Frederik and Sophia in Sofia

4 October 2018 text and photos Sevda Semer
He’s from Denmark, she’s from Brazil, and it shows in their temperatment and style. He’ll say hello with a handshake, she – with a cup of warm mate (a traditional tea and ritual that she brought from home). Together, they find perfect balance in their live and in a mutual business by the name of Homs Arthaus: a brand for male jumpsuits, in which Sophia Dias is a designer and an illustrator, and Frederik Vincent – the mind for business (and a model of the brand, at least for our photo today). While they’re putting up and installation in Aether by the principle of "show – don’t tell" about the idea behind their new collection, we ask who’s the kind of guy who’d find himself in a floral jumpsuit, how did they chose to live and work in Sofia, and why expressive gestures can be a reminder of home.


What did you do, before you became Homs Arthaus?
Frederik:
My background is in music – I grew up in a family with a lot of music, I used to play the piano from a very young age. My dream was to work with music, so I got education in production and business, I worked in London and in Berlin. Eventually I wanted to do something different and when I saw Sofia’s work, I imagined that we could work quite well together, and we actually did.
Sophia: I graduated fashion design in Brazil, in Sao Paolo, and I also did Erasmus in Lisbon so I lived there for a year. Meanwhile I was working in costume design for the theatre, which was very interesting, because when you work for the theatre, you work with the story and idea much more. Maybe that’s why I wanted my own brand – I wanted something more artistic and with more identity. I have been working as a stylist for Harper's Bazaar, and in different studios. But yes, it turned out Frederik and I really do work well together – although he’s from Denmark, and I’m from Brazil, and sometimes I talk in a very different way than him, but the main point is the same.

And what is that main point?
S:
Men grow up in a society that makes it difficult for them to be expressive. You can’t show feelings and you can’t be something out of this box that people put you in. I was intrigued by this, because a lot of men grow up and don’t know how to express any feeling other than anger. That’s why I wanted to make something that will make men see themselves in a new way, something that will make them have a new experience of who they are.
F:
It really is a new experience. For me, the first time I put it on – and I know it might sound silly – but it’s this different experience, similar to when you get a new hat and you look at yourself at the mirror and you look completely different. It’s a feeling that you don’t normaly get when you try other types of clothes. Someone bought a jumpsuit for an award show, and he later texted and said he felt super confident in it – I don’t know if he’s a shy guy and got some confidence out of it, but I really liked that.

Do you consider having your production in Bulgaria to be a plus or a minus to your company?
F:
What we wanted to do was to figure out a way to make something a bit more unusual. We didn’t want to just make four collections per year, we didn’t want to just go to any factory. We didn’t have to look too much to find a small family buisness in Plovdiv who produce all of our stuff. We’re very confident in producing our clothes there and we definitely didn’t have the profit in mind as the most important thing – it was much more important for us to have a sustainable buisness. The only thing that’s more challenging is finding sustainable materials.

How did you first start? A lot of people dream about starting a small business, but what were your first steps in reality?
S:
We had this idea that we didn’t want to be based in one place, so we bough a van and we thought we could go to some design markets and meet new people. That’s what we did. We printed my illustrations, made the jumpsuits, and started going from the south of Germany to Belgium, Poland, France, the UK, and Ireland – it took us 4 months. We wanted to meet people who have the same kind of problems and challenges as we do, and to just look for collaborations. For example we found a director in London and did a short film with her. Living in a van, it makes you realize that you organize your whole life around your home – and when you’re sleeping in a van, you’re sleeping on the street. You just move all the time, and your whole idea of how the city works changes.

You used to live in Berlin – what and how made you realize you’d like to move to Sofia?
F:
You really need to push a lot to be able to work. That’s why Sofia is much more alive to me – it’s easier to meet people and collaborate.
S: But also things happen differently, because everyone has this common sense that they want the city to become more active and more things to happen in here, to make Sofia an interesting cultural city. So that’s why it’s easy to get help or make things happen.

But surely you dislike some things about the city as well?
F:
Polution! I’m often outside, and this is a big problem for me.
S: It often happens that people judge me based on the fact that I’m a woman – like they don’t leave me to lift something heavy. And I can lift my own things and I’m used to doing so much on myself. That’s just so weird. Another thing is how angry people in traffic are. I think because of the way the city is built.

You live in Sofia for the past year – is there anything that can still surprise you?
S:
The expressions of the hands. I like how people explaing things with their hands – and sometimes people speak in Bulgrian, but I understand everything they’re saying, because the hands are so expressive. I like it, because in Brazil we’re the same, it reminds me of that.

Say more about the event. It sounds like it’s between art and fashion?
S:
I did a lot of installations in Berlin and I decided that art is something that might help to make the whole concept more visual – instead of just reading a text, you enter the space and feel the whole idea behind the collection around you. For this collection, I wanted to combine a lot of mythologies from different countries and to try to understand what is to be a human being – because if you start looking at different mythologies in different regions, you notice that they’re actually very similar. There are different things that you can find in the installation and some are actually connected to Bulgaria: a portrait of Hristo Belchev, a drawing of a lion, and there is something inspired by the Baltic way – a peaceful political demonstration in which people from three Baltic countries held their hands to form a big circle between the borders.

You’ve mentioned that working on your brand takes most of your week, often times until late in the evening. What did you do last weekend?
S:
I love going to second-hand shops. The last thing I’ve found was an original japanese kimono – just amazing, completely in silk and so beautiful. Sometimes, I get inspired by the vintage techniques.
F: We also like going to the mountains – we visit Vitosha almost every weekend. When my brother came to visit, we took him to Boyana waterfall. It’s amazing how you get on a train for 5 leva and you’re two hours outside the city.

What do you miss from home?
S:
The tropical climate. You just feel your body and the air around it as the same thing… Maybe if it rained one day, and the next was very hot, it might be a bit like that, but it’s not quite the same.
F I really don’t miss the weather in Denmark. But the sea in there is very beautiful.

Find the jumpsuits at homsarthaus.com/
The event is at Aether Gallery on the 13th of October

 

Top Comments (0)

In order to post comments, please register and log in using your username and password.