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“Personalities among us” : interview with fashion journalist Arnoldas Remeika

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“Personalities among us” is the latest kARTu project that you will be seeing through the upcoming months for a whole year. We’ll be sharing short, friendly, intellectual conversations with the strong, inspiring personalities that surround each and every of us every day. Each month we will meet people from very different backgrounds to talk about their lifestyle, career, piece of mind, interests and style choices. By developing this project we aim to reveal these very special, but close to us people through the perspective that they don’t really see themsleves through. Every one of us is a unique everyday hero – rushing, pursuing, creating. We just need to stop for a moment and notice how special we actually are.

 

Arnoldas Remeika is one of the best known fashion business personalities in Lithuania. Journalist, author of a fashion blog “Bomberis” that got extremely popular in no time because of accurate and objective insights from the very first article. Arnoldas is also a former senior editor of “L’Officiel” fashion magazine franchise in Lithuania. His current focus is a unique event project “Suprasti Madą” that he is both organizer and speaker of. It seems that there are no challenges that Arnoldas couldn’t cope with. Cap it all, he also has great experience in working with international partnerships and sales and even has created a fashion collection called “OHMY x Bomberis“ with Lithuanian designer Ugne Martinaityte. Even being so versatile and having experiences in different fields of fashion Arnoldas says he still doesn’t know enough just yet so he never stops discovering it from different perspectives. The conversation we had was truly entertaining and leading to the various discussions about fashion business, future of Lithuanian design and definition of fashion – not an empty women whim but a complicated wolrdwide mechanism.

 

Tell us how do you start your day?

Recently it all started being quite the same as I got so many projects I’m working on at the moment few of them being big ones and the last two months were very intense for me. Usually my days are still quite alike actually. I wake up at 7AM, work till lunch, then go to the city having few meetings, exercise after and go back to my laptop. As I currently work from home it became my office yet the place I sleep and relax in – with the view to Antakalnis forests where I like to go and meditate with a cup of hot coffee sometimes. All social media channels are on and active till the moment I go to sleep as I work with people, fashion, media and events – I must always be at the very center of everything that’s happening otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this job. All days are intense except weekends when I can let myself get some rest, spend time with friends.

 

What was the start of your career like? Why and how you got interested in fashion?

The very start was when our family moved to the new apartment in one of Klaipeda’s crowded neighborhoods in year 1994. We’ve got cable TV for the first time and that’s when I got introduced to MTV channel. I always thought that the reason I chose to study English Philology and Literature was because I managed to easily learn English when watching MTV but today I got to realise that more than that I was influenced by the whole aesthetics I’ve been seeing. Prince. Michael Jackson, Madonna – I still love their style today. Twenty five years ago when I had to choose the direction of my studies nobody was even talking about something fashion related, everybody was studying medicine, economics, engineering and so on. When studying English I’ve slightly moved away from fashion but it never left me, even when working as a journalist for those long years I’ve always been related to fashion in one way or another. Whilst I was still living in Klaipeda I had my own little sewing atelier where we were tailoring bespoke orders for suits for about five years. There were ups and downs during that time but it was such a huge experience for a person who was only an observer, someone like me who admired fashion from afar. But after a well known actress Nelli Savichenko was wearing a costume made by us when walking down the red carpet of Cannes Film Festival I realised I can acutally say – I’ve achieved something. I was never a designer, more like a concept creator. However I’ve tried that role last year when creating winter season dedicated collection “OHMY X Bomberis” with Ugne Martinaityte. If talking generally my whole career has always been about fashion journalism, analysis as well as some sales experience which I gained when working with Lithuanian designer Julija Janus. I know fashion not from Google only but from fashion weeks, from the perspective of a designer, seller and businessman and I’m still trying to penetrate it from all other perspectives too. Even after so many years I still think I don’t know much about fashion. The more I work in this field the more sides I know nothing about appear to me.

 

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

I get up easily each morning because I feel responsible for other people, for my sponsors, consumers, those that are involved in projects with me. Sometimes I wake up early in the morning and already see list of “to do’s” in my head. I’m not afraid though, more pleased that I have something to do. Of course I do have those respites when I run to an absolutely different surroundings and delete “Messenger” app while waiting at an airport so I wouldn’t be tempted to answer any messages. Sometimes I wonder how great it would be just to grab one of the books that lay next to my bed, just relax and read, however, that never happens…

 

You mentioned that all your weekdays are mostly the same or very similar. Would you call it a routine? Do you sometimes feel like you want to run away from it?

Yes, I experience routine. Even when trying not to live such an intense lifestyle routine still appears and we sometimes feel the need to start doing things differently. But at this time I don’t feel any need to change something. As it is said, people tend to have some kind of “star hour” and I think that it is currently happening to me because I am working at the most entertaining projects, meeting many interesting people so I must take everything from it because one day it will come to an end.

What would be your prediction for the future of Lithuanian fashion?

Lithuanian design has a bright future of course but we do have too little time for summarizing it or making predictions. We all know how long we’ve been under the “iron cover” so nothing was really happening here. People do forget what Lithuanian design actually is but it’s no secret that during an interwar period it was thriving, especially in Kaunas city. But those few decades just erased everything and we needed to start from zero. We’re moving fast but only moving towards the worldwide recognition yet, world knows too little about us and we don’t show the world what we have as much as we should. Those very first attempts of brands and individual designers that dare go abroad and show what they work on are always successful. I wish that there would be even more of such in the future and our country would treat fashion design as a priority area. Because, for example, other areas of design such as packaging, product design are between priorities already but fashion, however, isn’t.

 

Which are the strongest sides Lithuanian design has in your opinion?

One of the strongest sides of our design is conceptuality. It’s very hard to describe what exactly Lithuanian design is about. One way or another we’re unique because on one hand we’re trying to be scandi minimalistic and “clean” but actually we also have other brands that demonstrate absolutely different identity and they’re great at it. I think we’re a very creative, talented nation, we do have gifted people around. Of course, manufacture is our strong side, we have a very well developed textile industry. It’s no secret that collections of the most famous brands in the world such as Victoria Beckham for example are being made in Lithuania. So we actually do have a possibility to make a great quality product. Wholesale representatives at the abroad expos are always happy to hear that some garment was made in Lithuania. It’s a quality guarantee for them and those brands that are already famous worldwide brought a good label for Lithuanian production. So I think us being a creative nation of calm introverted people we have enough possibilities to make a better product then a chit chatting extraverts from abroad.

What does the notion “career” mean to you? What place it holds in your own life?

I can’t answer this question objectively because I’m not sure I have a career myself. Many of us understand career as going up some stairs. But I don’t think I’m climbing anywhere. It just seems like I’m jumping in between projects and tasks. My career is an inner feeling that I’m improving with every task finished, every new experience gained. The last one that’s very new to me was a year of being a senior editor at “L’Officiel Lithuania” magazine. I had a few similar experiences through my life and they all lead me somewhere. If that’s a career then yes, it means a lot to me. I can be stronger in my competence than I was a year or two ago. But would I want a career where I would have to be a manager of this and that, to control particular processes? No, not at all. I like having interesting jobs but not necessarily those that hold a lot of responsibility. I can do a responsible job but only in that standard meaning, career to me is aims being reached, it is peace and balance. There are more important things in life than career aspirations.

 

What’s your opinion on evolution of men’s fashion in Lithuanian?

The evolution is definitely happening but not as quick as we would like it to. Because, unfortunately, more and more independent Lithuanian designers that had aspirations to create clothing lines for men of for men too are refusing to do so after all. Even more designers whose clothes I wear personally recently announced – collection is dedicated for women only this season. It’s hard to describe men segment in Lithuania and even if there are stylish men in the country they’re educated, travel a lot and shop abroad mostly. Sometimes we might think that fashion is, you know, so easy, simple, shallow, so blank that men shouldn’t even deal with these kind of things. When actually fashion is one of the most important industries in the world that generates around 3 trillion dollars per year which we could compare to an overall budget of country Lithuania which is only 9,5 milliard. Men and children fashion are the fast growing sections worldwide while women’s is slowing down a bit. Men’s beauty industry is one of the fastest growing sections, whole 10 percent up. Marketing specialists are trying their best so men would use more and more beauty products. There is some progress in Lithuania too, barber shops opening, men don’t feel so ashamed to take care of their appearance as they used to. Things are changing, but those changes aren’t drastic. However, young 25-27 aged men do have a fashionable selection to choose from that is offered by fast fashion retailers. But older men are quick to go into extremes, it’s either business suit or tracksuit for them, no middle kind of variant But I still have hope.

Do you have a detail from your look that you wouldn’t leave home without?
I have a weak will for shoes and perfume. I value good quality shoes which, unfortunately, aren’t always comfortable, but as the time passes I am trying to pay more attention to that too. And perfume is important just from the practical side as my everyday clothes are mostly black, I guess I am not spreading any joy with it so I wish that my identity would at least be remembered by the wonderful smell under one’s nose.

 

During your everyday rituals, what handbag/backpack is your most trusted companion leading you everywhere and anywhere?

I have three backpacks and a couple of handbags but now it’s not the time to wear handbags. Also I tend to wear a small waist bag for a couple years already. Actually as I like to have many things with me and when I leave the house I leave for a long period of time I usually bring big, traveling type of backpack with me. Other that I have is more of a business one – it fits my laptop, notebook and a water bottle. And the third one is harder to combine as it doesn’t really fit with the clothes I wear but I feel very sentimental about it as it’s an individually made gift.

Who’s your inspiration? Someone you deeply admire?
I think that there is no perfect people in this world but there are ones who deserve to be admired because of their actions, features. For me it would be: in politics – Angela Merkel, in pop culture – Lady Gaga, in sports – Serena Williams. I am not a tennis player myself but I love watching it. So I don’t have one and only person who I would call my ideal and I don’t think I should. Years ago when I was still working as a team member I had such great managers who were like mentors, teachers to me but I also had ones that I wouldn’t call so. I think it’s very important to have someone you could look up to at a workplace.

 

If you could invite anyone, who would you invite to have dinner together?

My first thought is – I only eat alone or in a company of very close friends so maybe I would rephrase this question to who I would like to have drinks with. Recently I’ve had an interview with Jeremy Scott from “Moschino” and I would love to meet him in person and talk about everything. Maybe it would also be some other active, aggressive, tone dictating current designers such as Alessandro Michele, Victoria Beckham or someone from senior editors of the fashion magazines I like – “Love”, “Dazed”, “Dansk” but not “Vogue”. And talking about dinner I was thinking there has been ages I didn’t spend quality time with my friends. So I would like to celebrate my birthday in a different way – to rent some villa in Italy or France and hold a big dinner with lots of food and drinks. Everybody would be on a holiday and would travel to see me there, we would be together till the early morning – with candles and music.

 

More about an event project “Suprasti Madą” that Arnoldas organises:  https://bomberis.com
Pictures by Ieva Rudzionyte
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