Meet Florencia Gómez de Salazar and Vivian Sulimovich, the dynamic duo behind new label, Zarvich. Based in Uruguay, Florencia and Vivian met while finishing their studies at ORT University. Since then, they have created a reputation of exquisitely interesting leather clothing and a penchant for ‘demi-couture’.

Zarvich’s debut collection was strongly received in Uruguay, winning the Lumina Award, which meant the designers had the opportunity to present at the recent FashionClash Festival held in Maastricht, Netherlands.

Florencia and Vivian share with us their experience of showing at the FashionClash Festival and the inspiration behind the Zarvich debut collection which took them there.

Image: Zarvich

FashionClash Festival is an international interdisciplinary platform for new generations of designers and artists. It connects talent from different fields and cultures with a wide audience, through fashion events and projects such as the annual FCF and the Forza Fashion House. For us, being able to participate in the experience as a whole was so enriching. The talent around us was world class and challenged us constantly to be better while also validating our efforts so far.

The theme for this year’s FashionClash Festival was, ‘Does Fashion Make Sense?’ We interpreted this to focus on senses and sensory experiences of fashion in a world that dominates visual communication. To us, fashion is a way to connect with the world and enhance a corporal experience – ideas that we explored in our debut collection, Fungi.

Fungi was inspired by questioning the relevance of current lifestyle status. We decided to emphasise the loss of the tactile sense (because of the increasing dominance of screens) and instead give our collection a strong sensory stamp, through textures that work in the bi-dimensional as well as in the tri-dimensional field. To transform these concepts into ideas, we looked to the fungi kingdom for aesthetic inspiration. Mushrooms, luchen and old helped to highlight the relationships between different materials: the bright, hairy and textured, and the smoothness-textured duality. At a morphological level, we tried to represent mushrooms through organic shapes.

And to transform our ideas into reality, we used boards, plies and flops to create volume while still emphasising the waist and upper body. We created unions between the layers of each piece with buttons and laces. As a demi-couture brand, our production processes are typically very arduous and involve several stages. We also like to combine technology, such as laser sketches and digital prints, with traditional work, like our handmade rhinestone embroidery. Our ultimate goal for ‘Fungi’ was to depict the empowerment of women through strong sensory details.

The FashionClash Festival was a profound educational experience for us as designers and also for Zarvich as a brand. We would love to be back next year to show the best version of our growth and creativity on the runway!