Irina MarinescuFrom: Bucharest Born on: 21 April 1981 Occupation: Fashion Designer
In June 2018, Irina Marinescu enters for the 5th time in the swimming pool, fighting the waves produced by her own movement, for the children of the Învingem Autismul. (We defeat autism center). It was June 30, a sunny morning, which later turned into a cloudy one, leaving its coolness easy to install over Swimathon’s competitors.
She recalls, with a trembling of the body, the moment she entered into the water and how her muscles strained for a few seconds, longer than usual.
Then, after she starts the moves, she repeatedly hears a whizzing under the water, followed by the noise and the whistle from it’s surface. Although the route is completed by handing over the relay race, the fatigue is set.
Irina also had Matei, the only male teammate who succeed in breaking down the unwritten law of girls and becoming part of Cap Aurora. “He’s a miracle, he’s not just a boy,” explains Irina, about the child who has far outstripped the limitations of autism.
It is a beautiful, appreciated gesture, meant to be followed, but I didn’t choose to put the subject in the charitable light (although the reflector exists), but to draw an analogy. After two hours of listening to her words, I realized that this race resembles with her own life, which she lives with stubbornness, more and more assumed.
Born from an Austro-Hungarian mother and a dad with gypsy roots. I.M. followed a private English school, illegal at that time by her simple existence. Her grandmother took her every day at 9:30 a.m. on the Frumoasă Street and returned at 12:30 p.m. to take her home in Pantelimon. At the end of the street, the commune started from where the peasants came to the market with the fruit of their own work. The image of the woman who always brought milk bottles, enjoys her soul now. To this woman she gave at some point in time a small chicken received as a gift, once he became a hen on the balcony of his grandfather’s studio. They, the grandpaents, grew her up, even though the weekends and holidays were spent in Floreasca next to the mother, after the early separation of the parents.
In both areas was a park, the source of her bruises.
One had a huge, narrow, stone slide on which she slipped easily, being a child, but also at 20+ years old. Now it’s old, it’s blunt, many steps of the stone giant are missing, beeing forbidden for kids just for these safety reasons.
The other, to be in line with the name of the neighborhood, had a lavender field in the center.
She was clumsy, so she learned to ride a bicycle at the age of 30, with his own child, Luca. Not anyway, but directly on the heels, with the seat low enough to touch the ground with the feet, without human support, and exposure to traffic. She threw herself into this, as she plunged into the pool.
Photo: Eugen Demeterch
I don’t believe in the idea that “blood is thicker than water”.
I had a normal childhood, but I felt dramatic my parents separation, and somehow, in time, was formed the theory that the things which highlights the character of a human have an emotional core rather than an environmental one.
My vision of the term “family” is less conventional. My mother remarried twice. I have a child with a man that is no longer my partner. Now I’m with someone else, and even if we don’t form a traditional family, „home” is Andrei and my son, Luca, who also has a sister from his father. I don’t believe in the idea that blood is thicker than water, but I’m convinced that the strongest connections are born contextually, based on common emotions and interests, on things that you feel the same.
The family is not a pattern.
But, no matter how unconventional the family in which you are born is, no matter how harmonized or not it is, we grow with an expectation in our subconscious, the expectation to be validated, to be seen by our parents, and often, no matter how far we go, things seems less valuable without theirs support. It’s not so much different when it comes to consolation or difficult moments in life. With my mother I always had a delicate and sometimes difficult relationship, but it’s unimaginable the force of her words: “it will all be ok”. Many of our generations have been raised with guilt, without understanding the natural course of things and the fact that the parent-child cycle isn’t reversible, but irreversible. The child mustn’t give to the parent, but the parent gives to the child, so that the child can one day pass on to his own child. My generation still have the guilt and reminiscence of this mentality. I’m not talking about nonempty or indifference, but about sacrifice. Because there is a difference between not caring and feeling guilty about your choices or the way you build your life, according to the patterns drawn by your parents.
I taught Luca to fight for his beliefs
I have always kept myself away from the temptation to hide the “misery” under carpet and to create cardboard realities. I tried to look for balance and love without projecting. Although, it takes time and a lot of exercise, falling and getting hurt, to understand that you don’t have to project in people what you want them to be, but to love them for what they are or to leave. There are couple relationships that dies from birth, because both partners jump out from the cake, they bring balloons and after a few months they wake up each other with a person who has nothing to do with the one from the beginning. It takes a lot of practice, courage and acceptance to discover yourself exactly as you are.
I have always tried to teach Luca love, for herself and for others; I always tell him to listen to his intuition, to learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness: to say what hurts him and to tell me when and what I’m wrong with, without letting time pass. Perhaps, sometimes, it seems difficult to forgive or to ask for forgiveness, but these are the two essential things that heal the soul. My child is more complex than I was and is living into completely different times, when the level of exposure and information is huge. Freedom of speech is greater, and also the ease with which the gesture of communication is made. But, I often struggle with the preconceptions and judgment of his colleagues, educated by parents with the same wrong mentality. Luca grew up in an environment where nothing was exposed to judgment. I didn’t lie to him and didn’t invent stories about my gay friends, I didn’t protect him and I learned him to not label people, yet he lives with fear of shame. There are boys for whom the confirmation of the beauty of another boy or man is like being gay and, obviously, this is a bad thing.
I taught him to fight for his own principles, to defend those who were judged or marginalized, just as I did. And yes, I assume he will come up with a broken lip, that he will fight at school because I don’t know who used the word gay. I taught him to militate for his beliefs, although it’s not easy at the age of 13, when there is a need for confirmation, leadership, rebelliousness and the need to be “on top.”
Photo: Personal archive
I love people
One of the things that guided me through life since I was a little girl, was the expression “Have a clean conscience.“, carefully repeated by my loved and lovely father who grew me up. I have always tried to be fair and to do things without having them on my consciousness.
Daniela Groza has named her charity brand “be kind for real”, and it seems to me a perfect motto, but especially a perfect lifestyle. I think that kindness and empathy aren’t meant for show-off or for PR agenda, but natural things that you do because you feel them and no doubt it will bring you back also good. I love people.
It’s much easier for me to do good than harm, it’s easier for me to be fair or honest than to pretend to be someone else, just to get something. My mother always tells me that I’m very transparent when I don’t like something or someone. “You’re terribly unpleasant“, she says. It is true that I learned to assume my sentiments and I try not to conform to the labels. If I feel I’m not where or with who I need, it’s easier to go away. I don’t do things in which I don’t believe, or I’m trying to do fewer. I can neither lie nor pretend.
Maternity doesn’t necessarily turn you into a woman.
There are many slogans that include the word “woman” and which raises it to an exaggerated level. “Being a woman means that or the other” or “A woman never does that.”. It’s not that simple and it’s relative. For some of us, femininity is something we are born with, for others it is non-existent, others never mature and they remains the eternal ladies. It’s true that I felt something changing in me at the age of 30 years old, but I think it’s all related to what I’ve lived, with everything I’ve ever felt and learned, and if some features or gestures have appeared, they’ve naturally appeared.
Mr. Djuvara quoting a philosopher, wrote in 444 memorable fragments book: “Keysering Hermann Graf, a German philosopher who was in trends in the ’20s and’ 30s, said that people have one age for all theirs life. It’s a smart thing, no? Maybe exaggerated, but, look, I think about me that I’ve always had 26 years old … My mental age is still there, at 99, I’m 26 years old. It’s a matter of character the youth and I’ve kept my youth foolishness… That’s how we are. Some are aging young, others remain childish. Some may be too childish.”
I thought about myself I was 27 years old. Andrei, my partner, thinks I stayed at 6. It’s true that I never felt an adult. As he tells me, and it’s not that he convinces me, but that I realize that I don’t feel like an adult. There are people of my age who take themselves very seriously and towards whom I feel like a child, because I don’t take myself very seriously. I don’t behave like a child but there are many gestures that betray my emotional age. I easily enter into the children’s play, I get dirty on my hands with ease and I climb the same way. I now remember a childhood moment in the park near the place I grew up. There was a tree with a precise climbing path. One morning I climbed into it and at the end of the circuit I get stocked in a branch. I stayed there for an hour, I guess, and I waited until somebody passed by to help me. There are a lot of times when I borrow something from that episode, when I fell that child’s clumsiness.
With Luca the report is relatively similar. When he was very young, I was playing with him, acting according to his mind, and I still have many moments in which I don’t behave as a serious adult who forgot to play. I’m adult only when he has to eat at the right hours, do his homework, order or when he has to be home at a more or less certain hour. Maternity doesn’t necessarily turn you into a woman. There are women that by looking at them a little, you understand that there is hardly any trace of the child of the past, that femininity or grace, maturity and self-security are natural, never built or forced.
I believe that somewhere I have maintained the relationship with my inner child, that I have cultivated it and that I have delegated my child to be responsible for play, intuition, sincerity and the way I enjoy or I suffer. I think I will not grow up anymore, not in this sense. Enough things have already happened to me in order to become an adult and yet I don’t feel like one. Or I’m one, but one who refused to take his inner child to bed.
Photo: Andrei Runcanu
For many people, I may seem mannerist
The way we dress up is a consequence of the way in which we are, of the education we have received, of our social affiliation. I don’t believe and never believed in the phrase “Clothes make the man” because you cannot put on you through clothes what you didn’t receive through education. When the personal style becomes the consequence of what you are and when the way you dress up is strictly for your joy, then it becomes authentic. When you feel good in your skin, it can be seen and felt by outside, and the energy around you is different. There’s a kind of relaxation when you like, you first of all, what you see, no matter how much it is or how less. I believe the best in the projection in the mirror, stronger than what others say or think about my aesthetics. That’s what I do, I dress for myself. For many people, I may seem mannerist. There are changes in my own style, but not so much. Now I wear high-heeled jeans but for a long time I didn’t see myself wearing them. I never wore flats. Now I wear it, even though it’s not the easiest thing to totally disable my height-related adolescent frustration.
You cannot create a new product every day
I think there is an artist in every designer. You cannot practice this profession only technically. Without dreaming, without searching, you cannot put the message you want to transmit into the clothes. It is related to emotions and how you choose to present them. Holds on vanity, on the need to be in the spot, on the applause that any person with a profession that requires spectators needs.
If I had to list technically what you need? Oh, you need a lot: intuition, talent, aesthetic sense, inspiration, the ability to sketch out the product from your mind, materials knowledge, you need to move fast enough with everything that’s going on. I cannot transform this job into a marathon. Things happen at an enormous speed, and if you are a creative artist in the industry, it is very difficult to face it, and the interview of Raf Simons, which impressed me a lot support it. Raf said that one of the main reasons for his resignation was the fact that the 4 creative teams he had under his control had become insufficient for all the annual collections. You cannot be creative under the pressure of time. Each collection is the consequence of some moods, emotional changes, over-passing some barriers. In order to materialize all this, it takes time, analysis and fermentation. Natural quests appear: you begin to read, search for contexts, sketch, search for and befriend with the fabrics, you listen, notice, make other sketches, and then modify them as well.
When you switch to production, things happen to change again, because the volume or chromatic changes. You cannot create a new product every day, because you don’t go every day through all these feelings. And that’s one of the reasons why I don’t resonate with what’s happening in fashion now. The higher the speed of the industry, the stronger my brakes are. I have come to appreciate all that is classic, with history, created with soul. I assume I cannot push my limits. That I cannot give up, aesthetically, at some things. If I come back to me, 5 years ago, the changes are minor. There are variations on the core, but it doesn’t change altogether. My aesthetics comes from what I’ve read, from what I’ve seen, from what I’ve lived, from education, and I cannot change my education. How to change my appetite for a certain type of books, music, or film. I just can’t.
Photo: Andrei Runcanu
The buying system is non-existent
The fashion industry can be a serious source of income in Romania, with the amendment that you need to have business skills. One of the mistakes made by educational institutions in the country, from my point of view, is the lack of marketing courses. You need to know how to put your product in the market, who your customer is, how he works and what he wants.
A big problem is the lack of buyers. The purchasing system is inexistent in our country. As long as we continue to operate in a consignment system, things will not be able to evolve in the right direction.
Investing in a prototype collection is never cheap, and for production you need another investment, which if you don’t cover it from the beginning and then reach the customer in a consignment system, it is not sold, the gain is a dead stock and “out of season”
A buyer takes the collection and knows exactly what to do with it, he knows his client – whether he is a buyer or a boutique owner, knows who and how much buys from him and takes risks towards the stock.
I am not, or at least until now, I wasn’t a good business person, but, rather a poetry one. For me, the attempt to combine them was a terrible emotional consumption. I made great compromises and sacrifices so that I could do them both until I realized that I wanted to stick with poetry and that poetry I could write at any time. Nobody can take your inspiration. Nor dreams, nor reveries, nor creativity.
Irina does a lot of things: costume for the film (Child’s Position), advertising – spots produced in Romania for abroad names, her own collections, occasional styling and maintenance of the vintage store, Babaluna. And now, to this melange joins the new child, baptized after the name of a Romanian seaside resort, Cap Aurora. It started with the Swimathon t-shirts every year and is growing slightly to enter in the Romanian market, especially online, where the project will have its own home – a current under construction website. Cap Aurora products can be found on Instagram and ordered by message.
Foto: Andrei Runcanu