gdm., by Alex Trajanov-Godmas, is a place for absolute creativity, sustainability, and freedom. He said, "It is not only the 1/1 handmade designs that make the brand unique, but also because the garments develop and fall apart over time with the wearer based on how they use it." Further, Alex is heavily inspired by punk and his time growing up listening to metal and punk music. He said, "To me punk, as a genre and a lifestyle, represents freedom to do what one likes, where perfection doesn't exist, because the raw, authentic you is already perfect enough."
Keep reading to learn more about the gdm. brand and the authentic and punk mind behind the resourceful and one-of-a-kind designs. You can check out gdm. at Art to Ware now!
KL: Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do? Where are you from? Etc.
ATG: Hey, I'm Alex! I'm a designer and an artist, and currently, I'm focused on adaptive reuse within fashion, interiors, and furniture.
I was born in Bratislava, Slovakia, a country in Eastern Europe. I've always been a designer but I actually started in architecture. I studied interior, furniture, and graphic design in Florence, Italy, then moved to the U.S. to study interior architecture at Rhode Island School of Design.
At RISD I found my first passion for “upcycling” in an architectural program that focused on adaptive reuse, which is a process of reusing an existing building for a purpose other than which it was originally built or designed for. Growing up in Slovakia I would constantly see spaces of historical value that were worn down and abandoned, which led me to start exploring these concepts.
The focus of my thesis project was about reimagining a traditional spa house in my birth city of Bratislava and repurposing it into a modern community center to bring people together. It was about preserving the old energy of the space as a community hub while remaking it into a communal art and design space that would help local artists by providing spaces for events and exhibitions. The interior has been treated with new materials that build on top of the old elements, such as plexiglass and resin, to honor the historical architecture.
I later continued this ethos of both reuse and repurposing and brought it into fashion.
KL: What is your brand? Tell me about its origins, what it stands for, and how it is one-of-a-kind.
ATG: My brand is called "gdm." which is a shortcut for my last name, Godmas, and I came up with it back in 2018 when I first visited New York City. Walking through the streets, seeing all the cracks in the roads and sidewalks, posters layered on top of each other, those were the things that inspired me to create something that embodied that energy and culture of the city through clothing.
My interest in fashion came from the need to stand out. It was always hard for me to find pieces that I would like and feel comfortable in, so I first started making clothes for myself as a form of self-expression. As I got further into my journey it became less about me and more about high-end art statements.
“Things have to fall apart before they come together.”
What makes my brand one of a kind is that I create 1/1 designs that are intentionally unfinished. It is not only the 1/1 handmade designs that make the brand unique, but also because the garments develop and fall apart over time with the wearer based on how they use it. The process of creating my pieces is rooted in deconstruction and reconstruction, meaning reusing the old (thrifted and reused materials) to create something new, one of a kind, and elevated - an art piece, a statement.
KL: What does “punk” mean to you and how do you use your idea of punk to create the art that you do?
ATG: I have always been a part of the street and punk scene, I was one of those kids that grew up listening to metal and punk bands, always hanging out at the skatepark. When moving to New York, it clicked for me, and I started channeling that into clothing.
To me punk, as a genre and a lifestyle, represents freedom to do what one likes, where perfection doesn't exist, because the raw, authentic you is already perfect enough.
KL: What drives you, inspires you, and pushes you to design?
ATG: I'm definitely inspired by a lot of major artists and fashion designers such as Virgil Abloh, Maison Margiela, and Heron Preston who explore similar ideas and concepts.
All of these designers broke the mold and reimagined what fashion could be through reuse, statement pieces, and out-of-the-box ideas. They broke the fashion industry as it is and introduced something new and fresh.
One of my main inspirations, Virgil Abloh would often bring attention and prestige to things that were historically undervalued or looked down on, such as t-shirts and construction materials, similarly to what I do through my work with the concept of upcycling - using the ordinary to create the unordinary and elevating it.
KL: What garments are your favorite to create? Why?
ATG: It would have to be my current collection, honestly all I’m currently working on. Whenever I’m working on a new collection I’m learning new techniques and pushing boundaries of what I’m capable of. I treat my fashion line as experiments, my favorite child is always the one I’m currently working on.
I call my most recent collection "BLEND", as the concept lies in combining multiple different pieces of clothing into one. I put my focus on more out-of-the-box ideas from offset pockets, to back pockets, random cutouts or zippers throughout the pieces. I like to play with materiality and contrast in the things I make.
KL: What does it mean to have your brand featured in Art to Ware?
ATG: I first heard of Art To Ware when I met Lesley about a year ago. Being a part of Art To Ware means my first physical footprint and presence for the brand where I am able to mingle with people in the streets of New York. Previously, it would be only me and my friends wearing them.
Art To Ware is aligned with my mission to embody energy and culture in NYC, and now it gives the brand a space to exist in. “gdm.” gets to sit in a community of other artists and talented designers, whereas a designer I am more connected to the art community in the city.
KL: What is your vision for the future of fashion?
ATG: My vision for the future of fashion definitely lies in sustainability. Fast fashion is not acceptable anymore and all brands are starting to move towards more sustainable ways of making clothing. I think upcycling and reuse is going to be a trend for years to come as it does not require new materials and reduces waste, leading fashion towards a more sustainable future.
On top of that, I see the future of fashion reaching into the individuality of others. Rather than fast fashion pieces for everyone, designers should help people bring out their originality and freedom to be the unique character that they are.
All photos courtesy of Alex Trajanov-Godmas.