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RUNWAY Senior Designers: Mark Borelli

Provoking Protopias to me means taking the best aspects of the past and bringing them into the present.

What does Provoking Protopias mean to you/How is it portrayed in your collection?

Provoking Protopias to me means taking the best aspects of the past and bringing them into the present. There will always be new and exciting things that have yet to manifest and I believe that concepts such as sustainability is one that is best for the future of this rock. However, I also believe that we can look to what worked in the past and apply that to the present day. That takes the guesswork and uncertainty when it comes to making the world a better place. I want to reflect this in my work by taking aspects from the past eras and mix them into one collection. This collection relies heavily on distressing and oversized clothes to invoke 80s and 90s punk aesthetic, as well as flared and cropped garments to pay homage to the 60s and 70s. The collection is also highly sustainable. No plastics will be used in the fabrics unless necessary, and up-cycling will also play a large role.

What inspired you to start designing? I have always been into customization and self expression. When I was a kid me and my friends would always make these huge collages of all these wacky characters in our notebooks, and sometimes the desks when we were supposed to be learning. Whenever I had the chance to get creative with something. I would go all out. A memory I have is from when I was in 11th grade English class. The teacher showed everyone step by step how to draw a cartoon style cow, and then told everyone to draw a cow on an index card, however they wanted to. Everyone used the method that he just showed everyone, except me who just attempted to draw a more realistic looking cow. While my drawing didn’t go very well, the teacher was like “Wow, at least someone tried something different.” And I like to think that scenario describes me pretty well; different for the sake of it.

What has been your creative process? I like to get a lot of my inspiration from movies, music, and just the world around me. Sometimes I will come across an outfit that just catches my eye, and I will spend all this time trying my best to replicate it, even if I don’t have all of the pieces in hand, I just like to conceptualize an outfit and then tweak it to make it look more like something I would wear. For example, there was a time a couple years back where I rewatched a bunch of classic gangster movies like “Goodfellas” and the 1983 version of “Scarface”. Something I noticed in both those movies were the insane shirts that the characters would wear. They all had these ridiculous oversized camp collars and wacky patterns in vibrant colors. I became obsessed with those shirts and searched endlessly for the perfect campy vacation shirt, and an outfit to go with it. I eventually found all the pieces to the puzzle, but I wasn’t really satisfied, continued to tweak the

look and am still changing it up to this day. I like to take a concept that strikes me, and see where it takes me, rather than me taking it.

What do you hope people take away from RUNWAY? I hope that people will look at my collection as something timeless. I don’t want to make something that is reliant on trends or fads, and rather something that will stand the test of time; something that looks like it could really be from any era.


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