Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Frida Balla:founder/creator ..MANDRAWN

In a time of when history is being written and amended on many fronts, one of the leading worldwide sources of conversation is the empowerment of women…. enter Frida Balla. She is the founder and creator of MANDRAWN magazine which just debuted its very first international print edition.
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What comes to mind is that if you can dream it then you can make it happen and indeed she had an idea which marinated in her head and then she took the giant step toward realizing the dream. She is a young woman on the move with steely points of view and an even stronger will that enables her to achieve on all levels. With some luck and her continuing determination, she might just become a power house within the world of men’s fashion. 
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It was my pleasure to ask her a few questions which will provide insights into how that  brain of hers works and how she came to be who and what she is today… so here goes… in her own words…  Frida speaks…..
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Jeffrey Felner: Would you tell us a bit about you and how MANDRAWN was born?

Frida Balla: MANDRAWN debuted two weeks ago. It's a new men's magazine, available with two covers. The best words to describe it would be: young and classy. Young … because it welcomes change and innovation, without entirely adopting the alternative or avant garde line. Classy, because it prefers traditional and wearable forms and shapes, spiced up with playful components.

The debut of the magazine was an old dream come true. Three years ago I was still unsure about the profile of the publication. Then the idea came to me and I when I switched entirely to men's fashion. As a men's stylist I became more and more confident about my goals and preferences and I was always thinking about ways to materialize this conception. This is how MANDRAWN was born. The process itself was spontaneous; I could hardly describe it as a completely conscious, organized procedure but rather as a succession of separate episodes spanning seven months to complete the vision.     
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JF:Who are your style icons or mentors and why?

FB:This is a very good question. All in all I think that there's no such a person as I couldn't pick out a single one. My parents are extremely important for me, they raised me "free-range" and they believe in me. I find inspiration in those people who can surprise and shock me, or have some ideas that are simultaneously sophisticated and stimulating. The hardest thing is to create something that is refined in all aspects.     
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JF:If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

FB:If I could do it, the first man with whom I would like to sit at a table, would be the French naturalist writer, Emile Zola. He was a brilliant writer, his descriptions of people and places are so meticulous and accurate that the reader is overwhelmed by the genuine atmosphere of his books. His books are the finest literary adventures for me.  

The second person is a totally different character and maybe it's not a surprise that I would like to dine with none other than Madonna. She's full of power, a leading figure, a person who isn't bothered by others opinion. This is the best one can do and I strive to live by this rule as well. We would have some common topics, I suppose.

The third person is Alexander McQueen. In this case the best way to spend some time with him would be the possibility to observe him while working. I am fascinated by his collections, and curious about his ethics, methods and viewpoints.

The fourth person would be my grandfather; he died before I was born. According to my family members, he had a strong personality and he was full of vitality and optimism. My grandmother often mentions that I'm just like him. I wish I could have met him.

The fifth would be Marina Abramovic. There are persons who have deep feelings combined with deep knowledge. I think Marina is such a person, who could to teach me for years on. It's in her character. There are some things you can't learn and others that you're born with.
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JF:Currently, who are your favorite designers and photographers and why?

FB:The Versace man is my favourite; I like how Donatella reflects upon masculine beauty. If it’s men’s fashion then make it masculine and sexy. I always find something appealing in her collections.

The name of the photographer is well-known in Hungary, and I think that his talent will help him to achieve broader recognition. That is, Maté Gregus and he is my preferred photographer; he’s a member of my team and a good friend. I'm working with him on my styling projects as well because; our preferences are very similar concerning models, collections, locations, etc. In fact, the collaboration between us has helped me to realize that men's fashion and styling is my field 
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JF: If you could choose any collaboration, who or what would it be and why?

FB:As I mentioned above I love Marina Abramovic. Performance art is very actual. I can imagine a fashion show combined with one of her performances, under the name MANDRAWN x Marina Abramovic. :)  …. A performance that reviews the possible connections between her themes and men's fashion.   

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