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Red Delicious Night Designer Mateja Benedetti

Ciao Mateja, please introduce yourself.
I am a Slovenian fashion & costume designer. Prior to my fashion endeavour my career was focused predominantly on costume designs for theatres and opera houses. The love for fashion was reborn when I found a solution to do things with a higher value, because the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I love beauty in all forms. Fashion is just a medium through which my creativity can be expressed at its best and maximum potential. I am a visual person; I deeply understand how you transform a thought into a material form.

How would you describe your style?

I can't describe a personal style because it changes all the time, but I can describe the idea behind the apple leather collection: Most of the silhouettes are from the 50's, but the feeling is quite gothic. High elegance with a mystic power, for all types of women, because it is a strong dark style, very flexible for different characters. A coat in combination with a red evening dress works completely different than if combined with jeans. Even men will find something different to wear made of apple leather.

A question ahead: Do you like apples?
No. I like just two things about apples. The first one is the idea to be Eve's apple, to see the naked Adam from the apple's perspective and to understand why it happened to be an apple to have such an impact on Adam and Eve that the paradise was lost.
The second one is the apple leather: I am so grateful that I have the possibility to design a collection with this sustainable material made of waste from the food processing industry.

How important are ecological aspects for you and your work?
We live in a world that has to deal with huge challenges if we want to sustain a healthy environment in the future. The more knowledge you have, the more you are able to see how many possibilities we have to make our lovely planet compassionate, responsible and clean. I work with garments so I give it my best to make them as fair-trade as possible, as clean as possible, as natural as possible and as beautiful as possible, because this is how our future has to be.

You are working both in Haute Couture and Costume – what was your starting point in designing this collection and what influenced you?

Manfred Schweigkofler, the director that I work with for operas, called me and asked me if I'd be prepared to collaborate with him and Hannes Parth on a new material that is sustainable. First of all, I wanted to see this apple leather, to touch it and feel it, to get an idea what kind of forms I could develop. Manfred gave me the first visual suggestion which was the opera Don Carlo, which he did for the Finnish National Opera: A dark & blue gothic aesthetic. From there on I started my research about the trends for the spring-summer 2018, the colour research, silhouettes, photo-material with leather goods, aristocratic forms and different techniques. In the end I chose to use laser cutting techniques to make the fabric much lighter and to give an impression of a future cloth.

What is your concept behind the shapes you created, are they related to the “leitmotif” Apples and the “Red Delicious Night” where they will be shown at?
At »Red Delicious Night« we will collaborate with the SPISS Lingerie which is a very sexy combination. Vegan leather and underwear.
What do you think about apple leather as a fashion cloth and did you face any difficulties designing with the new material?
I think that this is one of the best solutions in leather goods, because first of all it's made from food waste, and recycling is one of the most sustainable ways to work. Moreover, the quality is good and the aesthetic is similar to animal leather. You can design it as leather and sew it as textile. You can make bags, shoes, dresses, jackets, skirts; In the future I would like to even create an apple leather T-shirt. If I compare the material with regular leather it's easier to work with and laser cut is one of the things that you can use in order to secure the material’s resistance, quality of the product and great overall condition.

Where can we see more of your work?
Please visit my website at

What are your next challenges and are you going to continue to work with apple leather?
Definitely I would like to design clothes and accessories with apple leather and combine looks with the sustainable brand Atelier Terra Urbana, that I am creating at the same time.
In the meantime I am still working for theatres and for my next opera Carmina Burana and Ksenija with Manfred Schweigkofler in 2017.

Mateja, thank you very much for the interview – Please greet our readers!

Thank you and your readers! It was a pleasure.