To free up storage, I tidy my bookshelves time after time. Spared from the clearance are sentimental items: documentations of one’s golden era, reminding us – at various points in our lives – of our purpose, our raison d’être.
Fortunately, I have a prized collection from the peak of the creative industry to cling on. Flipping through old magazines, I would admire their breaking through ideas and aesthetics: if the future of the fashion industry seems unclear, one needs only look back to see the vastness of possibilities.
Five years ago, I referred to Sowans, a fashion journalist, to shadow my favourite teacher and learn about clothes making. There were other young protégés, but Sowans was the only one who attended the weekly classes consistently for five years. Sowans and I bond over our shared interest in fashion and contempt for the fast fashion culture – how it strips the industry of its creativity.
T: Toby Crispy
S: How much does one have to love something in order to commit to doing it consistently? I consider myself very lucky to be this committed, even luckier to have someone to share that commitment with.
We did not want to compromise this spirit for fast fashion, which champions great value over quality, so we turned to survey the creative processes of the masters. We wanted to manifest their timeless concepts in upcycled clothes, to experiment with past and the now.
翻開《All About Yohji Yamamoto》，看見1986年由Nick Knight為他拍攝的經典黑色長褸，蹺起的臂部拋出紅色的organza(柯根紗)，原來靈感是來自1948年Clifford Colin為Christian Dior所拍下的The New Look；太陽之下無新事，創作不是魔術，是演變，大師也曾受前輩的啟蒙。
Catalogued in “All About Yohji Yamamoto” is his widely recognised black wool coat photographed by Nick Knight in 1986. Inspired by Clifford Colin for The New Look of Christian Dior in 1948, the back of the coat is cut in five curved layers to reveal an associated red tulle and organza bustle, illustrating the practice of designers revisiting and reinterpreting key designs from their inspiration’s oeuvre.
這襲被某某女星穿過的ACNE STUDIOS tube dress，曾經的性感和型格，卻因為令穿者動彈不得而被捨棄了；我們便替它重新解構，讓最好的留下來，改善了它的束縛，並和我們向大師致敬的作品一起穿搭。
Once graced by a certain actress, the ACNE STUDIOS tube dress boasted sensuality and style, which were, unfortunately, obscured by its off-putting restraint. We kept its beauty and reimagined its corset, alongside pieces inspired by the masters.
T: For me, the considerations for fashion making are the same as those for architecture – the compatibility of form and function, accessories, and craftsmanship. It’s a difficult process, but it also guarantees so much joy.
S: I started in the fashion industry perchance, and I got to admire the most exquisite designs up close with a front-row ticket to the latest trends – what then? Trends come and go; timeless designs are the only constant. Transposing from a love for fashion to a love for the study of fashion, I can’t say for certain that I am an enthusiast. I study timeless designs to deconstruct their thought processes and craftsmanship – a retrospective that evokes creative experiments.
我為這些multi-styled fashion design（多元配搭的設計）取名為 「Fashion Milagros」，Milagro是奇蹟的意思，靈感來自好友從墨西哥買回來送給我的milagro charm，在那裡的教堂，傳統上會售賣不同人體肢體和內臟的金屬吊飾，寓意為該部分祈求平安。我也希望我們的設計能提供多元化的配搭方式之餘，也同時寄予了我們的祝福。
Calico is a half-treated cotton fabric that hasn’t been bleached or dyed. They are often used for mock-up, but we think it’s the purest fabric, and we love it for its modesty. We began our design using calico: I worked on pattern, she worked on sewing. Together, we conceived another piece inspired by Yohji Yamamoto’s AW 2012 collection.
I named this collection of multi-styled fashion designs “Fashion Milagros”, after a milagro charm a friend got me from Mexico. Milagro means miracle, they are small, metal religious charms, often depicting limbs and organs, and carried to assist in focusing attention towards a specific ailment or need based on the type of charm used. We hope this collection offers versality in clothes matching – and our blessings, like a milagro charm.
Swans is certainly one of the contributors to participate in my exhibition “Time Wardrobe” in Oil Street Art Space. Swans showed her upcycled piece and shared her handwritten story.
“Back in the summer of 2010, I bought this dress from GF Ferré for a wedding. Having witnessed the break up of the couple afterwards, the dress faded and became last-seasoned. It seems that the good and everlasting easily slip away. All I hope is to preserve what was once loved with small changes.”
S: 未來大家或許會厭倦主流，轉投更長青的慢時尚，追求質素而非形式化的潮流，繼而讓時裝變回更個人化的選擇，不再是倒模般。近來喜歡上Y-project設計師Glenn Martens，不按章的設計為我帶來靈感上的衝擊。
T: Tracing back to the beginning – why did you decide to learn making clothes?
S: I guess it’s because I didn’t want to let go some of my clothes, so I thought of upcycling them. That became my motivation to learn and perfect the craft.
T: What makes you so committed to your craft?
S: It must be the skills I acquire and the sense of achievement in the process (though sometimes I’d rather not expose the “experimental” pieces). It brings me so much joy to be able to do what I love.
T: What are your expectations on the future of fashion, or even slow fashion?
S: I think in the future, we might outgrow the mainstream and turn to the evergreen slow fashion. We might champion quality over form, fashion may therefore become more personalised. I’ve been very into Y-project’s Glenn Martens lately, whose unconventional designs are bringing fresh perspectives to my own work.