Interviewed by Kim Kieun
From Austrian, based in Antwerp
How do you perceive the movement of the human body? As far as I feel it, you interpreted the subject in different manners and based on this, you create garments.
When designing, I mostly imagine the body within a certain space or situation. For example, in my master collection, I imagined how the body would transform when it is teleported from one place to the other. How would the body look like in the process of being scanned, then disintegrating its particles of information into nothingness? How would these particles be put together in the other location? Or, in my latest collection “Deep Web” we first reconstructed the body shape of transgender artist Amanda Lepore. Each dress in the collection followed this shape, but each dress visualised a step in the process of teaching dresses to the computer. How would the same dress look when being 3D scanned? How would it look as a point cloud? How would the UV map and the segmentation map of the dress look like?
I can see that even the materials you use as fabrics are treated by the human touch, so your focus is not only on making garments. When you handle these materials, what is the point you most consider?
Materials have an expressive quality. With materials I like to create 3 dimensional depth, not a flat surface. For example, if I create textiles from silicone, I work with a variety of pigments. The pigments and the silicone itself capture and reflect light in a very specific way, looking at it becomes a hypnotic experience. In the ‘Pneuma’ collection, I created extremely lightweight architectural grids that shape a 3D grid space around the body. We constructed this space by connecting single ostrich feathers to each other. The feathers itself have a stiffness to hold shapes, while they are also the most lightweight material with such quality. In summary, the outcome of my creations looks very stiff and sculptural, while when wearing or touching them one is surprised that they are extremely flexible. I love this moment of surprise.
Tell us the story of how you decided to present your ideas in such a way, and not in the ordinary ways operated by the fashion scene.
The way I present the collection comes from being very empathic with my own work. After my graduation in Antwerp I travelled to various fashion weeks to show my master collection again and again, to different audiences, in all kind of fashion show formats. This was a manner of learning and observing a lot. It became clear to me that the catwalk is still ideal for presenting products. My couture dresses are however not just products. Together with the person wearing them, and the space they move in, they tell stories and create live experiences for visitors. The dresses themselves can, but do not have to be products – the experience to look at someone wearing the dresses is the real product.
How can you describe the meaning of fashion for you?
To me, fashion design means to be working with the human body and identity. The word “fashion” can be used in many other ways, but I don’t care about them too much.
What exactly do you want to express to people and how should they accept your ideas, ideally?
I materialise ideas and experiences that have not existed before. I see this as a research, which lead me to the second step of producing commercial products. The aim is that these products hit the spirit of their time and are accepted by people. With innovative products there is a high risk, because there is no guarantee for how they will be received on the market – in opposition to traditional products. Take a classical man’s suit, a ball gown, a baseball cap. We know who wears this, for which occasion, we know people buy and wear it, and a realistic market analysis can be done much more straight forward.
Tell us about your future plans and the ideal goal you follow through your work.
For a while now, I have been researching how to use artificial intelligence for fashion design. The final aim is to build a software that designs and produces garments independently. Each of my collections will disclose a further step in this research – therefore, be sure to follow the progress.
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