Words by Katie Farley
Dora Kelemen is as an upcoming fashion designer whose aesthetics are characterized by knitwear techniques, albeit perhaps not in the most traditional sense that one would suppose. Through the study of structure, transparency, and architecture, Kelemen extracts inspiration from these means and creatively manipulates and constructs innovative garments that push the realms of knitwear possibilities, which ultimately result in unique pieces of modern, wearable art.
Conjuring a dynamic duality that is noted within her collections, the designer fuses feminine and straightforward silhouettes with straight lines and repetitive geometric patterns. Amid her latest collection, Envelope, Kelemen commingles flexible and light knitted fabrics with rigid and atypical forms. “Actually I'm very satisfied with my last collection,” expresses Kelemen. “I can be more creative working with a domestic manual knitting machine than an industrial machine. I created what I wanted. I like the stitches, feminine shapes, details, and accessories. My favorite piece is the short dark green sweater. I could see myself wearing it.”
With artistic backgrounds in Budapest and Paris, it has been these inspiring cities that have broadened her horizons and sculpted her outlook as a designer. Kelemen’s studies include graduating from Budapest’s Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design followed by transitioning to Paris, where she attained a French Government Scholarship and studied in Atelier Chardon Savard. Establishing herself as a knitwear designer at Véronique Leroy’s company, Kelemen embarked on her knitwear collection as an independent fashion designer and launched her debut collection in 2015.
“I think that every designer needs to express oneself. Starting a new fashion brand is a very challenging project. I put lots of energy and perseverance into my collections, and I'm always happy with the result. It's important for me to enjoy what I'm doing.”
Advocating against fast fashion production, Kelemen forever champions the fact that her designs are created using an ethical method, wherein her last collection, she selvages the leftovers of her yarn and reapplied it to her garments to construct something fresh and exciting. “I have always been inspired by the experimentation of materials and knitting. In the beginning, I created extravagant shapes with interesting materials and the collection wasn't necessarily wearable. Today my aesthetic has changed. Even if I work with experimental knitting and materials, I will create a wearable collection.”
With the ability to construct contemporary designs that hold an editorial edge while working with traditional practice, Dora Kelemen illustrates a creative dichotomy that is innovating and inspiring.