Locals: Kyiv workwear brand m0d44 by Syndicate co-founder Anton Abo

m0d44 is a project by co-founder and former art director of the Ukrainian brand Syndicate Anton Abo. Abo left Syndicate in April of this year, and the first m0d44 posts appeared on Instagram in the fall. The brand unveiled its debut workwear collection last week. DTF Magazine caught up with Anton to find out more about the new brand 

Tell us, how did the idea to create m0d44 come about? 

We created m0d44 in order to realize our desires and ideas. The idea of the project was born as a result of thinking about what you can do with the experience, opportunities and interest in the industry, being in Kyiv.

What does the brand name stand for? 

m0d44 is a compound of two notions: there are an abbreviation of the word module and the Kyiv telephone code. Module is a part and element of some system, and it is also a reference to technical aesthetics, which is close to us. We love Kyiv and wanted to emphasize that we are a Kyiv brand.

Why did you decide to focus on workwear?

It is interesting for us to see how professions are changing, how the world is changing. Some professions are becoming multidisciplinary, and some are disappearing altogether. We are trying to rethink this process, and not without irony.

Tell us about the philosophy of the brand. m0d44 is positioned not only as a brand, but also as a social project judging by the description on the website.

m0d44 is the result of a social experiment that continues in Ukraine. Industrial territory was here until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then the borders opened and Western music, movies, and fashion flooded into the country. It so happened that parents were workers, and children no longer want to work at a nuclear power plant. Creative professions are much more popular.

The uniqueness of the situation is that two worlds exist in the same territory. Industrial aesthetics, post-Soviet visual noise, Eastern European mess, Western trends mix with each other, mutate, simmer and spill out from East to West Europe now.

We’re more of a cultural project than a social one. We have a «Radio» section on our site with mixtapes from our friends, which include musicians, designers, and artists. And this section will be periodically updated. And we’ll also open a «Magazine» section, where we’ll talk about interesting Ukrainian projects soon.

You give several examples of dualism in Ukraine in m0d44’s description, such as industrial pollution and the pursuit of sustainability, corruption and social responsibility. Have work clothes also become a metaphor for your search for solutions to these problems?

In a sense, yes. Of course, clothes cannot solve these problems, but it is possible to broadcast certain ideas through clothes at the same time.

And you also use the quote «Not great, not terrible» in your description. It went viral this year — one of the characters in the «Chernobyl» series said it. Is that a coincidence or a kind of reference?

It’s not even a reference, but a meme because meme is the best way to communicate ideas right now. m0d44 is future workwear from Ukraine. The idea is read all over the world thanks to the meme.

How often do you plan new drops and what are their runs? Are the collections tied to the seasons?

We don’t want to be tied to seasons, although seasonal clothing will be present. We are working on a big collection, which we will release in parts.

What materials do you make your clothes from? And do you take materials in Ukraine or buy them abroad?

We order almost all fabrics and accessories from abroad. The three collections currently in production use 50% eco-friendly materials. All knitwear consists of dense organic cotton and we produce clothes from this very material within a month. We will offer recycled denim products in the spring. We also use recycled fabrics from Polartec and Econyl (they make recycled nylon fabrics. — Note from DTF Magazine).

A separate emphasis is placed on recycled clothing: the current collection used second hand clothing from the Italian and British military.

In general, we’re not so much talking about environmentalism as we are about consumer culture. It doesn’t matter if your clothes are eco-friendly or not, if the fashion industry pushes people to buy more often, thereby increasing the negative impact on the environment. That’s why we focus on the durability of clothing.

Where do you make your clothes?

We have a small experimental workshop in which we work off all the samples, as well as sewing runs of complex and recycled clothing. Everything else we sew at our partners in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

Where and from whom can people get m0d44 clothes? Will you be opening a showroom?

All the clothes can only be bought on our website for now. We have no plans to open a showroom.

Who or what were you inspired by when you created m0d44? What brands or artists were they?

We really like Ahluwalia, Phipps, Patagonia, Kiko Kostadinov if we talk about brands and designers. We like Martin Margiela and the way he has influenced the industry: he was one of the first to use recycled clothes in his collections.

Who is a member of the m0d44 team?

The main team consists of four people. We also have partners and friends who help us solve difficult tasks for us. Our team is divided into two departments: there are the creative department, which is responsible for design and marketing, and the production department, which is responsible for sourcing materials and sewing collections.

You said that you do not focus on the Ukrainian market. Why not? Your prices are oriented more to the Western buyer (from $115 to $675) judging by your website.

Indeed, we focus mainly on the foreign market. Initially we understood that clothes made of recycled materials will cost more and that interest in such clothes is much higher abroad than in Ukraine as a whole.

Are you planning collaborations with anyone or with other brands?

We’re already preparing several projects, but we’ll tell you about them in the new year.

Instagram m0d44 

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