Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Dress for Yugoslavia

Photo credit: Susan Lee
For many Ryerson theatre students on the verge of graduation, their thesis projects are looming overhead and the thought of taking their skills out into the world is becoming a reality. But for Nina Platisa, her thesis project has become much more than a school assignment.

With the curiosity of finding out more about her own family roots, Nina decided to embark on a journey of creating a Yugoslavian folk garment made up of pieces from the former regions - and she plans to document the whole experience.

She has put together a small team and they have an Indiegogo campaign up and running, in hopes of raising enough support for the production of her documentary. Check out this video with more details:

I chatted with Nina and she gave insight into where this idea came from:

"The thing that inspired this documentary was that I learned about government funding and that the Yugoslavian’s federal government had funded each region with arts and culture funding, like how every province gets support. So all of that money would go to specific groups and, Serbia for example would get funding for Serbian folk dancing or costumes and what not, and so Croatians got the same thing, and Bosnians. So in the end, that encouraged them to develop their own groups, which had always been that way historically, but there was never an effort to create a bond between everybody, to create a Yugoslavian folk dancing group that would go and compete and represent Yugoslavia. So everybody kind of always represented the regions instead of representing the whole country. I found that really interesting. So I decided first to create the folk costume and then thought it would be great to figure out what it is that really represents each region and to try and put that together in a more modern way. But to still learn the traditional techniques and take that time to create it."

Has your main focus in school always been related to the wardrobe side of things?

Most of the classes I enjoy taking are the ones where you make things, like scenic construction, or props making, anything hands-on for me, is really enjoyable. I’ve always wanted to take it further than that, instead of just having something that is visually appealing. I want it to mean something. I think most of the time, that’s what inspires most of my projects anyways. Rather than just making a costume that represents something in a theatre piece, I really wanted to connect it to myself and be able to amplify it to be able to connect it to other people, because it starts with you and hopefully you can build from that.

Photo credit: Susan Lee
What do you want people to get out of your final product?

I think the point of all of us making it an the group, is we’re really open to everything and what everybody has to offer. We’re open to everybody’s stories and not shutting anybody off, because that’s how we had felt in the past, shut off. So I would love for people to feel open to the documentary when they’re watching it and to the idea of the costume and unity and not to see it as something that is diminishing their cultural identity. It’s more than that, it’s meant to unify.

To find out how you can support A Dress for Yugoslavia, check out and find updates on their Facebook & Twitter!

Photo credit: Susan Lee
- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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