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Cirque du Style: Madomorpho's Carnival of Theatrical Fashion
NCO 052

N: Hi there! I'm happy to have this opportunity to chat with both of you, Emma Postma and Saga Peterson, the creative forces behind Madomorpho. Could you share with us the story of how you two met and what led you to collaborate on this exciting project?

M: We met during our fashion studies in Amsterdam and moved together to Berlin to study and work. Our first collection 'The Marionette' collection was the graduation work of Emma which we were able to do as a brand and collaborate together. Right after that collection, Emma moved back to Berlin and we began focusing on Madomorpho full time.

Berlin for us is a place focused on our future and our work together, both coming from abroad. As queer owners of this brand, it is also very important for us to be surrounded by the community, which is very strong in this city. We have a studio in Wedding, Berlin, where we spend almost every day working together with our intern, Julia.

N: I really admire how you both are unafraid to embrace dramatic flair in your work. As society gradually becomes more accepting, it seems that fashion is moving in a bolder, more daring direction. What are your thoughts on this trend?

M: An important aspect in our work and brand is to reintroduce the captivating storytelling element of 80s and 90s fashion shows, which we feel is missing in today's current shows mixed with our contemporary context and values.

Moving away from fast fashion and into the appreciation for fashion as an art and craft. We are so happy to see we are finally gaining appreciation for the more daring and extreme, and we think this trend will also lead to the care and acknowledgement for well-made and produced clothing, something we find extremely important for the lifetime of a garment and for it to not end up in a landfill.

N: Your designs showcase a strong influence of costume and theatre, yet you effortlessly translate these elements into contemporary fashion. Do either of you have a background in performance or theatre? What other art forms inspire your work, such as dance, music, theatre, or even circus acts?

M: We get driven and base our collections on strong themes and concepts. It's important for us that the theme really shines through our work in all aspects such as materials, models, garments, and photography. Right now, theatre, circus, and ballet have a strong influence on our work due to our last collection, the 'Marionette' collection. We gathered various materials such as antique objects, dead stock leather, old ballet shoes, and secondhand curtains and started designing from those. We research how garments were constructed through different times in history and bring certain elements back with unconventional twists. Bringing drama, couture, and fantasy back to the catwalk, to draw the audience into the world we create.

Our queerness and playfulness play a big part in every step of our work and inspiration, and we would say these are our main constant inspirations.

We want to stay ever-evolving and stay true to what inspires us in different moments of creating and not choose a topic that will dictate our brand forever, even though we’re sure there will be recurring aspects that will eventually create the essence of Madomorpho.

N: You both appear to be deeply rooted in the creative and cultural scenes of Berlin and Amsterdam. Who makes up your community of supporters? What do they do? Who are the people that embody the essence of "Madomorpho"?

M: As queer owners of this brand, it is also very important for us to be surrounded by the community, which is very strong in this city and back in Amsterdam. Working together with other creatives and lifting each other up. There is freedom in Berlin in design, bodies, gender, and also a strong drive for creatives to work together with little resources, there is the possibility to grow. We would say the people in Berlin and Amsterdam carry that spirit of being driven to create and work and collaborate with new creatives!

Most of our supporters on Instagram are based in the US and UK, which is amazing to have people far away appreciate what we do. We feel our supporters are young creatives who are aiming for a change in the fashion world and are very much involved in the trends and scene. We think it wasn’t so much like that before; it somehow seems it's less exclusive now due to social media.

All images courtesy of Madomorpho.
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