Damir Doma

Call it fate, the power of early exposure, or just good genetics, but 29-year-old Damir Doma has always seemed destined to be a designer. Born in Croatia and raised in the Bavarian Chiemsee lake area of Germany, Doma spent his childhood playing in the atelier of his mother, a designer, where he doodled in sketchbooks and made creations out of spare fabric. By the age of 13, he was already addicted to Helmut Lang’s pure, minimalist designs, hoarding the label’s T-shirts and raincoats. “I had a raincoat from every collection,” he proudly admits. After graduating magna cum laude from fashion school in Germany in 2004, he headed to Antwerp, Belgium, and began to work under the masterful eye of none other than Raf Simons. “He taught me how dedicated and focused I had to be to become a successful designer,” says Doma of Simons, whose disciplined approach to fashion proved formative. Since breaking out on his own in 2006, Doma has launched an acclaimed men’s collection, an organic diffusion line of soft, fluid casual-wear called Silent, and now, for Fall 2010, a luxury women’s line that caters to forward-thinking ladies with an appreciation for fine natural fabrics. Currently based in Paris, Doma has defined his aesthetic with dramatically draped cashmere coats, voluminous layers, and billowy tops and trousers. Neutrals are his preferred palette, and he only employs color when it has “purpose or meaning.” His fall women’s collection has an almost sculptural quality, with belted waists; long, wispy column dresses; and cropped jackets. Not surprisingly, Doma once looked to artists Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys as sources of inspiration. But perhaps Doma’s most profound influence is less academic. “I dream my clothes, and then, the next day, I wake up and try to create them,” he says.

See more from Damir Doma, here.