How Into Into uses fashion to get rid of "dark matter"
Into Into's MA Footwear collection from the London College of Fashion (see below) tells both a beautiful, but also damaging story. Inspired by the vulnerability of a heroin addict, Into's footwear depicts an addict's emotional and volatile daily struggles. The shoes reflect this instability by being extremely steep and almost impossible to walk in. However, this dark undertone is contrasted by the intricate design of the shoes. Using pig skin and polished silver metal, Into has beautifully handcrafted these shoes to become pieces of art. Here to speak about how the MA collection served as an emotional outlet for depression, is designer Into Into.
What type of person do you imagine wearing Into Into shoes?
It depends on which period of my creative timeline I am in. During my MA collection, I was going through a rough period in my life and was depressed. I felt lost. My collection mirrors my attempt to break out of the footwear system to show this side. So for me, the person wearing my shoes is a fragile person who feels equally damaged.
Is this wearer female?
Not necessarily. For that collection, I gave the items to a lot of people to try on, both male and female. The collection has nothing to do with gender. The wearer was just some sort of a damaged, fragile person who needed support.
Tell me the story behind your MA collection.
I was inspired by one of the only liquid metals known on earth, mercury. I was inspired by a shining liquid metal that could pass through the body. It was an allusion to a heroin addict, with the narcotics going through the veins and body and damaging it.
Your shoes are absolutely exquisite and contain very unique designs and patterns. Do you sometimes find it difficult to create such innovative shoes without compromising on comfort?
You can wear some of the shoes. But it's really hard to do. In my videos of the collection (see here), I have a man, who serves as the doctor, helping a girl, the heroin addict, walk. I needed this male character as he serves as both the bad character and the good guy at the same time. From her perspective, he is seen as a bad influence, as heroin addicts don't appreciate outside help. However, from the outside world, he is a positive influence as he is trying to help her recover. But this part is open to interpretation.
Which step was the most difficult in creating your collection?
The most difficult part was struggling with my depression.
Was the collection like a therapy for you?
Yes, you are right. I needed to rid my body of the dark matter by expressing it in an artistic way, which for me was fashion. The darker the stuff is that you create, the clearer you feel after. One of my favourite writers is Gabriel García Márquez and he was a really bright, light-hearted person, or at least it seemed that way. In all the images of him, he is smiling and seems to be enjoying life. But his creations and writings are so dark, and so my guess is that that's his dark matter. He uses it as a tool to rid himself of the dark thoughts. That's what creativity is for me, getting rid of the dark matter. I felt cleaner and clearer after my collection. So art definitely helped me. I didn't take medication to recover, it was art.
What did you do after you graduated LCF?
After I finished LCF, I moved back to Russia to start my own brand using my BA collection as inspiration. I had received my BA in footwear and accessories from Moscow State University and continued that collection which was mainly jewellery and bijoux. In the future I might do footwear again, but am not sure as I am currently not inspired in this area, but who knows.
Who inspires you?
In terms of people I know, I would say my good friend Carolin Holzhuber, also a fashion designer. She is an incredible designer and was a year above me at LCF.
Then in terms of musicians, I would say John Frusciante. His music is so inspirational. Since I was a teenager, I have been following his music. He used to be addicted to heroin, but has now rehabilitated. He has also gone through all these periods of darkness and has used his music to express it.
If you could change anything about fashion, what would it be?
I like this question, as I struggle with it daily. The answer would be fast fashion as it kills the artistic talent behind fashion. When you work on something for a long time that's difficult to make, it takes time and money. But if you have brands like Zara and H&M that mass produce clothes, people end up buying their clothes there instead of from other designers, and this takes away from the creative talent in fashion. I would like to educate my consumers to understand and appreciate smart design and intellectual art.