Hungarian fashion designer Dóri Tomcsányi’s contemporary, high-end eponymous concept was established in 2010, and remained her focus as she studied at both the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré Paris and the famed Moholy-Nagy University. Her collections are filled with delicate patterned dresses, minimalist silhouettes, and a focus on volume, all in natural and modern materials. Comfortable, feminine, and laid-back, Dóri Tomcsányi’s designs are favoured by the creative scene in Budapest, and are now growing in demand around the world.
Volume, shape, colour, or function?
The first question is always, what inspires me? What doesn’t? I always design with a certain type of woman in mind. Just like me, a bit cool, sporty, doesn’t like too fancy clothes, doesn’t wear high-heels. I’m trying to create an “everyday-special” wardrobe for my collections. Not everything should always be black. Not every winter coat should be black. It’s very important that the materials are high quality and comfortable. Many times it’s the material that inspires me. Styles are born out of these materials. There is always a theme that runs across a collection. It’s important to me, because this way I can be more focused so I don’t include too many different things in one collection. They grew a lot already. We used to have 20 pieces in a collection and now we have 55. We used to make two collections per year, and now we create four.
The patterns are a bit too complicated, a bit chaotic – I like it when clothes have lot of intricate details – but the style and shape of our clothes are always simple and clean. It’s such a large number of items that if there was no theme, I’d just add everything to it and it would turn into madness. Buyers would tell us that certain pieces don’t go with each other within the collection. It’s very important to keep them “mix & match”, and I constantly try to keep that in mind. Some styles and pieces sell better, so we know that it resonates with a certain audience and that we should carry them forward to the next collection.
Coco Chanel said: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” How much has fashion design changed since the glory days of haute couture?
I think people are still wearing very uncomfortable clothes just because they look fashionable, and in my opinion it’s never going to change. “Fast Fashion” replaced haute couture. With the insane consumerism, people have hundreds of clothes in their wardrobes, instead of having one high quality piece which they love. I also went through this in my teenage years where I bought everything that I thought looked nice and I like, but I ended up not wearing them ever again, and just giving them away eventually. It’s hard to switch to only buying great quality and good clothes. I think there is actually no such thing as haute couture or prêt-à-porter. Fashion always comes up with new things for people to buy. That’s just fashion. You can label a lot of things as fashion.
How was your Paris experience? Why did you choose to start your brand in Hungary instead of France?
I don’t speak French, and that’s a pretty important point. But a lot of French brands are manufacturing in Hungary, because the rent and salaries are much lower compared to the ones in France. If I had started there, then most likely I would’ve had to find a job somewhere just to be able finance it. Honestly, I like to be in Budapest. I often yearn to go abroad, like how nice it’d be, but only for 1 or 2 months. I don’t want to move anywhere.
Is your collection targeting any specific market?
I always say, when you live in a country where half the population is starving then it’s hard to talk about why Hungarians don’t shop. They can’t, because they don’t even have enough to pay their bills, which is very sad. But if we just look a bit further, for instance to Austria, where the situation is more positive, there we can obviously talk about whether people choose local designers or “fast fashion”. Obviously there is still a group in Hungary too who can choose the young designers, but it’s such a small group that it’s insignificant. A lot of new designers are popping up, especially in the past 1-2 years. Each year around 50 fashion designers graduate from MOME and Krea combined, which is a lot for such a small market. Everyone is trying to target this same small group of people, so the competition is fierce. They all also try to target the tourists who visit Hungary. Almost every 6 months we have an “everything must go sale”, where you can buy stuff for as little as a few thousand Forints (~10-30 euros), to make sure that our clothes are affordable and available for everyone. Usually, 90% of our our customers are from abroad, and many shops from other countries order from us as well.
Your daughter is almost 3 years old. How much time do you spend together when you’re working? Are you thinking of making a children’s collection?
We live here in the house next to us, we moved here to set up our base. She is about to start going to nursery, because I must work and unfortunately I can’t play with legos all day long. My husband also works from home, so we can easily manage when and whom she goes to the playground with. From this point of view it’s a convenient situation.
I’ve thought of making a children’s collection, but at the moment I would be happy just to finish the collection we are currently working on now. There are always difficulties with the production. Either the material is not available, or the colour, or they can’t produce them, or there is a delay, or it’s just badly tailored and bad quality. With these continuous problems we can’t really focus on launching a children’s collection yet. So for now we would like to strengthen our base in the existing markets of Asia and Europe. Let people get to know the brand first and then we can open to new markets and new ventures.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ÁDÁM ERDÉSZ
TRANSLATED BY PATRIK DEÁK