Ilium Journal

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Obscure Legends

Kostas Murkudis


Text by Giulia Bernardi
and Kostas Murkudis

I left real life in Milan for a while to spend some time on the road. Then one morning, I woke up in Berlin. My alarm was a text sent by Kostas Murkudis.

Who is Kostas Murkudis? First of all he's a myth for me. A legend who represents one of my favorite decades in terms of fashion: the 90s, but he's especially an artist and a fashion designer of contemporary culture.

I started following him during my years of studying, and it's such an honor to finally have the opportunity to meet him in person. Kostas Murkudis was born on the East side of Germany, in Dresden, from Greek parents. After spending his childhood in East Germany, he moved with his family to the capital. It was kind of a shock for him. Freedom is the key word regarding the impact that Berlin had on him.

Everything in the city seemed to encourage one to be free, honest, and an outsider, to push the limits. The music, the magazines, the youth, the underground world, all attracted his attention.

Murkudis began his career assisting Helmut Lang as his first design assistant during the period of 1986-1993.

After leaving Lang's label, in 1994, he founded his own brand comprised of menswear and womenswear lines. It's one of those labels which don’t aim to be commercial and produce saleable clothes. Kostas produces and designs fashion for the sake of doing it. His designs are innovative and look towards the future. Lately he's focusing on various youth movements, and all the kids who make up contemporary style.

His fashion is influenced by varied artistic disciplines and the use of structured and geometric forms. What is admirable about his work is how simple his clothes appear, clean and minimal, however, there's a complexity, a study and experimentation behind his designs. In a word, Kostas appeals to a niche market.

Text by Giulia Bernardi

Photo S. Lorenzo

A beige deconstructed dress by Kostas Murkudis
at the Museum of Costume and Fashion in Florence.

Are you afraid of change?

Not really.

What was the biggest one that you have had to confront in your life?

It was when my parents moved to West Berlin. It was quite a big step into the next chapter of my life. I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared and excited at the same time.

As you know, I’m Italian and as you’ve been creative director for Ter et Bantine and you lived in Italy for a while, is there something particularly Italian which has made a mark on your style or your way of working?

I like their enthusiasm and flexibility.

How do you balance commercial work and success with your creative vision?

Since I am working on different collections and collaborations at the same time, it allows me to identify the right amount of creativity and commercial impact without excluding or denying the vision or creativity.

What has been the hardest decision of your career so far?

To stop working on my own collection, between 2002 and 2004.

How do you use the internet for work? Do you look for inspiration online, or do you get more from something IRL?

The internet is useful when it comes to research and information in general. And it allows you to get in contact with people... I love it.

But when it comes to inspiration, I do prefer the old fashioned way: observing, getting inspired by curiosity, reality; through real people‚ their thoughts and interests. And art as a main reference point.
During the 90’s, you showed your collections during Paris Fashion Week and Mark Borthwick was there to document your show. As a kid from the 90’s can you explain to my generation what that period was like, the vibes, the fashion and especially the radical fashion? Are you nostalgic for the 90’s?

I am not nostalgic at all. Regarding the nineties: It was a bit naive, but at the same time full of energy, creativity in its rawest habit. The designers of that period did enjoy experimenting as much as they felt free to do so. They had their untold stories and visions to tell, to translate into a body of work.

What is the future for Kostas?

Surprise surprise.