Collabs and sustainability are the core of Marko Baković
Disrupting known standards within the footwear industry, MARKO BARKOVIĆ STUDIO COMBINES HUMAN CREATIVE CRAFTSMANSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY, and with that thought, the brand will leave its footprint on the fashion industry.
The Amsterdam-based shoemaker takes his creations as a constantly growing collection line up, so you'll find timeless designs and geometric forms everywhere in Marko's designs.
Through sharing a designer palette of materials and craft techniques, the brand's works are based on making its own designs but also personalized silhouettes for big brands like Paolina Russo, Charlotte Knowles & Barragán. When we talk about collaboration, we mean that this is a real goal for the brand: to incorporate substantial cooperation in its partnerships.
In order to make a positive difference in terms of sustainability in fashion, the brand, which has leather as its base material, seeks to minimize the contribution to this problem by proposing alternative ways of production, material use, and general use of resources.
We've chatted with Baković about the power of co-creation and more 'bout his life & career below.
Give us a backstory on where you are and how your location has influenced your journey into design.
I moved to Amsterdam — where I am currently living and working — when I was 16! I did my BA here, at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In 2017, I moved to London to do my master's in Footwear Design. There I met a lot of creatives and like-minded people and I did my first projects. It was here where I decided to set up my studio and formed my ideas about how to run it.
After my studies in London, I decided to move back to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, I had the chance to set up my studio in the city center, in a walking distance from my home. We have access to a complete shoemaking machine park, which comes with renting our studio space. It gave me the chance to invest in other machinery and tools to diversify my practice as much as possible. This combination is what led me back to Amsterdam, as it was very hard to find in London. But London will always have a special place in my heart!
As a designer, what brings your creations together? What's the common element among all your designs, like a signature style that u are building?
It is hard to say myself, as I work for very different clients! But I do hear often from people they think there is a red thread throughout all of my collaborative projects. I have a quite technical approach towards the construction of footwear, and like to push shapes and characteristic elements of the shoe to an extreme. I don’t like ‘decoration’ in the traditional sense of the word. Certain elements can become ornamental, but they always have a logical origin.
How does leather contribute to it?
"LEATHER IS MY PRIMARY RAW MATERIAL, LIKE CLAY IS FOR A SCULPTOR!"
Was there a turning point in your design journey?
Every project really is a turning point in some sense. I tend to take on projects that are always a little bit in over my head, because of their time constraints, or by using new materials, techniques and we have a lot to experiment and learn in a limited amount of time. It is my preferred way of working, as we learn so much in the process. It can be stressful, but it is never boring.
What's the next project we can expect to come our way?
We are doing two collections with new collaborators which I am very excited and proud of! As well as one collection with a returning client, which I am equally proud of and thankful for. Building relationships with brands that span over years is something I strive for.
Complete this sentence: One day I will…
Buy my dream home equipped with a grand sea view kitchen and adjacent herb garden.
Do you have a favorite piece that comes to mind right away?
I couldn’t possibly choose, all of the shoes we have done have contributed to our designer palette of materials, techniques, and craft. They are all different but in my mind exist in the same constantly growing collection line up.
What are your 6 greatest inspirations to create?
I like to ‘hack' existing machines. Meaning I like to use them in a way that is not the way they were intended. These can be all sorts of machines. From simple hand tools to knitting machines and 3D printers. I wish I could name a slew of interesting visual artists that inspire me, but in reality, my work is inspired by very dry and mechanical things.
Some of your work seems to have come out of a sci-fi story. What are your top 5 fave fictional characters?
Aeon Flux, Android 18 from DBZ, Motogo Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, Nathan Seymour from Tiger & Bunny, Nina Williams from Tekken.
Creation through experimentation is the least tedious process ever and, not by chance, the way that Marko chooses to work, by learning during the process and building stronger relationships with the labels the brand contributes with.
In other exclusive interviews, we've had a chat with the NYC designer behind the Pigeon SB, Jeff Staple, about his 24 years of sneakerhead and street style DNA.