In 1780, French architect Le Camus de la Mézières published Le Génie de l’architecture, where he studied how the language of architecture was natural and could produce a natural response from the viewer.[1] Does fashion have the same ability architecture has? It is the challenge designer Siki Im appears to have set himself.


As explained by the Berlin-born designer, architecture is much more about space, than simply about buildings, and this space is “invisible and intangible”. Coming from an architectural background, and Im confessed himself that architects tend to consider architecture “the universal language of design”, it is not surprising then that the designer attempted to bring this language into fashion. It is this idea of fashion which the designer sought to present during his lecture, while cautiously warning that this was only his own “proposal” of fashion and should not be taken as a truth (“as no truths exist”, he made sure to note). Fashion for Im goes beyond being just clothes, but is rather about emotions and transcending aesthetics.

Bringing back emotions to clothes is a recurrent theme of our lectures, but while we have focused on the “sustainable” approach, it was interesting that Im chose to bring academia into the discussion. It is inspirational and refreshing to see someone apply the different fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, to name a few, to what has traditionally been considered as lacking seriousness and intellect. As French sociologist Jean Baudrillard suggests in The System of Objects, objects have an “aspect which is intimately bound up with the subject […] they become things of which I am the meaning, they become my property and my passion.”[2] Clothes are objects yet we do not seem to connect with them as Baudrillard suggest we do or should. Why have we become so detached from our clothes? Why do we “accumulate” them passively rather than “collecting” them as objects with meanings and personal attachment? Where has the emotions gone?

It is this idea that designer Siki Im attempted to challenge with his Spring/Summer 2015 collection Human/Machine. Humanity is imperfect and uncertain reminds Im, and it is this messiness and humanism that the designer has imbued in his garments. From the “cheesiness” of the tie-dye to the asymmetry of the styling, the collection screams imperfection. But that is ok because they reflect who is truly underneath the clothes: humans. With his collection, Siki Im reminds us that fashion is above all “fun, free and imperfect”, just like us.


[1] Le Camus, The genius of architecture, introduction by Middleton, p.115.

[2] J. Baudrillard, The System of Objects, 1968, p.1.

One response to “FASHION LEAK

  1. Dear Margaux,

    I like how you stress Siki Im’s choice to bring academia into the discussion – that’s something I appreciated myself in his work. This reminded me of one of our previous lecture, where the speaker, who was discussing trend-forecasting, kept talking about “the ideas behind the collections,” without being able to clearly articulate any of the ideas in questions.
    I think there are two admirable things in Im’s work: first, the fact that he was able to come up with such profound ideas about the human condition and translate them into clothes. If beauty is visceral and can’t be explained, I do think that design, when backed up by tangible ideas, invest the clothes with meaning and ultimately makes them more valuable – even if it doesn’t make them more aesthetic. I agree with you that Im’s work reminds us of the importance of clothes as objects imbued with meaning that should be collected, rather than accumulated.
    In addition, Im should be hailed for his ability to phrase and explain his ideas in a clear fashion.

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