Martina Spetlova: Alchemy

Martina Spetlova, the Czech- born fashion designer, has an interesting tale to tell about her life, as she started off from Prague with a degree in Chemistry and has become an up–and-coming and very promising designer that has a unique and distinguished aesthetic when it comes to her designs. Like a modern day alchemist, she turns different textiles and materials into flamboyant garments in search of the covetable elixir of style.

  • How did you end up from chemistry to fashion? When did this affair start and when did you officially decide to enter the realm of fashion and become committed to it?

I came to London after completing my degree in chemistry in Prague. After a few years of odd jobs and traveling, a friend helped me  put a strong portfolio together and I applied for the BA course in Saint Martins.  After completing my BA course, I was offered a place to do my MA in 2010.


  • What fascinates you the most in the making of a garment? What is the most stressful and the most liberating moment for you during this process?

I love working with textiles and colours.  I spend a good deal of time researching before I start a collection, but my strongest ideas tend to evolve while I experiment in my studio. I am very hands-on and I am always testing and mixing the combinations and playing with various textures until I find the right ones.  Only then do I start working on my shapes. The organic process of creating my textiles is the most liberating moment; the most stressful part can be the deadlines.


  • Tell us a few things about the inspiration of your SS13 collection.

My collections are a work in progress and my new collections build up on the previous ones. For SS13, I have used the interwoven leather technique. The weaving was made with silk yarns, creating a graphic pattern on the jackets and matching culottes as well as silk pleated fan tops and trousers with laser cut details. Technique and texture are very important parts of my work and that is something I develop through lots and lots of sampling.

  • Seeing your collections, we find the outcome is so perfectly balanced in terms of color palette, fabrics and materials like a perfectly calculated chemical formula. This raises the question; does it emerge from pure instinct or perfect reason?

Both really. I have a gut feeling for which colours I like to use, but I also very carefully construct my pieces.


  • Is there any material that you would like to work with that you didn’t have the chance so far? What about combinations?

I still enjoy working with leather

  • What was the advice that was given to you that you wish to pass on to all aspiring fashion designers?

Actually it’s three. Build a good name, don’t compromise and be committed to doing  good work.

  • Can you describe the most relaxed time you had recently?

I have not had time off for a while but I am going to relax during my holiday (very soon).

 Interview: Vicky Florou