Architects as Fashion Designers?

Just like Allison Matthews David, I felt that Siki Im was a speaker with a refreshing point of view. What was most interesting for me about Im’s talk was how he let us all into his thought process as a designer. He did not just present his clothes without any background information. In this lecture he guided us through what inspires him and how that leads to what fabric and shapes he uses to develop his final garments. It is rare to get to see into a designers thought process in this way.

In another post I made a few weeks ago I was thinking about a topic that we discussed in one of our recitations. The question was who can be called a fashion designer and do you have to have a fashion education to be one. Both Telfar Clemens or Siki Im did not study fashion at school.

  Im studied architecture but, in my opinion, is a creative and technically skilled fashion designers. He seems to understand how clothes work, for example like the blazer he designed that would in some way mold to the persons body because of the fabrics he used to make it.

    I think this understanding comes from a point that he mentioned himself in the lecture “ Architecture is not only about buildings, it is also about space. And the same goes for fashion”. He seemed to have researched a lot into the idea of space from many different directions, from Merce Cunningham to Einstein.  These studies onto space and how we live within that space have helped him understand how garments work as well.

  In my work as a fashion design student the idea of “the space between the garment and the body” is something I work with a lot. How does the garment change the proportions of your body? Are the clothes oversized in some parts and make a shield for the body? is the garment skin tight in some areas and exposing.

  My mother is an architect as well and I think that a lot of my inspiration and interest in space has come from conversations with her throughout the years.

anna A#pdf

Photo: My own project – A Knit Dress with a rubber tube that pushes the knits away from the body in certain places to create a space between the garment and the body

4 responses to “Architects as Fashion Designers?

  1. First of all, glad to see the final look of your project. I was impressed by it when we visited your studio last time. I’m also interested in Siki’s exploration of the space, and perhaps because of his architect background, he seems very clear about every tiny details and structures in his design. More important thing is his understanding of fashion reflects the humanity and philosophy. The way that he constructed his idea and design makes me feel that he is more like a poet. He doesn’t just design clothes and other objects, but, actually a concept and spiritual education more than a physical object. His collections are more like narratives, sometimes autobiographical, personal, and laden with modern metaphors. These philosophical concepts may seem unrelated to clothing, but to Siki, just as architecture is not about buildings, fashion is not about clothes — it just so happens to be his chosen medium and language to speak with people.

  2. It’s valuable that you bring up the idea of context in your writing this week. Like you mentioned before, Siki did not simply present his clothes to us as if they had simply manifested from his mind into material objects, and further than that, he also gave us a deeper insight into his design process rather than just listing his inspirations or showing us a meaningless mood board. Your writing this week made me consider the ways we are interpreting the clothing from designers without actually seeing the clothing. I’m sure that as a designer, you are able to “read” clothes just by examining a garment’s construction, to an extent. Reflecting on the ways the Fashion Studies M.A. students benefited from experiencing the design student’s work firsthand, I wonder how our interpretations of the design speakers for Fashion Cultures would differ. What would we be discussing if we were able to experience the materiality of these objects under question? I really like your connection in this post to your own work with knit wear. It’s important to see how your ideas overlap or differ from the other designers as well as how your work relates to the speakers as you all all creating within a particular moment.

  3. Like Leren, I’m also really thrilled to see an image of your look. When we visited the studios, I was struck by your incredibly detailed knits, and the unique use of different weights and scale. You bring up Siki Im’s notion of architecture spanning mediums – from the literal, like buildings and infrastructure, to the more figurative, like garments and sculpture, is a provocative idea that challenges assumptions about design, for me. In the digital age, the idea of space – how we live in it, are touched by it, and can transcend it – is even further challenged by the infusion of the virtual into so much of our physical world. This does indeed border on a deeper meaning, which for the first time, I think was presented with absolute clarity by a designer to our classes.

    To bring it back to our classes and our interaction with each other as practitioners, your explanation of your work in this post as a fashion design student is so helpful for the MAFS students, because beyond the traditional ways in which we might see a designer’s perspective (so often presented and mediated by the journalist/publicist relationship) it is direct and personal, and related directly to you.

  4. Thank-you for sharing an image of your own work, Bjoerg, and giving us insight into your background in architecture. I appreciate how you discuss designing space – whether that be the physical spaces the garment designates around the body, or the built environments we inhabit. Going back to your question about whether an education in fashion is necessary to be called a “fashion designer,” you incite me to ask what kind of education qualifies. I think of Tom Ford, another architect. Is designing a label enough, and who decides who is labelled what? Great questions which hinge on our course theme, transgression.

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