Meet Jivomir Domoustchiev, the designer responsible for creating fantasy-inducing pieces of PVC armour. Domoustchiev’s designs have the alchemic ability to transform the wearer into a heightened version of themselves, although it takes a strong character to pull them off.
You’re originally from Bulgaria, when did you move to London?
I moved to London in the mid 80s as a very young, wide-eyed boy.
After studying fashion design, you worked as a stylist, creative director, and editor, what brings you back to designing and how do you think your experience in other branches of the industry ties into your vision?
I have always done some form of design. Whilst I was still at college, I started as an assistant designer for a small brand that had a concession in the old Hyper Hyper. I wonder if anybody still remembers that store? Later on, I often created one-off items for shoots or shows and I did a lot of customising over the years. I love and have always loved both styling and design. To me, they’re almost the same thing; exploring ideas and trying to see things differently to the way they are presented to you. In styling you have an idea and you expand upon it, attempting to portray something in a fresh way. I think visionary stylists have a lot of power to influence the world because there’s always something to strive for, which I think is exciting. With design, it’s something within that pushes you to express, explore and to keep trying new ideas. This year I haven’t had much sleep or really any time off at all – why else would you put your body through that if you didn’t love exploring what you can create.
Usually in bondage, those that are tied up take the submissive role – why do you think bondage and kink references can actually empower the wearer?
If you are bold enough to wear one of my looks, especially head to toe, you have a lot of confidence. Standing out and looking different to your surroundings takes a lot of inner strength. I have witnessed many people trying my outfits on and at first, when they see them on the rail they are very dubious. When they get around to trying the outfit on, you can see it on their face, a confidence beginning to emerge and they quickly become OK with looking completely different to the world around them. There are many people who thrive on this, wanting to be the centre of attention because that’s how they feel strong. And that is the empowerment factor. Looking at people who are obsessed with popularity, especially on social media, you see that many just strive to be noticed. It’s a wonderful thing when someone wants to try new things, express and inspire but maybe I’m being too romantic with this notion.
BDSM references and elements can be seen all over the industry, season after season, what do you think is it about sex that still grips people’s attention, especially in today’s desensitised society?
As much as I agree that society is desensitised, sex still sells and forever captures people’s attention. Returning to the notion of wanting to stand out and be seen, you see that the majority of ‘instafamous’ people have reached stratospheric followings due to portraying themselves as overtly sexual beings. It doesn’t just come down to luck…
How does your collection attempt to foresee the future?
By challenging the notion of what an outfit is. For instance, a top, a skirt, a shirt, etcetera. It’s just my vision of what I would like the future to be. We should remember that if something is presented the right way it can become mainstream very easily. A lot of industrial, automotive designers and architects try to foresee the future by always exploring new ideas, materials, ways of doing something. I too am exploring.
Your online shop only sells the accessories. Are the full looks not purchasable?
Yes the full looks are available, there is a bespoke section on the website where all of it is available to order, they just take longer to make. I have also done a lot of private commissions which I can never show. I have been doing a lot of collaborative work lately, the results of which will soon be published. Many pieces differ from my press collection but they are available to purchase upon request.
Specifically for the online store, I wanted to do a more easily accessible, diffused version of my main press collection. Something fun that can be easily mixed with other outfits. Having been involved in this industry for so long, I am fully aware that while designers do these incredible shows which gain a lot of press, the majority of sales come in small collectable pieces; items which make you feel part of a brand. I’m intending on releasing a series of limited edition colours, for collectors, and of course we all need to sell in order to fund future self expression.
Describe the essence of the Jivomir Domoustchiev woman.
Ladies who challenge normality and pioneer self expression. Those who are not afraid of how the surrounding world views them. Individuals who are into bold sculptural design, collectors and magpies attracted to pretty things.