Interview with DMV: Denisse M Vera

A few weeks ago I headed over to #Crosssection, a sporadic designer market held at Angel Place, Sydney to finally meet Denisse M Vera, the designer behind the label DMV.

I first 'discovered' DMV at the UTS: Future of Fashion Graduate Show last year, thanks to her unique and detailed use of macrame technique where she hand knots the fabric. Needless to say, it takes her awhile. She learnt the technique from "an artisan in a desert but I’ve contemporised it."

DMV is a made to measure label with Denisse actually making each piece herself by hand - so better place your order in quick before she comes to her senses! She describes her label as "Intricate, story-telling, classic yet eclectic, and timeless."

We talked about her graduate collection, life after studying and her hopes for the future.

DMV Denisse M Vera Macrame Collection Crosssection
What can you tell us about your current collection, Unidentified Lines?

It all came from a trip that I embarked on to South America and it was there where I was truly inspired by a site called the ‘Nazca Lines’ (in Peru) which are very large scale geoglyphs which are huge lines, they don’t actually know how these lines were created  there are 2 theories;
  • The main theory is that it is created by extra terrestrial life so that’s a bit of an abstract view.
  • But then there’s also the ancient view that the ancient Nazca people created  the lines.
So that is what my whole collection is based on that contrast. So the ancient macrame that I use in my pieces is all about this ancient mythology versus the digital printing on the draped pieces and that references the technological and new age side of it.

DMV the ladida Nasca Lines Inspiration Peru Denisse M Vera

Why did you choose using the technique of macrame?

For my final collection I really wanted to do something that has never been done before. I wanted to test the limits, and I really think that I did. It is very intricate and painstaking work with my hands. But when you see the final products it is all worth it. I love my products because it has meaning it is not just a garment.

DMV the ladida Nasca Lines Inspiration Denisse M Vera
How long did it take for you to make the shorts? I picked the piece with the smallest amount of material used.

I approximate the shorts at 12 hours. It probably would be more though. Roughly 12 hours, but that’s non-stop work.

DMV Crosssection
Have you considered making a Ready to Wear collection?

Yes. Unidentified Lines is my first collection and it is very full on so I’m going to see how it goes. If it does not work out because of the long hours of work I will go down another track.

Do you see yourself using macrame in your future designs?

I think I will. But possibly attack it in a different way. Maybe use a more delicate material, the knots more open with a silk or something it looks more like crochet and it’s lighter weight.

Which piece is the most difficult to make?

The long pants because there is so much knotting involved and it is done around the leg mannequin so getting the crotch area is really quite difficult. So definitely the pants, I haven’t had a pants order yet so I am happy about that but if one were to come along I would tackle it!

DMV Crosssection Angel Place
You have worked as a fit model – when it comes to your own designs who do you use?

I fit it straight onto my dummy which is a size 10 and I am a standard size 10 fit model and try it on as I go but for this collection I had a muse that worked with me a model that I met last year and she was really my fit model throughout the whole collection process.

For those who don’t know much about fit models (like me!) what does it involve?

I am lucky that I don’t fluctuate in weight at all. You get booked into a job at a label, and they have fitting sessions and you try on every style, it is really fast paced. You have to be really outspoken on how the garment feels.

Just saw an ad, I measured myself and I was the perfect measurements for that job. I got the job, it was with Wish. So I worked as their fit model for awhile, but then I got an agent.

Do you have anything planned for AW 2013

At this stage I am still pushing through with this current collection. But I do have it on my mind all the time, just thinking of ideas, doing little sketches. I think what I will do is a yearly trans-seasonal collection as opposed to 2 seasonal collections, that would work better for me since the garments are so time consuming.

What do you have planned for the year?

I would like to possibly do the markets again, because it is really great to get yourself out there amongst the clientele.

I am also going to WA for Urban Couture which is a big event over there where they are really craving more fashion. They are really thriving for new designers, I have already have many clients from WA so I am seeing that that would be a good market to pursue. I will be showing my collection on 2 occasions in March so hopefully that will work to my advantage.

Since the Graduate Fashion Show and life after studying – what has it involved?

It’s been a lot of decision making.

I’ve had to decide if I do want to push on with DMV because of how things have flowed I have stuck with it to this point but I still am open to working within a design room if a good role were to come up but at this point in time I am very happy pushing on with DMV.
DMV Steven Khalil

Which label would you drop DMV to work with?

Internationally, it would be Oscar Del La Renta because I adore him and his principles. I realised from what I’ve read that he has set up a really good atmosphere and working environment, his work is amazing.

Nationally, I have been in contact with Steven Khalil, he is a bridal designer but he also creates runway garments for celebrities. He has been a big mentor for me and I think that I would love to work for him.  But he only employs people with 10 years experience.

What has been the biggest accomplishment so far as a designer?

I have a fabulous supporter of DMV who is the Sydney Fashion Blogger and that has been a big thing.
She really prompted my orders to start going because she wore my garments and that was really an exciting thing, as soon as she posted an image wearing my garments I started getting emails straight away.

Sydney Fashion Blogger Wearing DMV theladida

What do you hope to happen this year?

This year my ideal would be to continue working on DMV and really stabilising it, getting it out there and continue making orders. I would really love to continue learning, I would love to be working part-time within a design studio. Even though I am really confident with my work, I know I can expand my knowledge base.

I love geekery, so what would be your guilty pleasure?

I a big action woman.

I am a bit of adventure buff, I have scars on my body from accidents. My main scar that I love is from when I fell off my bike, when bike riding on Death Row in Bolivia.

What’s on the 'action woman' list?

I really want to go on a Safari in Africa, I would love to get as close to these amazing animals as I can. 

DMV Macrame Necklace Crosssection

You can find more about DMV here and place an order by contacting denisse.m.vera(AT)

You can connect with DMV on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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