Latvia-born Dana Jasinkevica is a traveling storyteller.
Her love for books as a child as well as her journeys to Milan, London and New York inspire her to write tales about her experiences. She refers to herself as “a book worm, eating books like candies,” and feels that she “kind of grew up together with Harry Potter, because we were exactly the same age when he was at Hogwarts.” Instead of using pen and paper like J.K. Rowling, Jasinkevica uses needle and thread. Her fashion collections explore different plots, from tragedies to fantasies. Jasinkevica’s garments become characters – colorful, diverse, and challenging. “Each day you can be whoever you want to be…you can be all of your visions and I love that about fashion.”
While fiction novels continue to have an effect on her work and fuel her inspiration, it’s her research that is the climax of her process. “When I get obsessed with something I find out all the information, publications and videos about that topic or person I’m interested in,” she explains. Jasinkevica consumes information not only about her subject, but relatable and contrasting subjects as well — inhaling every micro detail.
Once she digests new information Jasinkevica makes it personal, “I look for the inspiration that is very personal to me…to keep the originality in these days you need to stay true to yourself that is the only way.” This thought process is known as the ‘Jasinkevica Way,’ an experimental approach — mixing colors, prints, textures, and intertwining them with underlying messages.
Some of Jasinkevica’s work seems “to be very diverse from each other.” For example, LolliPOPE is a collection she designed in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. In a humorous manner she recreates the pope’s mitre (ceremonial headdress) using loud colors and playful prints in the shape of an over-sized knit beanie. Swan In Oil was a project where Jasinkevica and her team created a high fashion, couture wedding dress out of the least luxurious fabric – paper. “I think it is my strength that I’m not afraid of mixing different styles and aesthetics together, taking elements out of their context and giving them a new life and playing with them.”
Continuing with her travels, Jasinkevica journeyed to Venice Biennale in 2013, where she discovered the inspiration behind her current design project, Richard Mosse’s, The Enclave. Mosse captures the juxtaposition between the beauty and tragedy of the Congo war. By using a special color inverting film, Mosse alters the green, lush Congo rainforest into a surreal landscape of pinks and reds. She says, “his work affected me very deeply.” Jasinkevica adapts Mosse’s color palette into her designs as well as Mosse’s harsh contrast with hunting jacket elements. “I’m hoping to achieve great results as the photographer’s work.”
Jasinkevica, ever-inspired by fiction novels and the stories of the world, showcases her adventurous spirit and her openness, never judging based on a first impression or first look. “Challenge yourself everyday. Kick yourself out of the comfort zone. Keep your eyes open and be curious about the world. The biggest question is where you want to go and why. Because the way you get there you will find out eventually. I like to remind that to myself.”