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  • Writer's pictureHakan Öztunalı

I Am Everything You Can't Control w/ Volihe

''I am everything you can't control.'' These words belong to Dace AKA Volihe. Latvian Dark visual artist and fashion designer. Founded her label SVALBON in 2014, Riga, Latvia.

Volihe holds a wonderful archive of her imagery made by various photo manipulation techniques. Dedicated heart and soul, focused on refining her hidden depths and nature. Long story short...

(Courtesy of Volihe)

I read one of your blog articles and realized that you are reconnecting with everything you had experienced in life to recreate them once more or to unlock new chambers of your freedom. We learn many things by heart, but no questioning - no examination. Isn’t it disappointing to see that most of us live our lives not in a full potential and we miss many opportunities to understand how to control, hold and release our emotions and aspirations?

Volihe: I would say - it’s sad. Not disappointing, cause disappointment means judgment. And to let people be who they are with all of their flaws is one more aspect of freedom. To judge means to expect- you can show your ways, you can show the ‘’path’’ but you can’t expect they will follow.

We are taught to think in black and white, the polar opposites. If we speak about emotions- same with them. There are ‘’black’’ and ‘’white’’ emotions, right and wrong. We suppress, ignore the black ones and glorify the white ones for so long we don’t even know ourselves anymore, cause let’s be real- we are gray. We are a mix of white and black.

How can we talk about living with full potential if we are splitting ourselves in two. We are never one, whole, we keep these two in disbalance. And if the black pops up we don’t know what to do with this energy, we don’t know how to balance or transform it. We are so busy trying to hide it, we are so afraid of it like death. We fear this ‘’death’’ so much we start to fear living as well. And if you fear death more than you crave living there is no room for fulfillment cause fear takes up all space.

I would say BALANCE is the key. Between white and black, fear and bravery.

(Courtesy of Volihe)

How did your journey begin, as a visual artist?

Volihe: I would say at the moment when I started to realize myself as an individual. At a young age. I have loved fashion and dark arts since childhood, I didn’t have a camera but I already sketched dark scenes with deep backstories, now I do the same just with camera.

But my real journey started at the point when I decided – I don’t care anymore what others think ( I created basic stuff for a while), and let my demons out to play. Showed my ugly, dirty face, how society would say.

At that moment I lost a lot of people around me from my past when I was a normal crumb of society (boring and dry ones) and started to gather around me people like me but at same time very different from me, feeling is like your alone in this but you don’t feel alone, if that makes sense.

‘’And my room, once full of people, is now almost empty, last ones were closing doors and windows as well. But I didn’t feel anything.’’ These are your sentences that articulate a mixture of anger and happiness. What I experienced by chatting with skillful people, they state that;

They lose their connection with former friends and they open a new room for new friends who are capable of praising you. The standpoint I am trying to express is that you were actually seeking for authentic and positive people around you who can embrace you by who you truly are. That clarifies your concerns about looking for a good friendship to attach with, because you wish to live your life with your full energy and ready to share with others. What are your thoughts?

Volihe: Yeah, I felt so alone in a room full of people at some point I even didn’t get bothered if I lost someone, cause there wasn’t anything real there. But luckily I still have two best friends from that time and it’s because we managed to grow together. I think it’s because we three communicate on the same level.

And, for women friendship, we don’t see each other as threat or competition but as someone we can learn from and help to learn from us. It's an honest exchange of energies on the same level. We, as individuals, are very different but in any form I crave authenticity. Honesty. When you start to protect your energy you become very picky about people.

You just can’t interact with fake people anymore. Some say it’s a curse sometimes but I say it’s a blessing. You just stop throwing your energy in every direction, in different leveled people or things by losing it. You channel energy in the same level and get it back in the same level when at some point you have so much energy in this level you can reach the next one.

About your fashion label SVALBON, can you name two designers that you follow their steps in terms of brand soul?

Volihe: If we talk about the brand's soul I can name only one – Alexander McQueen and I am talking about the time when he was alive, not the brand it’s now. And I wouldn’t say ‘follow’, I would say adore, understand, feel.

I really get amazed how genius he was in his work, how he gave the soul to his own brand, maybe it’s not the lightest one but.. I think I adore his work so much because he knew how to transform something dark into a piece of art.

(Courtesy of Volihe)

How easy is it to adjust your lifestyle with your fashion-style?

Volihe: I have always believed that fashion is part of human’s personality, even more- my fashion brand and my style is who I am, how I feel or how I want to feel. So I don’t need any adjustments, my life-style and fashion goes hand in hand. Of course, I won’t (maybe) wear some garments to get groceries but I will manifest an event where I can wear it.

And if you can’t create this event, well… sounds like a you problem. Even one of my dear clients lives in forest and she wears SVALBON while picking berries, and why wouldn’t she?

Sometimes I get annoyed about this statement- it’s impractical! For you who say it. You see for people who feel fashion on a deeper level they seek emotions, story and energies in it. As I can remember myself- I always was too much and impractical, extravagant.

Even my mom once asked me ’’ are you really our daughter?’’.

Fashion is a form of art and you can choose if you want your body to be canva or not. And art in this deepest form is never practical, but people love art, cause it gives them emotions. Not all art is for all, and it’s ok. There is no point to force someone who doesn't understand the need for art to start understanding it, it’s a waste of time and energy, and I am not doing it- you feel or you don’t. It’s the same I talked about in Question 3.

You stated that you had no fashion education or a background. How did you overcome the problems for the learning path of fashion designing by yourself?

Volihe: Hehe, I would say my obsession and stubbornness helped me to overcome difficulties I had so far. I have a degree in management with little touch of the fashion industry but like DESIGN - design - I took bites myself.

In my childhood I had old fashion magazines I could go through like a million times analyzing details, how a model feels in this clothing and where she could go. I didn’t watch cartoons but I watched fashion shows and music videos, analyzing how each fabric moves etc. When my classmates already had ‘’ boyfriends’’ I still was into making clothing for dolls.

Then I started to re-make clothes for myself and just had to figure out what works and what’s not. And still, even if you have fashion design education, even if you know what’s ’’right’’ , thereisnoguarantee people will like what you make, even then you have to figure out a lot of things.

I am not the greatest ‘’ fashion designer’’ and maybe I never will but I do what I love and what makes me feel alive. My point here is - even if you didn’t spend 10 years at school getting all A’s you still can do what your heart is calling you to do. And let’s be real, a lot of things schools are teaching don’t work in real life anyway, so if you are obsessed enough you can figure things out.

It’s an honor to have you on my realm. Anything you would like to mention as final?

Volihe: Thank you for having me here!

Remember- what’s paradise for a spider is chaos for a fly. Listen to your heart- even if it leads you through a nightmare, at least it will be YOUR nightmare. It’s better to live in yours than in strangers. And if you can’t hear your heart- there are a lot of methods on how to figure yourself out. If you know yourself everything else will happen much more easily.

Learn. Fail. Repeat.

Blessed be,

Yours Volihe


Volihe's official website: svalbon

Volihe's official Instagram page: @volihe

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