Pleasemachine is a design label, enterprise and, as I realized after the inspiring answers of the founder, a think tank from Budapest, Hungary. Part of the philosophy is upcycling from different materials and changing attitudes towards consumption. One of the slogans says: “It’s not only about the shoes. It’s about the path you walk in it.” The girl behind Pleasemachine is Anna Zaboeva and she gave me personal insights to her creation process, life in Hungary and her self-perception as a designer. Thank you Anna for this interview!
When I found your shop in Budapest a year ago I was amazed by the beauty of your products. What is the key to your design, your inspiration and vision? Are you using historical references?
Hey, it’s kinda lucky you got to see my shop at the last moment, cuz I stopped it a bit less than a year ago to move on to different projects with less retailing but more artistic profile. The key to designs is my reflexion of the outer world’s wisdom and insanity. Shoes are only an output, a side dish of the process. In some way it’s a documentation of the times we live in: crazy, cool and colorful.
How can I imagine your workflow? Do you have a big team of helpers or are you a single fighter?
If design involves some crazy technology that I am not familiar with first I find someone who I can consult with. I have genius hi-tech and craft friends such as aircraft engineer, 3D printing professional, laser specialist, wood carving master, printing enthusiasts, product designers etc. It doesn’t take them too long to figure out the way to execute my design and consultation often looks like a proactive friend’s meeting. That’s how I imagine a friendship anyway, when one help another and both having a good creative flow. When I work on a big series of designs or shoe model that is already passed developer stage I involve professional shoe craftsmen and assistants.
I have no clue to the Hungarian design scene. Are you well known and recognized or a secret – there and internationally?
In Budapest I am well known in narrow circles. And I think I am more out there internationally. But I never did any statistic calculations about my recognition, do you think I should?
Besides shoes and accessories what are you designing?
I use to be pretty much obsessed with designing or customising anything that gets with me in close touch: from my pocket mirror to my car. But lately I got more relaxed with the way things look as they are if they serve good function. I keep designing my lifestyle cuz some things and meanings changed and the way I proceed in the world again needs some customisation.
Hit me up if you need anyone to listen to you while all the world stares at their smart-phony.”
I love how you use your blog as a quite personal insight and narration into your life, work and love of fashion. Can you describe how you use social media for your business and with which impact?
It’s easy. I extensively build personal relationships with people and live exciting offline life, I am also lucky to have a great passion and constructive force within. So I just keep posting about it few times a month and let know to remote people what happened while I was missing. Business part is done by other people who happen to write about it and spread the word. My job is to create. I realise that the less I sit online the better is going my business. I rather talk than text and I am better in making personal than facebook friends. Hit me up if you need anyone to listen to you while all the world stares at their smart-phony.
People in Hungary are so relaxed they don’t even bother to let the rest of Europe know about them”
Hungary has no good reputation in Western Europe at the moment, but on my last visit I found a vital liberal and hedonistic cultural life in Budapest. What is your personal view on the city of Budapest and the country of Hungary? You are a foreigner too…
In this country is high unemployment rate and relatively close to no big money, so it attracts loads of outsiders who happen to lead more hedonistic and authentic life then those who make money a priority in life. People in Hungary are so relaxed they don’t even bother to let the rest of Europe know about them. Creativity thrives on limitation of choice and rebel comes out of desperation. I travel a lot and I can observe how a country’s situation effects the minds of its inhabitants. I wouldn’t change a bit in Hungary. It’s just perfect with all its decadent beauty, wounds and insecurities. Those who are born to complain will do so even if you strip your skin off to make their life better. Clever outsiders go international, but you don’t have to leave your place for it.
Clever outsiders go international, but you don’t have to leave your place for it.”
A few months ago you posted a mysterious text on your blog – something like a state of art. Can you say more about the changes you face?
Fashion designer niche is a great medium to pay my bills and I was pretty lucky with sales even though I am really not into brain washing fashion commercials that feed superficial lifestyle. However I can’t help it that Pleasemachine was a mute profile that was often consumed by people who used to substitute their personal lack of real experience with rad shoes. And that unintentionally made them postpone with the efforts of living life beyond brands, labels and work for money that spent on even more shoes, bags, glasses. Mental trap for them and social suffocation for me as my customers are the vast majority of the people with whom I communicate. So I decided to give Pleasemachine more room for speaking about the happiness outside of fashion, about the style that comes through your deeds not through labels, about endless freedom given by awareness that can not be limited by a given choice. This dialog already begun and is guided in a quite visual, readable and audible manner.