know us and they bring us their mothers. They both buy bags and wear them together. There are also the men, who only borrowed bags from their wives or girlfriends but in the end took them over. So, fortunately, it is more and more difficult to define our target audience. There are two reasons for that. Hungarian people are now a lot more adventurous and open to individual and special designer pieces than they were a few years ago. As well as that, we have a rather broad, range of, approximately 80, different bags, though only very few of each type are available, so many people may have a DVA bag, but they are very rarely the same.
How do you imagine the future of DVA? What are your plans?
We loved our gallery show room that looked onto the street in district XI., though that unfortunately had to be closed down. We plan to open a shop again and develop a webshop for it. In the autumn, we will introduce our first backpack specifically designed for men. We have put a lot of work and development effort into that bag for a year now and we cannot even tell you how many prototypes were made before it was finally finished. Our longer-term plans include expansion abroad, though we would not abandon the Hungarian market under any circumstances.
Photos: Nikolett Kustos
Source: by Anita Sz.K./Tropical Magazine