Credits: Filep Motwary
Marlo Saalmink is that kind of person whose every single word, sentence and move he makes leaves no room for doubt. Even the way he dresses makes a powerful statement. Always gallant and elegant with an unquestionable sense of style, Marlo is the person who undoubtedly has the quality of an opinion leader, whether it is in fashion context or the philosophy of life.
Born in the Netherlands, at the moment based in Copenhagen but often travelling to Paris, Milan and other fashion capitals, inspired by an eclectic career as a visual artist, cultural attaché and creative journalist working for international publications, political organizations and innovative brands, Marlo decided to focus on pensive brand development processes. As a Creative Director and Brand Strategist, he now works with over 20 international brands.
Marlo, why do you think people should care about fashion?
Fashion serves as means for interaction, it allows for individual expression and a personal reflection on ourselves. For me, it has always been fascinating to observe fashion as a elaborate documentation of our presence, past and future. Next to this, fashion also stands for business, a global trade sector that has such an important impact on the daily lives of millions.
Who according to you is a stylish person?
Style is hard to define, as it remains a subjective concept. To me the most interesting are people that never seize to have dialogues on design and fashion, people that are comfortable and understand how to explore aesthetics. As an example, people such as Yohji Yamamoto, Mr. Kurino of United Arrows, Campbell McDougall from Darklands Berlin, and the gents behind Arts Comes First, all have a great individual style.
You have visited Lithuania a couple of years ago. Regarding your observations, how would you describe Lithuanian identity in a sense of style?
The last time I visited Lithuania was in the winter, people dressed accordingly, sheltering themselves from the brisk winds and snowflakes. In general, I got the feeling from walking around Vilnius, that people are rather conservative and adhere to functional monochrome garments.
What is your impression of the Lithuanian fashion festival “Fashion Infection”?
It was a pleasure to attend the festival, the staff and organisers were very kind and most helpful. For Lithuania it is good to invite international designers to showcase their work. Nonetheless, I do believe the festival could benefit from flying in more international press and buyers, to maintain a sense of relevance and development.
In few weeks the first H&M stores will open their doors in Lithuania. Do you think it is one step forward for the fashion market in Lithuania?
H&M stands for affordable wardrobes and bringing fashion to the masses. It can of course be useful as an entry point for youngsters to explore their style, silhouette and creativity. If it is a step forward? I think it can be good for Lithuania to experience more international retailers, in order to diversify and develop even further.
Who should be seated in the front row?
Fashion shows have become more and more open, with online media streaming shows live and an abundance of bloggers covering the fashion weeks. This has challenged the traditional concept behind the shows. A front row varies from brand to brand, in general I feel it should consist of editors and buyers, that have a profound interest in the designer they come and experience.
What do you think of the colour purple?
It can be refreshing, deep and contrasting.
What is your opinion about fashion blogs?
Blogs have opened the world towards style, design, fashion and conversations, they serve as valuable means of free interaction and presentation. As we experience a small decline of quality blogs at the moment, I hope that a 2.0 version of blogging will show a return to quality journalism, strong visuals and edited/curated content, to preserve journalistic quality and relevance.
The early development of magazines was certainly fostered by VOGUE. The magazine now has many international editions, with new countries added each year, thus extending its reach. What is interesting is that each different national edition has its own personal identity.
Why don’t you use Facebook?
This has always been a deliberate choice. Of course it can be challenging at times, but I never felt the need to develop a Facebook page. Communications are easily done by email, telephone and preferably face-to-face. It suits my work well to have a concrete strategy, understanding communications well and working together with my international network fluidly in a more direct manner.
What is your idea of life?
Life is a series of meaningful encounters. It has a lot to offer, when one is open to new conversations and carefully reflects on ones choices and travels. In many ways it is the greatest gift we receive, allowing us to experience, interact, dream, speak, listen and develop.
Will you ever come back to Lithuania?
Absolutely, it is a most fascinating place.