Siki Im’s method of designing and making fashion -not clothes but fashion- is inspiring, though-provoking, and hopeful. In a presentation he delivered for our course, Siki Im made endearingly resentful remarks about what seemed like his disappointment towards the current state of technology, as it has manifested in cellphones, social media, and avatars; and thus our subsequent nomophobia as a result of our reliance on the cellphone as a robotic machine.
Adding onto Gilles Deleuze’s (1991) theory of blurring, permeating, or fusing binary opposites, Jean Baudrillard states that objects are intimately bound up with their subjects (1986, 1). Objects, according to Baudrillard become possessions that are “no longer simply material bodies” but instead they “become things of which I am the meaning, they become my property and my passion” (1996, 1). If we think about the extent to which the self is imbued in the objects that we own, what can be thought of the amount of time and privilege that we invest into the virtual cyber reality space offered by our cellphones? During the explanation of his design process Im also made constant references to the idea of the body in space and our spatial relation. Im insinuated that he realized that his cellphone had changed his experience of space during a bout of nomophobia while learning to surf in Costa Rica. He asserts that this object has changed how and why we interact with each other and with our spatial temporality, implying that human interaction has become overshadowed by our absorption of the square space of these robots.
In Im’s fashion collection Human/Machine S/S 2015, he addresses his technological discomfort by employing modernity’s mechanisms as well as it’s stereotypical association with futuristic lines (in his patternmaking) to create, style, and present a soft looking, free-flowing, easy-going, partially tie-dyed, and simultaneously edgy collection that aimed to be rich in its humanness. The visual language in Im’s collection communicated a hopeful endnote: that humanity will win over machines. Collecting clothes is an unending practice of accumulating possessions in which we unconsciously invest ourselves in the objects that we wear. Our sense of embodied style affects who we interact with. If someone were to do a wardrobe study on an individual, certainly those clothes would become a sartorial biography that would outlive and become an extension of the owner-collector more so than a cellphone that becomes obsolete.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Non-Functional System or Subjective Discourse.” In The System of Objects translated by James Benedict. London; New York: Verso 1996 . Pp. 1-17.
Deleuze, Gilles. “The Fold.” Yale French Studies 80 (1991): 227-247.