In our latest interview, we sit down with Bulgarian graphic designer Simeon Georgiev to learn more about his past, present and future ambitions.
It’s not easy being a streetwear obsessive in a country that only waved goodbye to communism in 1990. Still, since the days of high school, Simeon Georgiev has immersed himself in the world of street fashion, soaking up every bit of Western culture he can find through books, magazines and the Internet. This visual repertoire serves as inspiration for his graphic design projects – like his imagined Nike Robotics range or his series of streetwear Lego figurines. Check out our conversation with Simeon below.
How big is streetwear in Bulgaria? Has the country’s communist past affected attitudes towards street fashion, or is that something the youth don’t really think about?
The streetwear scene in Bulgaria is quite small. Only a few people have real personal style and a proper understanding of trends. There are 2 – 3 streetwear shops that offer some interesting brands, but most of the people here, especially the younger generation, are just combining fast-fashion mall brands with Nike or other sneakers. In many cases this isn’t exactly a good idea and people are sometimes a bit overdressed. But there’s still a bunch of cool kids that will find a way to express their style on the street and the scene seems to grow bigger.
Mountain biking was a big influence on you. At what point did you start to develop an interest in fashion beyond the “skinny jeans and plaid shirts” of the riders you hung out with as a kid?
It’s one of my biggest passions since high school and it’s where I started to notice different cuts and interesting fits. Most of the dirt jump riders are wearing mid-top Nikes, skinny jeans and plaid shirts that I really used to like. Searching for that stuff on the net was the opening door for finding new brands. In my first year in college I looked through many fashion blogs and that’s where I found Highsnobiety. At that point I knew fashion was going to take a big role in my life.
A lot of your work revolves around fantasy collaborations between brands and cultural icons. Do you spend a lot of time thinking of new brand projects in your day-to-day life?
I have a lot of free time to think about different stuff and the ideas just pop up. I hope that things will continue to be like that! I believe that enhancing your visual culture on a daily basis is the key to staying creative. I’m trying to follow everything related to the arts, fashion, music, videos and even TV shows from around the world.
Do you think anything in life can be branded or is there a limit to how far these crossover concepts can go?
There is an almost infinite amount of opportunities in the creative field, but there is also a very thin line between something being really cool and something just being boring. It’s not only about having a cool idea, it’s about executing it well. I think even things you wouldn’t expect to be of interest can produce good results if they’re combined with something exciting or hyped. Doing my projects is a way to connect myself with things that I don’t have or things that don’t even exist. This is just my way to turn them into reality.
Which do you take more inspiration from: icons from the past or the hype of the present?
I get most of my inspiration from the hype of the present. I think that the last five years is the time that everything in the visual area really evolved, and maybe that period in time is the beginning of a new era in fashion, art and basically any type of visual expression. That can clearly be seen in today’s fast-changing trends, which are getting bigger and braver all the time. People are becoming more open-minded – especially people my age. More and more, they are starting to pay attention not only to the brands or clothes they like, but also to whole synchronized outfits. Of course, there were a lot of good things in the past that used to inspire people, but now is the time they are honed to perfection. I want to see more ’80s and ’90s stuff imagined in a new way and in a different context. So, I guess you could say my inspiration is somehow a mix of the hype of the present with roots in the past, which is kind of what streetwear is today.
You’ve given us a glimpse into your vision for sneaker design in the future. What other advances would you like to see in fashion moving forward?
Fashion is moving forward in a direction that I like. Using more innovative materials in clothes would be nice. Maybe I would like to see more brands that offer complete outfits and cool aesthetics at more affordable prices.
With more and more design done using 3D modeling these days, do you think the days of the sketchpad are over?
I don’t think that the days of the sketchpad are over, not at all. For many projects sketching is more suitable, because it doesn’t need a big amount of time to realize your idea. I like to draw and I make 2D illustrations too. I have to say that I’m not some kind of a computer geek; I don’t even know the actual configuration of my computer! But I like the power of 3D software; it lets you produce realistic images of objects and designs without the need of a big financial investment. I like the classic vibe of sketches as well as the realistic look of 3D renderings.
You said you one day hope to start a career in arts or fashion. If you could work for any brand, designer or label, who would it be and why?
Well I hope I’m on the right way to finding my place somewhere in the world of arts and fashion. I like the aesthetics of Rick Owens and Givenchy, but I don’t yet have the experience to do something on that level. I also like the idea that comes with Supreme. Their combination of exclusivity, quality and timeless designs, along with the crazy collaborations make the recipe for the perfect streetwear brand. I also admire Marcelo Burlon for doing something amazing based on such a plain idea.
For more of Simeon’s work, visit his Tumblr.