VENT M A G A Z I N E
ESCAPE INTO THE WORLD OF EXPERIMENTAL AND INNOVATIVE FASHION ISSUE ONE BI-ANNUAL SUMMER 2013 £4 USD $12.99 VENTMAGAZINE.COM
GFW ROUND UP MEET THIS YEARS ONES-TO-WATCH FASHION VS ART THE ONGOING DEBATE SWAROSKI 2012 WINNER TALKS YIN AND YANG TREND ALERT: 3D PRINTING JANE BOWLER PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC
FASHION GOES B-O-O-M
THE COVER Joy McLaren wears DESIGNERS: Min Wu Sian Menai Nadia Scullion photography GUILLAUME NALLET styling CAITRIONA ANGLIM assistant stylist NAOIMI GRANT mua/hair CARMEN PROCOPIUC THE BODY 14 designer profile ANNELIE GROSS 16 q&a NADIA SCULLION 18 style crush SIMONE ROCHA
31 GFW round-up MAIKO TAKEDA LIAM HODGES YUHAO LAO RYO HIMURO 38 interview JANE BOWLER in conversation with VENT
GUILLAUME NALLET styling CAITRIONA ANGLIM assistant stylist NAOIMI GRANT mua/hair CARMEN PROCOPIUC
68 fashion experiment HELEN STOREY science meets fashion
20 on trend 3D PRINTING
52 fashion news PLEATS PLEASE
26 swarovski winner 2012 XIAO ZI YANG
44 editorial spread ALONG CAME A DESIGNER photography
54 feature FASHION VS ART off the catwalk and into the
60 studio visit CARLA JOHNSON 66 inspiration page MARLA MARCHANT
72 the weird and wonderful world of BENJAMIN JOHN HALL
HELLO. +welcome to the first edition of VENT magazine. Here at VENT we set out to create a magazine for those looking for something more. A concept driven biannual, chockablock with pages of visual beauty and extraordinary fashion. We explore the world of inventive and experimental fashion and take you behind the scenes to some of the most happening designers in London on page 14 and 16. Taking a step deeper into the world of experimental fashion through design, sculpture and science on pages 26 and 68. Inventive, collaborative and unconventional are all the things driving this first edition. we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it. escape and vent Caitriona Anglim EDITOR
German artist and designer Annelie Gross was born into a family of orthopedic technicians, her interest in bodily deformities and defects seemed almost hereditary. VENT catches up with the designer as she introduces her wearable art series DEFECTS, When did you first become interested in fashion artefact? During my BA in womenswear, when I realised just only working with fabric was just not satisfying enough for me. I wanted to work with other materials such as plastic, leather, metal and resin , but I still wanted my pieces to be created around the body. That’s when I discovered the Fashion Artefact course at the London College of Fashion. Where do you find inspiration for you work? I am obsessed with antique tools, furniture, books and clothing techniques.
I create a story around them and then something new starts to develops and come to life. How do you feel wearing one of these pieces? It is quite powerful. When you wear one of my pieces your body is controlled by it. It affects the way you move, and you have to find a way for your other body parts to adapt. I think it gives the wearer a feeling of discomfort, but it also makes him or her feel the body in a different way. Why are you so drawn to these specific fabric/ materials? Since I grew up in an v
“Since I grew up in an orthopedic workshop. I think it came quite naturally to me"
orthopedic workshop I was always surrounded by leather, plastics, plaster and other medical fabrics. I think it was quite natural for me to work with these materials one day. Who’s work do you admire? Alexander McQueen for his courage and attitude towards fashion. Why are you drawn to the idea of pain, beauty and restriction? Maybe it comes from my background as a competing gymnast, where you force your body into uncomfortable positions in order to learn a new movement or element. If you get through all the pain and abortive attempts you simply feel invincible.
Scottish designer Nadia Scullion is an up-andcoming force in resourceful fashion. Working with any materials she can get her hands on, Scullion creates bespoke, sharp, formalwear, for fashion forward, modern women. Taking inspiration from old editorials and 90s issues of ‘The Face’, Nadia Scullion integrates typically disassociated fabrics into her clothing in a highly wearable way. Contrasting natural and synthetic fabrics Scullion’s work is highly detailed, and labour intensive. A pastel palette, of 1920’s inspired silhouettes, fringed with silicone rubber, which glide beautifully down the catwalk. A young designer with a distinct vision, Scullion, initially an architect and sculpture student, finally found her feet in fashion. She won the ‘John L. Paterson’ award for Best Graduate Degree show in 2010 and has gone on to
be shot by ID and Vogue Italia. A reformed goth, Scullion took some time out of her very busy schedule to chat to VENT. What was the key concept of your last collection? The idea behind the last collection was a simple one - to utilise fabrics typically disassociated from fashion within a commercially viable range. What interested you about working with fabrics such as silicone rubber? In line with my concept, I wanted to use materials that had not previously been used within a fashion context. Silicone Rubber is a material that has traditionally been used in sculpture and mould-making for industry. It was tricky to master initially, but an intensive sampling process gave me the knowledge to achieve vivid colourways and cast from, pretty much anything. How difficult was it to work with this materialand what problems did you incur, if any? The biggest challenge was finding a way of attaching the silicone directly onto the fabric. Months of testing allowed me to
find a solution. What is the most important part of the process for you? The initial research stage is so important, this is when I start to build an image of what the overall aesthetic of the collection will be. Also, colour is always a key focus in my collections so this is always something I focus on when researching. Who do you think is your customer? My customer is an intelligent creative, say an architect or a curator, who appreciates clothing with a strong story behind it. Her wardrobe also contains pieces by Comme des Garcons and Celine, however she turns to my pieces when she is feeling playful. The strong colour stories and silicone embellishments have a definite feeling of fun. What designers do you take cue from and why? The collections Nicolas Ghesquiere produced for Balenciaga were, for me, perfect. His talent for bringing together colour, strong silhouettes and futuristic fabrications is unrivalled and I am eagerly waiting to see what he does next after his departure from the
house. What is inspiring you right now? I have just moved to Stockholm so that is my main source of inspiration. The Scandinavian style is naturally a minimal one, which appeals to me. Why fashion? Throughout my many years slaving away as an intern, I often asked myself this question! Seriously though, fashion challenges me to combine research, colour, fabrics and my own individual design aesthetic within a range that has commercially sensibilities. What is on your wish list at the moment? Some Nike flip-flops, 17 a Palace t-shirt and graphic pink lipstick as seen on the catwalk at Dior Resort 2014. Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully in New York, designing for a major brand while also completing my own sideline projects, with 2 cats and a sausage dog at home.
STYLE CRUSH KNITTED WAFER MESH FITTED COAT £1,165
METALIC COATED COTTON BLEND TOP £395
ASYMETRIC DRAPE SKIRT £785
Causing quite a stir in New York last month, burlesque star Dita Von Teese stepped out in style, wearing the world’s first fully articulated 3D dress. The gown, designed by fashion and architect duo Michael Schmidt (of Lady Gaga bubble dress fame) and Francis Bitonti, in collaboration with digital printing marketplace Shapeways, was a breakthrough in 3D printed garments. A wearable piece of technology, the dress was based on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, and was assembled from 17 pieces, which were then joined by hand in 3,000 places, allowing for a textile-like movement. Adorned with over 13,000 Swarovski crystals and dyed black “it took thousands of components to fit the dress perfectly to Dita’s body”, a spokesperson from Shapeways said. “This represents the possibility to 3D print complex, customized fabric like garments designed exactly to meet a specific person or need”.
“Designers have been challenging Materialise to come up a material d u r a b l e enough to withstand the wear and tear"
Far from the first of its kind, 3D printed garments have been on the catwalk for a couple of years now, but never at this level. Traditional 3D-printed garments, were usually woven into the fabric of an existing material or in the form of embellishment, which is then attached to the body. 3D printing company Materialise recently launched a new, highly flexible and durable material for 3D Printing (TPU 92A-1). A limber fabric, which allows designers to create movement, is a welcome addition to the world of fashion and technology. “Designers and engineers have been challenging Materialise to come up with a more supple 3D Printing material that is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of an end-use product- and TPU is their response”, Materialise said. “It’s a breakthrough because before TPU 92A1, you had to choose between durable and flexible – resulting in fashion pieces that looked spectacular and could be worn without breaking, but which were still far from traditional fabrics as they were rigid and more sculpture than truly wearable fashion. Now, you can get the flexibility required to create printed fashion that can move with the
wear, and still incorporate the intricacy and complexity that 3D printing makes possible”. A far cry from the stiff, bulky, immobile properties of traditional garments, new technologies in printing allow for more fluidity and movement in garments. So how does it work? In simple terms, machines layer buildable materials like nylon or steel according to computer-generated blueprints, eliminating the need for fabric and conventional soles and fasteners. The results are delicate and architectural, but surprisingly strong. Designs are custom-printed to the wearer’s exact dimensions for a perfect fit.
“The incredible possibilities afforded by new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture”
Along with accurate 3D modeling of the body prior to printing, technologies have matured and now it is possible to produce more fine, flexible and wearable materials. At first it is at the boundaries of haute couture and art but as we have seen with Nike using 3D printing in footwear, we will see more and more 3D printing creep into the world of clothing and fashion. “3D printing will likely impact on shoes, accessories and jewellery before clothing. Intermediate technologies like 3D knitting and Direct in loom weaving which are more close to existing fabrication techniques but can be digitally controlled. It will be a long time v
flexibility and complexity,” Oxman explains to Object Geometries. Instead of the restraints being material the restraints are now environmental like air, light, and humidity.
before 3D printing trickles down to ready to wear, said Philip Delamare [Founder Director of the Fashion Digital Studio]. Fashion’s most prolific 3D-print designer is arguably Iris Van Herpen, who has infiltrated the catwalk with her 3D-printed, futuristic designs since 2010. Quietly pioneering the craft of 3D printing in fashion and famous for her partnership with industry, today, Lady Gaga and Björk are among Van Herpen’s A-list clients. This year saw major breakthroughs in wearable 3d print design for Van Herpen, in collaboration with architect and professor Niri Oxman for Paris Fashion Week. “It was a very exciting collaboration Oxman told Object Geometries, ‘Iris sent me an email to discuss working together and collaborating.’ Oxman, who collaborated with Van Herpen on the breakthrough shift-dress said “the ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a ‘second skin’ for the body, acting as armour-in-motion; in this way we were able to design not only the garment’s form but also its motion”, Van Herpen explained to Object Geometries. “The incredible possibilities afforded by these new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture as ‘tech-couture’ where
delicate hand-made embroidery and needlework is replaced by code”, said Van Herpen. An incredibly complex, eleven pieces spring collection at Paris fashion week, featured two 3D printed ensembles, which including an elaborate skirt and cape. Inspired by the bio-mimicry of lightening, Van Herpen explains “The collection is about energy and about voltage, we as humans are really bad at releasing our energy, so for me personally this dress visualizes the extension of the body, the energy wants to get out, but we are not able’ she says. Trying to redefine couture by replacing handwork with code, the duo set out to create a piece of seamless clothing using the 3D printing and technology-specific objects. Taking a further step in the depths of 3D printing, it is now possible to print continual surfaces without seams or parts. “They are just gradients, almost like gradients of energy, only gradients of material that vary in properties and size,
“I can imagine people having their bodies scanned in the future”
This was the first experiment with flexible 3D printing, and if it continues to develop, look forward to seeing it trickle down to ready-towear, and these highly complex geometries transforming the fashion industry, as we know it. “I can imagine people having their bodies scanned in the future Van Herpen says. They can order a dress in their own size that would fill up the gap between haute couture and ready to wear - that would 23 be really interesting”. In terms of what’s next, “It is the designers themselves, especially Iris van Herpen, who will most likely determine where this technology goes in the world of fashion, said Vanessa Palsenbarg [corporate communication specialist at iMaterialise]. The real magic happens when creative people like Iris challenge the experts at Materialise, testing the boundaries of what is currently possible and what they would like to be possible. By working together with us and pushing the technology to new limits, the seemingly impossible can suddenly brought to life.
Winner of the Swarovski Jewellery Award 2012, Xiao Zi Yang is a name to know in the fashion industry. Once, the cinderella of the fashion world, jewellery design has recently been added to the ITS (International Talent Support) program, administering support to young designers and allowing them to showcase their work.
Shanghai-born Yang took inspiration for her collection â€˜Joinery in Jewelsâ€™ from an old Asian carpentry technique. Combining traditional craftsmanship with modern silversmith techniques, 3D printing, and laser cuttings, Yang creates versatile workings with ingenious contemporary twists. Forget about nails and glue in this sublime game of joinery, her jewellery v
is cleverly composed of interchangeable parts that can be repaired, or changed in accordance with the latest trends in colour or materials. Yang who is currently working at Swarovski HQ in Watten, Austria took time out of her busy schedule, to tell us a little about Joinery in Jewels.
involved, like silversmith, 3D print, laser cutting casting, leather technique and glass technique.
When did you move to London and why? I moved to London in 2010, for the MA course in Fashion Artefact at LCF.
Where do you source your materials? Germany and China.
What is the idea behind ‘Joinery in Jewels’? It is inspired by Asian joinery, which has been used in timber architecture and furniture for about 7000 years. So what exactly is Asian Joinery? The typical characteristics of joinery is that its smart construction can make two parts join together without any pins, nail or glue. With the refining of Asian elements and the combination of different materials, the aim is to show the thoughts of Yin and Yang - that the reverse only exists in the balance and relationship to each other. So each item is composed of removable parts? Yes, I expected to show that there could be no force between human beings and the environment. Each part of the jewellery can be removable by a smart construction, which helps extend the service life of fashion. By changing the components for repair, latest trend or colour and textile.
“The aim is to show the thoughts of Yin and Yang - that the reverse only exists in balance of the relationship” to each other"
How important is handtechnique in your work? It is one of the most important techniques. The metal piece in my design always needs to be made, and finished by hand. Do you think 3D printing will be important for your work in the future? I use 3D printing to make the mould for casting. It is a trend, so yes, it is very important for my work now and in the future. What are you working on right now? I am working on developing ‘Joinery in Jewels’ focusing on the colour combination of Swarovski crystal and what would be wearable in industry. How has it been on the Swarovski internship in Watten, Austria? Really great! The environment is lovely and my colleagues are super nice. Finally what is next for Xiao Zi Yang? Plan for 2013 is to publish the next collection and complete the internship in Swarovski HQ.
What kind of techniques do you use? In this collection, traditional, hand-made and modern techniques are both
BEHIND THE SCENES
GFW ones to watch for 2014 Voluminous shoulders and cocoon sleeves were an obvious trend at this years GFW MA fashion shows. The RCA show, well known for exquisite tailoring and an emphasis on creativity and originality, was opened this year by its first year menswear cohort in association with Brioni. Thirty-four sleek and highly diverse collections strutted their stuff, to an eagerly awaiting audience, allkeen to get a glance of the next ‘big thing’ in fashion. Previous graduates of the college include Philip Treacy, Julien Macdonald, Christopher Bailey and phenomenally successful, Erdem. No doubt, this year’s graduates are hopeful to follow in some of these extra large footsteps. Of the graduates, Xiao Lis’s plump, pastel, silicone knitwear garments stood out – a marshmallow, hand-dyed colour range, featuring exaggerated silhouettes, with puffed up skirts and sleeves. Maiko Takeda’s impressive shard-
like millinery meanwhile looked like dandelions on the catwalk. Hundreds of colourful bristles, adorned in transparent, plastic spikes tinted with colour from base to tip, provided a futuristic, modern take on millinery. Lorna Bilsborrow’s allgrey, tweed suiting also stood out. Others, such as Camilla Woodman and Joseph McGee made an impression with interesting fabric choices, along with Ana Corina del Saenz’ unconventional use of silicone on whimsical and delicate fabrics. The €3,000 Swarovski prize for innovative use of crystal was snapped up by Ana Ogun-Sany, for her collection made of dyed bathmats which created graphic line. An especially good night for menswear, Liam Hodges and his crew stole the show with hulk silhouettes for men, not boys. Little wonder then that Hodges has been snapped up by Lulu Kennedy, for June’s Fashion East Menswear Installations. VENT profiles some of this year’s ones-to-watch! v
INTRODUCES MAIKO TAKEDA AGE: 26 STUDIED: MA FASHION WOMENSWEA R ( MILLINERY)
Can you tell me a little bit about your recent collection? The aim of my collection “Atmospheric Reentry” was to seek the possibilities of headwear that have blurred boundaries to its surrounding space. While hats are commonly made with substantial and durable materials such as fabric, felt, plastic, leather so on, instead I wanted to create ethereal experiences to the wearer through the pieces. I thought it would be cool if one could wear something blurred (like cloud or smoke) on their head. This was my starting point. Where do you find inspiration? I often find my inspirations from elements in our natural environments, such as shadows, lights, smoke etc. I am interested in something ethereal and transient because I find beauty in such experiential and subtle phenomenoms that exist in our daily life. How has the response been
INTRODUCING: LIAM HODGES AGE: 24 STUDIED: MA FASHION MENSWEAR
since the show last week? My collection has been receiving great press coverage and feedbacks from various people I admire and respect. It would be exciting if this leads to further collaboration opportunities with other people or publications. What are you working on right now?
Where did the inspiration for this collection come from? With my graduate MA collection, the research started with looking at pagan festivals in modern life, primarily Morris dancing and the straw bear festival at Whittlesea. From there, I brought in my own references as I went, and just ran with it.
I am working on my portfolio to conclude my 2nd year worth of MA projects at the RCA. Also some other collaborative projects have been coming up and I am working on them.
Who is your customer?
Do you consider your work wearable art?
Who are you influenced by?
It would be a real privilege if my work could be perceived as something that has a timeless value, such as an art piece. However, it is always an interesting challenge for me to create work that also exists as designed wearable products. It would be a success for me if my work contained qualities of both art and product.
My customer is difficult to pin down, it could be anyone, but they certainly 33 have a lot of character to get out and have the confidence to wear it!
I’m always influenced most by people I meet and see around me.
INTRODUCING RYO HIMURO AGE: 27 STUDIED: MA FASHION WOMENSWEAR
INTRODUCES YUHAO LUO AGE:26 STUDIED: MA FASHION WOMENSWEAR
What inspired your collection? I was inspired by Sarah Oppenheimer’s architectural art pieces. The purity and sense of minimalist and modernity really touched me. I was really interested in the way she constructed the space and the materials to make a fantastic visual illusion. What kind of techniques did you use? I created a unique mechanical device, to lock and clip the fabrics, and transform a flat pattern in to 3D garment shapes by sliding, and blocking the mechanism. It is just like the architectural system call ‘Tenon and Joint’ in some wooden objects. What is your favourite outfit? My favourite outfit is the third one, - the trousers and the top. The mechanism on the trousers appeared as a huge belt, but there are actually seven pieces of blocking shell working together! I assembled them all together with
the trousers pattern panels. Furthermore, the belt is functional and has a system that can be fastened and closed, so it is wearable. You also developed an accessories collection? Yes, I developed my mechanism into an accessory collection, which you can see on the models’ wrists in the runway show. They were made under an exquisite 3D printing technique, although they are sort of a simple look, but many of them were actually assembled with more than six to eight pieces of shells and blocks. They are so elegant and precise, and they do work like a moving mechanism different colours and different materials, can be blocked as part of the accessory. It is a very interesting product and designbased technique.
What was the starting point of your collection Shadow and Light? The painting of Klimt ‘Life and Death’. This drawing was the starting point of my collection. In this painting, there are the totally polar opposite situations, Life and Death. What interested you about this? The shadow is the totally opposite creation to the body; the body represents the life and what if the shadow is trying to take over the body. I was interested in the shadow encroaching the human body, even if the light is crushing the shadow all the time. Light and dark obviously play a big part in your collection, can you tell us what effect this had on your colour and fabric choices? My collection is about territory of shadow and light on the human body. In the darkness, the shadow is catching the garment without realising. The darkest black in fabric is black velvet. The fibre of the velvet absorbs the light. To me, the light is bright orange, yellow or red as the Sun.
young designers, as well as featuring in Vogue. com’s designer listings.
“I never really wanted to be a fashion designer, I was more interested in Fine Art,” says Bowler. “When I was putting together my final show for my BA, I was approached about my work. A stylist wanting to use my pieces for a photoshoot - it was only then that I really started to consider fashion.”
Designers are continuously testing and pushing the boundaries of fashion, trying to find new and exciting ways of developing and evolving their craft. Constantly experimenting with cutting edge techniques and exploring unusual materials and fabrics. Innovation for fashion paves the way for a future that defies the boundaries of traditional fashion and combines form and function in a whole new existence.
“I never really wanted to be a fashion designer, I was more interested in Fine Art”
This is especially true for fashion and textile designer Jane Bowler. With a passion for inexpensive and mundane objects and a unique ability to turn discarded materials into catwalk-worthy pieces, Bowler is one to watch v
this year. With her first London Fashion Week show behind her, she now has an online store about to go live and a feast of celebrities such as Azelia Banks and Rita Ora all requesting her designs. As one spokesperson at Dazed and Confused put it: “It’s easy to see her pieces becoming an instant hit in the ever-mutating and challenging world of fashion.” It’s been a whirlwind journey for Bowler. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, her collection was immediately spotted and snapped by photographer Nick Knight, appearing in AnOther Magazine within months of her graduating. Soon after, she was featured in the Guardian’s online film for ‘hotly tipped young graduates’ and Dazed Digital’s ‘Rise’ for
After two years of working within the fashion industry Bowler decided to pursue an MA at the prestigious Royal College of Fashion. “I wanted to focus purely on textiles for fashion - it was the materials and the exploration of different fabrics and techniques that grabbed me,” Bowler recalls. “I did art foundation I didn’t specialise in fashion or textiles, I specialised in 3D because I was more interested in the construction and the materials than the actual making”. A creative individual with a curiosity for fashion and typically disassociated fabrics, Bowler’s collections highlight her passion for new processes along with her inventive use of discarded and everyday objects. Recycling and re-appropriating materials, she uses everything from shower curtains to rubber
flooring and transforms these materials into sophisticated, fashion-forward garments and accessories for both men and women. “I go to the Hackney scrap and I find plastics there. I go to hardware stores and buy things like, shower curtains and bathmats. I pick them up randomly and play, experiment, trying to transform them into something beautiful and exciting”, she says. Her unique approach of hand dyed plastics and heat forming techniques make way for a fun, sophisticated design style that has been well received. With her latest AW13 collection, she captured industries attention when shape and form took priority in her garments. Small squares of stone and glass were exquisite features of her collection Tessellate - meaning to form into a mosaic. It was with this collection that Bowlers made her debut appearance at London Fashion Week, earlier this year. She dazzled viewers with mosaic-like qualities, exposing these once forgotten materials in a fresh, new light. “It was
“Once you start playing on the stand, the material kind of grows the garment”
my first scheduled show at LFW and it was quiet interesting to see how it would go down in that environment, but people seemed to love it,” she says. “It was definitely a move on from the season before”. Maintaining textile techniques, Bowler pushed this monochrome collection to the next level, however managed to stay true to her signature style. “Normally I love colour but last season I kept it quiet monochrome, it was different for me but people seemed to really like it. It’s quite difficult as I enjoy using colour so much and with spring/summer coming up I feel like I need to return to it and do lots of colour.” Bowler’s collections are not only being recognised on the catwalk, they are also attracting the attention of major stockists around the world. Currently working on finishing orders for
stores in Hong Kong, LA and Milan and starting the new collection, SS14, she still found time to collaborate with yet another up-and-coming music star. “I have been working on a piece for a lovely singer called Lianne Le Havas. She is really into my stuff so I am creating a one off piece for Glastonbury which is really fun,” she adds excitedly.
exploratory and involves a lot of stand work. “Once you start playing with the material, the material kind of grows the garment. I work mainly on the stand and build the textiles first and then start to drape and figure out how it will work on the body, and almost patch-work it together- so its quiet experimental,” says Bowler.
She has proved that she is far from a one-trick pony, continually developing and refining her innovative and creative use of materials. Her hand-made processes offer a unique and inspiring approach to fashion design. “I start off with a rough idea, but it kind of grows beyond that,” she says. “Last season, the collection was initially inspired by 1920’s style and art deco but it grew beyond that.”
It’s not only the physical stands that are intergal to her work either. Bowler wants to engage with the wider ethical debate within industry, and take a stand against ‘throwaway fashion’. She recently acted as a guest speaker at the ‘High Fashion Low Countries’ sustainably seminar in Antwerp, and also representing the British Council at a sustainable fashion event in the Philippines. “Sustainable practice
Her approach to designing in the initial stages is v
and thinking have always been a part of the brand identity,” she says. “In an ideal world, I would love if people looked upon my pieces as a ‘keep forever piece’ and move away from throw away fashion.” But as she is well aware, the fashion industry is not always that kind when it comes to sustainability. “The pieces that people want to buy and stock are often the one-off pieces, as opposed to the readyto-wear, which is very exciting for me, as I can be more experimental”. Bowler’s collections are regularly borrowed by the likes of singers Jessie J and Grimes as well as appearing in numerous publications including, Nylon, Dazed and Confused and Hunger Magazine. Her most recent venture saw her collaborate with filmmaker Zoe Hitchen to create a short film based on her latest collection Tessellate.
“I met Zoe a while ago. As I mentioned, when I did my MA collection I had the opportunity to work with Nick Knight. My MA show was the next day so I went along to Nick Knight’s studios and that’s where I met Zoe,” says Bowler. “She was assisting Nick at the time and we got chatting and stayed in touch from that day and always said “oh we have to work together’ and we hadn’t had the opportunity until now.” With a variety of collaborations and keen celebrities already under her belt, Bowler has found her niche in standout plastic-inspired garments. Nevertheless, Bowler understands the need for functioning, wearable clothing, but still believes as a young designer the way forward is through her bespoke designs. “At the end of the day, they are
the pieces that draw attention, I am aware of working pieces into the collection that are more wearable,” she explains. “I think you have to get to that point where people recognize you enough before you can do that. It’s working out the balancing and for me that’s where accessories come into it.” With an online store about to launch, and an abundance of never seen before accessories, hinting at Bowler’s signature style it’s an exciting time for Bowler and her fans. “Not everyone can afford the one-off pieces, which is why I love having the accessories that anyone can wear and afford, I think it’s about keeping the balance”.
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photographed by GUILLAUME NALLET styled by CAITRIONA ANGLIM
This page: skirt and top by Min Wu
Opposite: Coat and leather shorts by designer Nadia Scullion, top by Sian Menai, shoes stylist own
This page: Jacket by Nadia Scullion, top by Min Wu, skirt and pants by Sian Menai, shoes stylist own v
Opposite Coat by
page: Min Wu
This page: Mohair Coat Nadia Scullion, Shirt by Sian Menai
Opposite top by Scullion, by Sian
page: Nadia dress Menai
Japanese designer Issey Miyake celebrates the 20th Anniversary of his futuristic line Pleats Please this year. In celebration, the Japanese fashion house has launched some new and exciting products, based around the concept ‘delicious things’. Creative mastermind Taku Satoh created monthly ad campaigns that likened the fabric to scrumptiouslooking food like whipped cream, wine and nutella. “The term ‘delicious’ evokes many different ides,” said Taku Satoh, graphic designer. “I wanted to
create a visceral reaction; something akin to ‘that looks delicious’ and ‘I want to wear that,’ said Sato, comparing our desire for food to that of fashion. The campaign has now won a 2013 JAGDA award for best poster and will be on display, along with other entries, at Midtown Designhub later this month. In addition to this, the first fragrance ‘Pleats Please Issey Miyake’ was launched alongside a new watch, designed by British designer Jasper Morrison for the collection Issey Miyake Watch.
OFF THE CATWALK AND INTO THE GALLERIES
“Fashion design has a more secure place in the precincts of an art museum”
Even before the V&A opened its doors for the highly anticipated ‘Bowie Is’ exhibit, it was already the museum’s fastest selling event. The exhibition showcases seminal items such as the Ziggy Stardust bodysuit from 1972 and 60 stage costumes, including Kansai Yamamoto’s designs and a Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen. With unprecedented access to the David Bowie archive, the V&A have successfully explored the shifting styles of one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. “We have already sold over 47,000 tickets for Bowie Is, which is the most presale tickets ever recorded for an exhibition” a spokeswoman for the museum told the Telegraph. Increasing popularity of fashion exhibitions around the world has created a surge in fashion coming off the catwalk and into the galleries. Jenny Lister, Curator, at the V&A says that fashion exhibitions have been increasing in popularity for a long time. “Dress is an appealing way of learning about the past, and the work of current designers. Curators use different media to create different, sometimes immersive ways of experiencing fashion in museums,” explains Lister. “We all wear clothes, and fashion is more accessible than ever before with the internet and blogging”. A global phenomenon, fashion exhibitions are popping up
more often than ever before and consistently attracting substantial audiences. Previous record-breaking successes of Alexander McQueen’s retrospective at the Met in 2011, Valentino’s Master of Couture at Somerset House this year, and the highly anticipated Fashion Galore in November are all examples that museums should fill their halls with fashion. Shona Heath, who is currently working on the Isabella Blow exhibition, says, “Fashion exhibitions seem to be less archival nowadays, they are more frivolous and interactive, as opposed to previous static exhibitions shown behind glass panes, in an emotionless environment”. 55 McQueen’s Savage Beauty, which included pieces from his first major collection ‘Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims’, was the best-attended fashion exhibition in history in 2011. Harold Koda, curator at The Met Museum told the trade, “Clearly the critical as well as popular success of this show suggests fashion design has a more secure place in the precincts of an art museum.” Although there is an understanding that fashion is an important area of art and design. Shaun Cole, course director of MA Fashion Curation at University of the Arts London says, “There has been a long discussed relationship between fashion and art, from the perspective
that fashion is a form of art, and that the skills in designing and making are akin to those in art.” He adds, “There is a symbiotic relationship between the two that many enjoy and promote but there is also an argument that fashion should be considered as ‘design’ or commercial practice rather than as art”. The old debate surfaces its head once again, does fashion really belong in art museums, and if so, for what purpose? “Exhibiting fashion and art together shows how related they are, it also enables fashion to stand out, as the expectation is that the art is what will grab your attention and have the gravitas”, says Shona Heath, [set designer for the ‘Fashion Galore!’ Exhibition] “but clothes have had a previous life force within them, a history and a story that the viewer can fantasise about, imagine touching, smelling or wearing, whereas you can only look from a distance at most art pieces, and most people will never be able to own ‘art’ - whereas we all relate to clothing in someway or other.” Indeed fashion exhibitions allow us to experience garments from a distance, and we can relate to these items, but the popularity of fashion exhibitions only took off in the late 1980s. “The V&A has collected textiles and fashion since the 1850s, although fashion exhibitions as such, were not put on until the 1960s” explains Lister. “Cecil Beaton’s ‘Fashion: an Anthology’ of 1971 at the V&A demonstrated the popularity of the
“I don’t have a problem - I refuse to view sponsorship as a moral issue”
subject and fashion has been taken more seriously ever since then”, Lister says. “Fashion exhibitions help to attract different visitors to museums, and hopefully they visit again and enjoy parts of the museum they might not otherwise come across, at the same time, fashion has become a subject of academic study in many institutions.” Fashion exhibitions also help to inspire contemporary designers and students, and support the creative industries. The difference today, is the media being more in tune and switched on to fashion designers. Roger Leong, curator of International Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria, told The Australian: “I think media is more switched on to fashion in general. Fashion permeates so many levels of popular culture and the media - and the celebrity thing as well - it’s just everywhere.” He said there is a “hunger for heritage” and that the public fascination with what we wear - and wore – “shows no sign of abating”. Professor François Colbert explains that exhibiv
tions can be a great source of income for museums. “There is no doubt that fashion has become a big winner, and its exhibitions money spinners,” says Colbert. Curators agree that archives were often deemed a burden to fashion houses until the Eighties but that has since changed. In 1983, Diana Vreeland, then a special consultant to the Costume Institute, decided to create an exhibition on Yves Saint Laurent, under the stewardship of museum director Philippe de Montebello. Together they created a study of Yves Saint Laurent – the first living designer ever to be given a museum show. It became a blockbuster success, marking the beginning of fashion’s acceptance as not just a decorative art, but part of a cultural heritage. “Fashion for the public is now so throwaway, whereas fashion from the past is so full of craftsmanship and inspiration, it almost starts to feel like costume, so therefore more exhibition-worthy” says Heath. But why exactly are we exhibiting fashion? Is it pure brand promotion, or an opportunity to present costume from fashions history as living art? Granted, the subject of sponsorship is a touchy one, with the majority of museums needing external financial help in order to make exhibitions happen. But how involved should the brand become, and is there an independent observation and curated subject? “I don’t have a problem - I refuse to view sponsorship as a moral issue,” Kaat Debo, director of MoMu in Antwerp, told the New York Times. “It comes down to how you collab-
orate. Sometimes there is too much suspicion, thinking that a museum cannot decide anything, it is important how you use the collaboration and what kind of agreement there is.” In essence the mission of any museum is to show excellent works, which are not usually accessible, and to open up the archives of haute couture and enlarge it to the general public. Indeed, the museum factor has certainly inspired some amazing collaboration between fashion and curation. But it has also transformed the way designers treat their own archives. Brands are investing deeply in archiving, recording their story and recognizing it as a rich asset for the future. “Marketing is fantastic, but marketing would not be pos- 57 sible if you did not have something real to recount,” Alain Hivelin, Balmain’s chief executive told WWD Magazine. The longevity of designers and brands offers constant opportunities for landmark events. Whether a retrospective, untimely deaths or looming anniversary, brands are preparing their archives for current and future use. Culturally we look to the past for inspiration, but modern technologies in fashion are only going forward and exhibitions have not escaped this phenomenon. Such was the reality of digital exhibitions, offering vast global reach through new and advanced technologies. At any giv-
en moment there are at least a dozen museums across the world offering major fashion displays, with just as many available online. Previously designers relished in exclusivity, and held all the cards when it came to how much of a collection the public could see. A snapshot of a moment on the catwalk wasn’t enough, and fashion’s audience wanted more. Observing collections in an up-close and personal way is an experience fashion exhibitions have given its audience. The opportunity to stand just feet away from beloved collections - viewing in more detail the delicate workings of never-seen-before pieces. “With a catwalk show, it’s very fleeting, you don’t get to actually appreciate the craftsmanship gone into a garment,” says designer Una Burke. “Maybe it’s because we live in such a mass produced society, that now people are interested in seeing the hard work and the detail that goes into these pieces - the curves and the fittings in the work”.
she recalls. “But in a gallery environment those pieces are incredibly beautiful objects,” she adds. Burke views her creations as wearable art, indefinable as particular garments and free to exist, just as the objects that they are. “Why pieces fit into art and fashion is down to the intricate work that goes into the piece. Taking something that is negative and making something incredibly beautiful from it, these are all things that artist do,” she explains.
“With a catwalk show, it’s very fleeting, you don’t get to actually appreciate the craftsmanship gone into a garment,”
Currently packing up her Prosthetics exhibition at ShowStudios and heading to Arnhem in Germany for the MºBA 13, Burke is busy bringing her collection from one exhibition to another. Known for her unique hand crafted accessories, Burke creates leather objects that are visually captivating and technically challenging. “I remember people saying to me ‘Why are you doing fashion? There is some crazy stuff on the catwalk, who’d wear that unless you are a celebrity doing a performance?’” v
Designer’s like McQueen and Hussein Chalayan have been creating sculptural pieces, which have been worn on the catwalk, and have been an influence on Burke’s work from the beginning. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to focus on those really strong concept pieces and for people to be able to see them up-close when you exhibit your work,” says burke. “I think that’s why there is such a surge right now and people are more and more intrigued by those things and less afraid.” The explosion of museum exhibitions popping up all over the world is only a mirror image of what has happened to fashion itself this millennium. Fashion museums have helped open out the fashion industry, making collections once archived away more accessible to the public. Perhaps, there is an element of financial gain, but either way designers are reaching out and sharing their work with the world - even at the cost of it being less exclusive. The force of technology, and global participation, has allowed fashion to develop from being a passion of a few to a fascination and an entertainment for many.
ter 5 years of working as a print-textile artist, Carla Johnson, a self-proclaimed dreamer, is now making her fantasies a reality with new label MONA swims. Mixing silk with reptilian patent leatherette, Johnson creates one-of-a-kind garments. Mystical goddess based designs, made up of an assemblage of both drawn and photographic images. This label is unlike anything swimwear has ever seen before. It’s fresh, fashion forward, exciting - and launching just in time for the sunshine! Can you tell us when you launched your label?
Designer Carla Johnson invites VENT to her studio, ahead of the official launch of her swimwear label MONA swims. Go on have a gawk! Born in a seaside town, and obsessed by nature and marine shapes, Johnson finds inspiration in everything from iridescent fish scales to the vibrant array of coral below the ocean sea. Afv
It was around this time last year, a friend of mine [Sophie] had always been a fan of my work and was commissioning me to do ‘this and that’, and it was actually her that gave me the idea to set up MONA Where do you find inspiration? I enjoy expression painting and a lot of my stuff is really abstract. I am fascinated by nature, and I love the sea, the patterns, the colours and the textures. A lot of my degree was based on fish scales and that’s where
MONA has really stemmed from. I can see amazing patterns in nature that nobody else can see, because they don’t look at it properly Who wears your pieces?
“I’m usually pretty scruffy with a paintbrush in my hand”
A bit of a jet-setter, I think the whole idea about a MONA piece, is that it can be worn as a statement item, whether you’re going to a pool party or a festival like burning man. It’s a statement piece of art for an artistic woman What is your favourite part of the design process? I love working on the prints - for MONA, it came really easily. It was like something that was inside of me, and I needed to develop it further as it was something I had touched on previously What makes you different to other designers? I think the prints are just modern, there not your typical swimwear prints, they are sultry, muted colours, and a lot more sophisticated, edgy and daring. You feel amazing in them, and they photograph really well and look sort of 3D like. The whole point of the brand is to
bring out your inner siren. The MONA woman is mysterious and can be found on a beach with black sand, so maybe we are the dark side of swimwear Who inspires you? Designers like Peter Pilloto, Mary Katrantzou, Maria Grachvogel, and Helmut Lang inspire me. Also a painter called, I Wayan Sudarsana Yansen and Ellen Rodgers a photographer and an artist. She is a massive inspiration to me. MONA was very inspired by the mood of her photography To you fashion is? Wearable art 63
Describe you own style in three words? Iâ€™m usually pretty scruffy with a paintbrush in my hand. I think I am understated and a bit of a charity shop, vintage mishmash What are your hopes for the future? Building the brand and the idea of MONA, and then working on the website and eventually an online store If you werenâ€™t a designer you would be? A mermaid.... [Laughs]
DESIGNER MARLA MARCHANT GETS WOVEN AWAY Traditional craftsmanship, fused with cuttingedge technology, 3D printing, and titanium rapid prototyping is what makes this young designer stand out from the crowd.
When did you decide to specialize in footwear? I was 23 years old. After I finished my degree in industrial design. I was looking for a career that offered connection between creativity and luxury. Where do you find inspiration? I find my inspiration in everything around me. This can be everyday objects, architecture, fashion shows, even nature – for example landscapes. How do you communicate these inspirations into your footwear? The point is mixing inspiration with workshop skills. Learning a new technique or re-creating something in an experimental way is how various inspirations affect my work. Can you tell me about the different stages of your design process? My design process always follows broadly the same lines. It starts with research – books about fashion, history of design,
techniques. After that follows the phase of experimentation with materials and different techniques. Finally, it comes to sketching the concept pieces. The whole process is normally repeated several times while I’m extending my research and perfecting workshop methods. How important is function in your work? The focus of the project is more in creating the concept pieces and less in their practical use, experimenting with new techniques such us 3D printing and its capabilities. Continuously pushing the boundaries of fashion- what’s next for Marla Marchant? The thing about fashion is that everything is possible and you never know where endless possibilities will take you. Having said that, in the nearest future, I will focus on refining of my concept and finalizing the project and make my shoes a wearable product.
The innovative designer, artist and professor talks, science, collaboration and how fashion really can, change the world. Professor Helen Storey is an artist and designer living and working in London. She graduated in Fashion from Kingston Polytechnic in 1981 and started her career working for Valentino in Rome. She returned to London and worked with Belville Sassoon before launching her own label with Caroline Coates in 1983. Her collections have often been provocative, and pushed the boundaries of fashion, and she has been noted for questioning traditional notions of beauty, glamour and women’s image. It’s no wonder then that she was voted British Designer Of The Year by The British Fashion Council in 1990 and also named winner of the most innovative designer of the year in 1991. Despite all these industry accolades, Storey became frustrated with the pace, and
waste of ideas in fashion. She began to yearn for the chance to develop and experiment – at which point fate intervened and introduced her to the world of science. Fortunately for her and for us, Storey has spent the past 15 years pioneering projects in sustainability across the worlds of fashion and science, in search of a better future. She now concentrates her time on bringing the world of art and science together, producing hybrid projects, and products that have broken new and award-winning ground. We catch up with the designer to chat about her collaborative and public experiment Catalytic Clothing, which is, quite literally, transforming the air around us, one particle at a time Can you tell us about where the idea of Catalytic Clothing stemmed from? It was a progression of a project that happened before that, a project called Wonderland. The idea kind of v
“People from very different worlds were working together to discover a new way to purify air"
rolled out over time, but the release moment, if you like, was when we were in a workshop for Wonderland. We were working with young kids and a 14-year-old girl asked Tony [Ryan] [Scientist and OBE] why they didn’t take more advantage of stuff that existed already, why we had to start all over again? With this in his mind he [Tony] then ran off to what he described as a ‘very boring committee meeting’ at the Royal Society of Chemistry and apparently her voice stayed in his head. He did a calculation under the table, on the back of the agenda, of the surface area of the suit he was wearing. He then came running back to our meeting and said that we were all wearing a tennis court’s worth of surface area and we ought to think about an idea of using that differently. Using clothing in other ways, rather than for keeping us warm or keeping us cool or making
us look cool, so yes, that’s where the idea came from. How many people would need to participate to produce a noticeable reduction in the level of pollution? It’s hard to say how many people per se, as depending on the level of the pollution, the surrounding weather conditions, time of day, it can be different in different places on different days, but an estimate of the required level of uptake for Catclo [what Storey refers to as the Catalytic Clothing Project] indicates that a significant reduction in the level of airborne pollutants in a large city such as London could be achieved if, for every meter of pavement width, 30 people wearing Catclo walked past each minute. The Catalytic Clothing team has produced three
key installations to illustrate the project; ‘Herself’, ‘Field of Dreams’ and ‘Red Palette Dress’. Can you tell me a little about each of them? Herself: This was the 69 result of a collaboration with a textile designer called Chris Seldford. We were taking existing technology which was used on architectural surfaces and things like pavements and applying it to textile form - but my job was to create a dress that allowed us to talk about the technology with the public directly. It’s more engaging to make a beautiful dress than to make the point through the pavement, so that was the first piece. Field of dreams: This was our way of reporting directly what we were finding out in the processes of science. We wanted to do the unusual and include the public in a piece
of science news as it was breaking and find out how they felt about it - did they understand it? Did it mean that they would definitely use the technology? So it was a way of testing the market ahead of the technology. Since most people own a pair of jeans these were chosen to represent universality. Made up of rows of donated denim jeans, Field of Jeans can be adapted for large or small spaces. Red Palette dress: We had been asked by lots of different people to tour our installations, so, with no money, we needed to add to the collateral of that. I looked back through my archives and fashion collections and picked the palette dress and donated it from my personal archive. The dress was then sprayed with the air-purifying technology.
over a three-month timescale. With that piece we manage to reach 300 million people Do you think that fashion and science collaborating is the way forward for sustainability in clothing?
“What’s more meaningful then improving the quality of the air we all breathe?”
Catalytic Clothing has reached an audience of over 1.5 million- did you ever anticipate such a response? We were hoping for at least that. With Wonderland we reached 11 million. The other piece of collateral, if you like, that we created was the film, which is the first thing you see when you go to the Catclo website. That was another experiment that we were running alongside science, which was how the world as a whole might treat a research idea, and how do you bridge that gap between academia and people. We made something called the living map, which traced where the film was watched and by who, v
Yes, to me science is about everything that we are, and everything that exists and the arts is how we experience our humanity. If you put those two together you’ve got the whole picture, I think, of what the world now requires of us - which is an ability to be open to technology and the new energy sources that are going and to help to continue to live on the planet, whilst at the same time enjoying the experience of what it means to be human. Finally, what’s next for Catalytic clothing? At the moment, the technology is with one of the world’s biggest laundry manufacturers. They’re looking at the suitability of taking it to market so it becomes a real product that everyone then can wash into their existing clothing. That is the whole point. You can do research but the world is in need of research that is advanced or helps us in some way and has a tangible outcome. Tony and I definitely want it to end up as a product used in everyday life. I’d be very proud if Catclo gets to market. Ultimately, I’m interested in work that has a meaningful and sustainable impact. What’s more meaningful then improving the quality of the air we all breathe?
“science is about everything that we are, and everything that exists, and the arts is how we experience our humanity”
THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WORLD OF...
Shoes that undergo physical changes to represent different stages in a life cycle from floating in amniotic fluid to rebirth through fire - form this collection by London designer BJH. â€œThe haute couture collection is based on the processes and experiences that relate to the themes of birth, life, death and resurrection" BJH.