Neli Mitewa

Ideas to wear
This book follows the process in the search for a personal identity in Bulgarian fashion design through the three conceptual exhibition projects of IVAN ASEN 22: XXSOFIA, 1.5 KM OF…, and STATIONS. The garment is seen as a specific connection of the individual with its environment (“XXSOFIA”), as a visual commentary on the concept of “distance”, its duration, length or transience (“1.5 km of …”) or as interpretation of the global trend multilocalism through the study of our identity created through the experience collected by living in different parts of the world (“STATIONS”).
Conceptual fashion as an expression of personal ideas – visual commentaries on the themes that excite us. Fashion sculptures that stimulate the intellect; clothing made from fabric, but approaching the means and meaning of architecture. Stable forms, but with the potential for movement built into them. Moveable immobilities.
Materials with a message.
Form as experiment.
The focus is on conceptual fashion:
Fashion with a position, social content, and meaning.

Since 2015, IVAN ASEN 22 has worked with a select circle of designers on conceptual artistic projects, approaching contemporary fashion design in the context of contemporary art. The designs/sculptures are developed on a curatorial concept, with a theme touching on important social trends, and are presented in a museum space in the format of thematical spatial installations, complemented by a fashion film. Contemporary artists from the spheres of cinematography, photography, and spatial design are involved in these large-scale interdisciplinary projects, along with actors, directors, and musicians.

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The central theme of travel and shaping our identity in relation to the various places in which we reside, on which designers’ concepts are built to develop their conceptual models, is especially relevant in times when the freedom to find ourselves in a new place or to venture excitingly far away travel is limited. The decision was to include the first three conceptual projects, XXSOFIA, 1.5 km… and STATIONS, gravitating around the theme of travel and thematically united by it. The three exhibitions had already accumulated an immense substantial and visual archive, as they were presented at a number of national and international forums. Along with the texts for the specific exhibitions, authors such as Maria Vasileva, Prof. Ivaylo Dichev, Maria Kassimova-Moisset and Emil Hristov wrote texts related to the themes of the exhibitions. The premiere presentation of the book took place on 11.11.2022 in STRUCTURA gallery in Sofia.

In Bulgaria, until now, there is a lack of publications that document comtemporary fashion design. Creating our own currents is the goal of our conceptual projects. It is time to pay attention to such an activity aimed at building own identity in Bulgarian fashion design, as well as to the archiving these projects through their presentation in a book that reaches an even wider and international audience. Publishing the book in English (IDEAS TO WEAR – conceptual Bulgarian fashion design) will certainly also contribute to this.

The purpose of the book is to show how fully authored conceptual fashion design leads to a greater concentration on the content of the value design than on its shiny shell. To paying attention to the sustainability of conceptual design works that are an expression of ideas and therefore with a much longer validity period.

The author of the book is Neli Miteva, creator, artistic director of “Ivan Asen 22” conceptual designers´ platform and curator of the conceptual fashion projects. Neli has graduated in fashion design in Germany. She works as designer of her own and joint collections, as well as creator of costumes for theater and dance performances. She also teaches and writes about fashion. Her latest significant award is the INSPIRATIONAL-VISIONARY AWARD for her achievements in the development of the Southeast European design scene by the Center for Creative Economics of Southeast Europe in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The layout of the book is a work of Albena Limoni, who graduated in illustration at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, after which he specialized in Gent, Belgium. Albena is one of the most active illustrators and designers of printed materials in our country, with interest in the field of typography. She created book covers for a number of publishers, and in 2019 her illustrations for the book “Mithical Songs. Bulgarian Folk Creativity” of Erove Publishing participated in the Illustration Biennial in Bratislava. In 2019, together with the graphic designer and caligraph Kostadin Kokalanov, she created an own design studio “Frank”, working in the field of paper, illustration and creation of graphic identity.