AMBER JAE SLOOTEN & THE FABRICANT: COMBINING FASHION DESIGN WITH MACHINE LEARNING

AN EXPLORATION IN CREATIVE COEXISTENCE

For our new theme 'Pioneer', we talk to Digital Fashion Designer Amber Jae Slooten about her recent project with The Fabricant.

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You identify as a Digital Fashion Designer, can you tell us about the work you create?

I call myself Digital Fashion Designer because I design clothes, but I haven't actually touched any fabric in years. With the latest 3D technology that has been developing within the past few years it is now possible to simulate garments before ever actually creating them in real life. I work in a digital space with endless materials and possibilities, and if I don't like my design I just hit ctrl+z. It's a new way of working which, I think, will be the future of the industry, as it eliminates excessive sample production and takes us to a new way of working. In my work I also discover the possibilities of the digital world. What will we look like when we enter a VR space? What will we look like in 10 years with the digitization going at the speed it does now? Will we even still be wearing physical clothes or could we wear holograms? The past years I have been trying to form an answer to those questions by creating installations of digital garment animations. 

How did you find yourself creating this type of work?

During my studies I realized that I did not want to work in a fashion industry that was so polluting. I came across the 3D animation software during a minor outside of my studies and ever since then I have completely fallen in love with it. When I brought it back to school and told my teachers I wanted to graduate with digital garments they told me I was crazy. And yet here I stand, graduated with 8 virtual outfits, having showed my digital garments at Amsterdam Fashion Week back in 2016 and still producing many new outfits without them ever existing in real life.

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...if I don’t like my design I just hit ctrl+z.

Can you introduce your project to the MM readers?

What will be left of our dreams after computers learn to dream? Venturing into unknown territory, "DEEP" project explores the Wild West, combining fashion design with automated exploration. What resulted is a collaboration between human creativity (my brain) and machine learning (the computer). The computer's 'dreamed-up images' serve as inspiration for my latest 3D digitally crafted collection. They predicted shape, colour and texture and I used these as a big inspiration point. It made us think about what the digital revolution could ultimately mean for fashion design, the industry, and the very people working in it.

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The collection is made entirely on the computer, in collaboration with The Fabricant, which resulted in a hypnotising animated video presentation taking the viewer through endless digital environments. Remnants of the fashion industry float through the scenes as the avatar moves forward into places that are vaguely familiar but estranging too. Can an algorithmic process of trial and error lead to creativity?

Where did you take inspiration for this project?

Basically the algorithm inspired me to create these shapes, and use these colours. The images it created were so inspiring to me that I wanted to create outfits from it. By myself I wouldn't have come up with these shapes, which is a whole different approach to design using the computer to my benefit. I still needed to create 3D garments from a vague 2D picture so I used elements of western historical clothing to express the feeling of moving into this Wild West, this digital undiscovered world. This project combines virtual animations and real elements and pushes them to a hyper-real level that leaves the viewer in a weird state, not knowing what real and what is fake. The name DEEP comes from deep learning, the artificial intelligence technology we used that is able to create 'fake' objects without them ever existing in real life by using reference pictures. 

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Did the computer have specific inspiration points for the collection, in terms of fabrics/colours etc? Or was it random?

We gave the algorithm input of a large dataset of pictures of Paris Fashion Week. The algorithm does not know what it is looking at, as in it does not know that it is clothing. It generates random pixels to try and recreate the images we gave it, but without seeing them. In this way the computer is able to come up with images that are generated by constantly learning whether it is on the right track and the images that come out are vague representations of garments that from a distance look like catwalk pictures. I gave it meaning by choosing the fabrics and actually designing the garments, with the computer image as my reference. 

How did you take the computer's images into a new dimension?

As the image comes out in 2D, it looks like a vague representation of a garment, but it is nowhere near an actual piece of cloth or a pattern. What I do as a designer is taking inspiration from silhouette and colour that I translate with my own inspiration elements into outfits. I sculpted the outfits on the computer and the result was this collection- designed by the computer and by me. To me it is also super interesting to see where the computer ends and I take over, how much do I stick to what it predicted in the shape, how much of the image do I recreate? There is still very much a creative vision needed to keep the collection consistent.

Your 3D visualisation videos are very mesmerising, I could watch them all day. Can you define the qualities that make it so?

We call it hyper-realism. An added layer on top of what is real. You're looking at an image that has a photo-real quality to it, but you know it's not real because what's happening in the image. So you're left with a sensation that leaves you questioning and wondering. At least this is what we wanted to achieve with it.

...you’re left with a sensation that leaves you questioning and wondering.

What are the advantages of digital fashion design, how could it change the industry?

At the moment, there is so much over-production and we really want to show that with the use of this digital world we can really waste a lot less! We are looking for new ways of presenting fashion, as fashion shows have been the same for over 100 years. We want to see whether we can create alternatives for photoshoots using digital super models (like for instance Shudugram or Lil Miquela) and putting them in environments that would've never been possible in real life. Digital fashion could also create a new way of tailoring, using 3D bodyscans and fitting them on the computer without the person ever being there. It is such a new market and there is still so much to discover, the possibilities are endless and right now we are focusing on digital e-commerce and virtual fitting through innovative initiatives. I always love this quote from Isaac Asimov, one of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence: "Things don't need to be real, when they seem to be."

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Thank you Amber for giving us an insight into the incredibly fascinating and futuristic world of digital fashion design!

Follow Amber here @amberjaeslooten and the Fabricant here @the_fab_ric_ant

 

FASHIONCLASH Festival- Show 2

Steven Vanderyt

Vancouver Fashion Week Award winner Steven Vanderyt's collection brings a new kind of seduction to the runway. The palette for OLD TOWN GIRLS  in black & white with red accent colour mirrors the Sin City comic that its inspired by. Silks, chiffons and wools are contrasted with leathers and latex.

ENCLOTHED COGNITION

A collaborative project from fashion designer Bregje Cox and visual artist Mark King, this is a fun menswear collection with a vibrant colour palette, and experiments in shape and scale. The Enclothed Cognition collection seeks to empower others by bringing awareness to the interplay between the clothes we wear, the built environment, and the human mind.

MUKASHI MUKASHI

Lithuanian label MUKASHI MUKASHI presented a conceptual collection 'Animus', which looks at the struggle to balance between remaining unique and fitting in with society. The crisp contrasts and oversized silhouettes stood out to us.

 

http://fashionclash.nl/

Photography by Team Peter Stigter

FASHIONCLASH Festival- Show 1

D.A.I.

We love the subtle use of print in this menswear collection by DuAsInfinity; the vibrant coloured patterns contrast beautifully with the pastel outer layers.

Rita Sá

Vancouver Fashion Week Award winner Rita Sá wowed the crowd with a bold blue unisex collection. The monochrome palette pushes emphasis on clever pattern cutting and textured layers. The collection 'Glass Ceiling' explores the world of hypocrisy of the individuals who believe that it is better to be a false somebody than a true nobody.

Amy Ollett

Amy Ollett's enveloping forms create new shapes and silhouettes. Collection 'MOVERE' combines her training as a dancer and choreographer with design, exploring the interface between dance, fashion, movement and design and is informed by the properties of fabric.

 

Stay tuned for more of our reports from the FASHIONCLASH Festival...

http://fashionclash.nl/

Photography by Team Peter Stigter

FASHIONCLASH- MAFAD Academy Showcase

As part of the Fashion Clash festival, the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design presented their graduate show. We were blown away by the incredible talent of these young designers.

Here are our favourites:

Jessie Witters

We're into the tropical feel to the collection SWEET ASPHYXIA, inspired by wild overgrown nature. The exotic colour palette accentuates the feminine silhouettes.

Nathan Klein

This contemporary menswear collection by Indonesian designer Nathan Klein presents a new meaning for masculinity in fashion. We love the deep forest green colour and matching set look.

Pia Walter

Outdoor-inspired collection 'AWE' is about balancing our technology-filled lives with experiences in nature, merging elements from camping-equipment and army clothing with sportswear and digital prints. One of the pieces can be zipped out into a tent-like structure! The collection is a cool cross between nature and technology.

Laura Van der Spoel

We love the incredibly creative use of texture in this line. With a focus on experimentations in materials, Laura has created a modern and artistic vision.

Nienke Creemers

The goal of Creemers grad collection 'UNPICKING COTTON' is a form of protest against the exploitation used in the fashion industry for hundreds of years, and as a protest against herself as a designer. Powerful words expressed on a colour popping palette.

Nieke Verkennis

Verkennis' girlish colour palette, and focus on creative textures creates an array of visual intrigue. We love the playful feel.

 

Through these incredibly creative grad collections we can see a growing trend in work with social relevance, looking at making the world more ethically responsible. A strong focus on experimental textures also shows the student's passion for material techniques.

Stay tuned for more of our reports from the FASHIONCLASH Festival...

http://fashionclash.nl/

Photography by Team Peter Stigter

FASHIONCLASH Festival 2018- Fashion My Religion!

Taking place over the weekend of 15 - 17 June 2018 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the 10-year anniversary edition of the international and interdisciplinary FASHIONCLASH Festival in Maastricht featured more than 100 designers and artists from all over the world.

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The festival was composed within a 3-day program, and the route?- an inspiring pilgrimage along 26 locations with expositions, theatre and dance performances and talks and contributions by Didem Tali, Dalia Vann, Das Leben am Haverkamp, Elise Crutzen, Sem Shayne, Anton Fayle, KEVIN.MURPHY and many more. We love the festival's colourful cake branding, how creative!

Theme: Fashion My Religion!
The overarching theme of the festival 'Fashion My Religion!' boldly dove into one of the most current themes of the moment; religion. Specifically, the relation between religion and gender, hair style and clothing. FASHIONCLASH challenged participants and visitors to research, highlight or break existing religious traditions and taboos by way of using fashion. A call to activism that hopefully inspires a new generation of fashion- makers and lovers to fulfil their role as meaningful as they can.

From this perspective designers are shaping the future of the shape of things to come. What is the role of our cultural heritage in a constantly changing world? How are new generation designers dealing with their cultural heritage (ancestry and traditions) in a globalised world where everything seems to be at reach?
 

The meeting between fashion and religion isn’t a new one. Religious idioms and luxury have been used for decades by many within fashion. Sometimes just for ethical motives, other times with a dose of criticism. With ‘Fashion My Religion’ we are placing the audience and the designer in an interesting area of tension; fashion versus religion or cutting-edge versus tradition. We take a closer look at cultural expressions of personal, modern meaning and more traditional ones. We place historical absolutes opposite from modern-day fluid truths by really going in on social matters such as, feminism and human rights. Through (fashion) design we dissect the ever-changing awareness around the relationship we have with our environment and come up with new stories and approaches to ‘fashion and religion’.

For more information about the festival and participants visit fashionclash.nl

Stay tuned for more- we will take you through our favourite fashion collections from the festival!

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 7

Sunday March 25th marked the grand finale of a full week of fashion shows at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver.

First up, local brand This is James presented a sophisticated collection of menswear. Classic pieces such as trench coats, pinstriped trousers, and crisp white shirts were juxtaposed with modern detailing such as studs along shoulder seams and floral printed segments.

NOT DEAD YET, an experimental menswear label from Vancouver explored identity and sexuality in the collection SHAME. Models walked with attitude wearing latex in black, vibrant yellow, and acid green with white text ‘pics?’ and ‘loading’ emblazoned across garments.


A duo show meshed the work of US based brands Yuner Shao x Zherui Huang seamlessly together. Yuner Shao’s creations acted as a canvas to carry anti-propaganda messages fusing graphic prints in primary colours. Bright yellow patch pockets and loose belts enhanced the youthful vibe.' Zherui Huang’s casual unisex collection had a focus on technical details. Zips, buckles, and laces infused a sports aesthetic into loose silhouettes with asymmetric shaping. Men's bold blue wide leg pants featured hanging straps and contrast yellow detail for a modern, fresh look.

Marronier College of Fashion Design from Japan presented two emerging designers Mono Watanabe and Rinka Hyodo. Mono Watanabe took us into the future with technical fabrics and fastenings. Greys were placed with accents of green, orange, and purple in layered pieces. Matching knee pads and high zip up neck pieces brought the collection together Rinka Hyodo’s unisex collection pushed an eclectic individual style. An oversized grey sweater was worn over a full length tiered skirt with sparkled edging. Silver eyelets added detail, whilst a textured hood covered in spikes created a unique look.

Next, designer Nadrey Laurent from Ghana showcased a sleek line of figure-flattering dresses with a clerical inspiration. An extensive use of black and white was a nod to the Catholic nun Louise, the Black Nun of Moret, with prints of her character adorning the fronts of looks. A black full-length dress with gold floral detail and high ruffled neckline stole the show.

Milena Rojas brought modern pieces to the runway with computer code prints on transparent PVC layers. This Chilean designer has experimented with texture, utilising tubes and curved lines of beadwork to adorn sweaters, dresses, and culottes. A dark colour palette of blacks and forest greens brings a moody feel to FW18.

Sunday showcased a strong variation of design aesthetics with an evening of delights to end the FW18 season at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 6

Saturday, March 24th, at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver marked a sensational evening of design talent from across the world.

Returning designer Kirsten Ley stunned the crowd with a dark and powerful collection. ‘Nero’ featured a considered colour palette of blacks, neutrals, and deep greens. Sculptured leather was juxtaposed with sheer feminine features, with fitted midi skirts and straight leg pants. An artistic expression for FW18.

 

Blue denim chaps and contrast edge collars brought a western vibe to Evan Clayton’s FW 18 collection NAUSICAÄ, a visual exploration of the classic Studio Ghibli film. Flounced silk voile and crystal clear rhinestone embellishments brought out a feminine feel with a muted palette of black, pewter, navy, and soft nude.

KO by Katherin Olivos kicked off the show with a contemporary dance trio. This Chilean designer, inspired by the diverse landscapes from land to sea, has designed gowns that create movement featuring hand-crafted words and embroidery on heavy and light fabrics. Plus-sized models paraded their fantastical voluminous structured dresses down the runway, with elegant glitter prints catching the light. A line of showpieces, with matching headwear and makeup, the finale showcased Canadian and Chilean flag inspired looks.

Inspired by the transition into the new year, YoonKyung Jang for Korean brand SETSETSET has designed festive prints featuring graphic stripes and white florals in bright colours of red, blue, pale pink, lime green, and yellow. Peplum waists and frilled hems give an ultra-feminine feel to fitted skirts and jackets which are paired with red tights and pointed heels.

Japanese designer Nozomi Kuwahara presented a playful collection in a bold colour palette of yellows, pinks, purples, and reds. Hints of humour shine through the line with a yellow high turtleneck totally covering the face, a mock crocodile leather dress complete with eyeball embellishments, and colourful ‘shoe monsters’ adorning the models feet. Experiments in fluffy faux fur and a red sparkly ‘tongue’ wrap around dress gave a youthful feel for FW18.

Eros Tolentino, an Italian designer, featured ruffled dresses with overlapping fabrics. Inspired by the true story of 52, the loneliest whale in the world, Tolentino uses raw fabrics and oversized silhouettes to give a soft feel to an artistic, conceptual line. Basic staple pieces such as button downs, trousers, and tailleur are the fundamentals for textile manipulations.

Vancouver local, Alex S. Yu returns to VFW for FW18. His unisex collection ‘The Crimson Demur’ featured loose structured silhouettes with subtle patterns. In classic Alex S. Yu style there was a casual feminine feel with bright reds complimented by both deep and pastel pinks in mini and floor-length looks. For menswear, we saw statement bomber jackets, shorts, and pocketed T-shirts.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 5

Friday night was a night of contrasts at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver.

Profanity by LillzKillz showed the world the latest and greatest in streetwear in what could only be described as ‘fashion-on-acid’. The young Vancouver designer gets her inspiration from music, but the clothes are unquestionable of her own expression – profane, eclectic, and cool. Lillzkillz used bold neon, shiny latex, checkered print, coloured tiger-print fur, and platform shoes to wow the crowd and kick off the start to the weekend.

Apparel Magazine curated a group of New Zealand designers in an inspiring and varied show. First, Georgette Pollock- Johnston, with the Renée collection, named after her late grandmother, shows off sensuous kimono-wraps, lustrous overcoats, evening dresses, and pantsuits. Featuring iconic imagery of Renée in a Versace-esque style, embellishments include pearls, crystals, and beads. The ‘first love’ collection by Traceygh featured pastel tones in floaty silks and chiffons for a light and free feel. Jerome Taylor for Not For You, a high-end men’s streetwear line featured a crepe de chine trench coat, logo branded bombers, and tough-looking leather boots for a collection with attitude.

San Fran based brand JK Menswear presented deconstruction-style men's outerwear for FW18. Designer Julie Kintner, inspired by the ‘uncut’ aesthetic of walking in the forest, getting lost and feeling raw, plays with patterns and textures that complement nature, with contrasts of neon and metallic for effect. Silkscreen prints feature on loose-fitting utility coats, pleated t-shirts, hoodies, drawstring shorts, pants, and bomber jackets.

L.A brand Nadjarina is all about detail, seamlessly blending organic and industrial inspirations. Thread fringe style embellishments add texture to tops, and pale blue is complimented with natural colours. The model's feet were wrapped in ribbon in place of shoes, giving off a care-free vibe which matched the garments beautifully.

Arizona based designer Alexander Sanchez showcased a flamboyant collection of feminine gowns. The elegant line expressed high luxury design and style with a transition through yards of black silk, structured dresses and jackets, sleek velvet, sequins, white lace, frilled hems, and ruffled cuffs.The showpiece; a full-length lace number in vibrant red complete with long train gave a dramatic finale.

Japanese brand Perspective.Tokyo followed a utilitarian style, with a uniform of off-white discoloured fabrics, lifted with printed numbers and letters. A unisex clothing line, with pieces to switch and layer up, all in a subdued palette. A minimalist men's look was composed of a button up grandad collar jacket with square patch pockets worn with wide leg pants and sliders. Layers of soft fabrics were shaped with belts and straps; a collection of pieces to inspire thought.

Inspired by shadow and reflection Australian designer Allie Howard looks at revealing and concealing the body. Leather is developed with laser cutting, bonding, layering, weaving, and stacking creating intricate textures for her FW 18 collection GRID. A collection of hybrid forms of natural fibres, leather and organza silk; this is clean and sophisticated womenswear with beautiful finishes and graphic shapes.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 4

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver marked an evening of variety with a strong selection of designers from around the world, and a special four-legged friend opening a show.

Kicking off the night were students from La Salle College in Vancouver. The feature began with an attention to Global Warming – rethink, reuse, recycle as the theme for the four collections. The first designer was Shuo Yang, who beautifully layered blue and white tones together. Second, Azam Rezahosseini transitioned to gold and floral details, with pops of colour from the inside linings of black and white pieces. A full-length black tulle skirt added volume to a line of sleek bodysuits, slitted pants, and high waisted short shorts by Daniela Dominguez. Sharp black and white contrasts were utilized with creative cuts and mesh fabrics, with textures created by boning and fastenings. Next, Gurkirat Narang’s collection brought pastel hues of nude, red and green to life with detailed high extended necklines. Alannah Anderson closed with a textured collection of ruffled tulle in navy blue.

Vancouver designer Melissa Yin showcased flattering cuts with her eponymous leather-based brand, presenting ‘Nine to Five’ a collection of edgy yet sophisticated pieces to take you from day to night. Bright lipstick-red leather was contrasted with cream and black shades in fitted silhouettes. A striking look was formed with an elegant black full-length dress with short-capped sleeves and a cinched-in waist. Silver star-shaped zippers and rhinestone trim caught the light with an inspiring attention to detail.

The House of AmZ exhibited stand out pieces featuring cross-stitching and cinching techniques. The FW18 collection was composed of feminine silhouettes created from wool and silk pieces. A palette of soft purple and crème colours was intertwined in A-line skirts, cuffs, and draping sleeves. Designer, Alexandra Zofcin, cultivates a modern expression of femininity.

Bia Boro Bamboo brought a fresh floral unisex collection of underwear and loungewear for FW18. A youthful energy ignited the runway with tropical floral prints on soft cotton fabrics perfect for laid-back days. A special guest, Christopher the Pig brought smiles to the audience as he opened and closed the segment.

Australian brand Minestilo put a spin on blazers and trousers with pleat detail and structured fabric. The folding and origami techniques create dimensional and modern shapes from a classic look.

U.S designer Jordan Ewing for ZURI bridal showcased a dreamlike collection of wedding gowns. A tribute to her grandparents' era, the style accentuates the classically glamorous period with polished elegant silhouettes. Fine laces and intricate beading complimented beautiful chiffon, silk satins, crepe, and organza. A highlight was an exquisite beaded floral lace gown with sweetheart neckline and exposed back.

Bright clashing colours and eccentric prints marked Barbara Riordan’s collection for U.S brand Pariah. The designer's brazen sense of humour shone through her new unisex line, 'Alchemy', with vibrant cartoon prints on sweaters, circle skirts, and trench coats. Black is used throughout as a contrast to emphasize the vivid tones. A highlight look; a bright yellow comic strip printed two-piece featuring cropped fitted jacket and a 3 tiered mini skirt.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 3

Wednesday was a night to highlight local design talents from Vancouver and Canada as a whole.

VCC kicked off the night with a wide variety of grad student talent. James Jurome created a fresh collection of edgy menswear with a military influence, featuring an original print of enzyme treated tencel twill. Stella Chu’s collection of classic pieces in a nude palette oozed confidence, and Nico Gruzling’s line of casual womenswear brought utility inspired overalls and hooded dresses with creative cutouts. Katherine Potter closed the show with ‘Circus Circus,’ a fun and over-the-top mix of loud prints paired with fur, leather, and floral embroidery.

KPU alumni MUVMINT draws from a dance background to create a line that is simple yet effortlessly cool. Each piece is inspired by hip-hop culture. Cropped windbreakers, letterman jackets with oversized text, and a plethora of spandex in a neutral palette combined for a collection built for both the stage and the streets.

CRAZYYABAI, the brainchild of 16 year old high school student Ming Lim, electrified the runway with her collection of unconventional looks inspired by the punk energy of Tokyo. Mesh jackets, fishnet sweaters, and bright plaids were covered in dramatic graffiti and accented with chains. Bold black eyeliner topped it off to set a rebellious tone.

Against a soundtrack of heavy rainfall, Studio Jason Siu's unisex collection highlighted a style of sophisticated everyday wear, each garment striking a balance between luxury and versatility. An imaginative attention to detail, with subtly unique elements including zippers open at seams creating new shapes. A standout look; a beautiful a-line white gown featuring rainbow coloured triangle embellishments concentrated around the bodice and dispersing downwards.

With an aim to break stereotypes, designers Luis Padilla and Ana Carpio from Toronto based brand SUPRAMORPHOUS featured a genderless series of clothing. Collection Anthracite, inspired by black diamond, offered an all-black colour palette with matte and shiny textures, and fringing breaking up sharp cut pieces.

King and Reign closed the night with a show-stopping collection that exuded elegance. Ethereal gowns in soft hues of blush and aqua graced the runway with a dreamlike quality. Plunging necklines and bodices of feathery lace paired with trailing skirts of airy chiffon that floated around the runway. The collection exquisitely expresses femininity as a work of art.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 2

Tuesday evening at the Vancouver runway started with a succession of local BC based designers at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver.

Atelier Grandi showcased new collection Avium, bringing elements of nature to the runway. Inspired by winter birds of the north, classic silhouettes in hues of canary yellow and cardinal red were contrasted with stark winter white. Textures of airy feathers and warm, soft furs were layered upon luxurious silk and satin to reflect Grandy’s focus on timeless elegance and beauty.

Luxurious, baroque fabrics in deep blues, reds and gold metallics accented with lace trims made a statement in the Nura collection by Nauni J, a Vancouver designer. Full skirts with tulle were contrasted with figure-hugging body suits and exposed backs. Every piece evoked a sense of glamour and luxury.

JIJIN Design of Indianapolis presented a modern, edgy collection of two-piece looks. Minimalist metallic slip dresses laid the foundation for the artistic overcoats of shiny PVC and vinyl, detailed with geometric shapes hanging off sleeves and towering on the shoulders. Sleek hair with bold eye makeup tied the look together for a futuristic feel.

Si Mee Collections brought one showstopper after another, evoking a sense of feminine flare and confidence. Elegant silhouettes with ruffled high necks, corsets, and couture chiffon were a reminder of European eras past. Sheer details and metallic bodysuits subtly contrast the light white fabrics and sheer georgette. Based out of Nevada, Rosemarie Macklin creates Avant Garde designs for all women, worthy of being seen and recognized.

Beautiful oriental prints with delicate flowers and shapes filled the runway for Baroque Japanesque. An earthy colour palette of deep golds, reds, and blacks set the tone for FW18, with prints adorning silky layers. Japanese designer Shiori Watanabe has created a wide selection of printed pieces to adapt into your wardrobe from skin-tight leggings to kimonos; the exquisite print is placed throughout with matching umbrellas as a highlight.

Allison Nicole Designs from Maryland, U.S showcased a line of elegant femininity, with soft, flowing silks and satins that gently caressed and accentuated the body, each garment adorned with signature, intricate florals. A romantic collection inspired by the female form with muted off-white, blush, pink, and nude shades. A-line waists and free-flowing silhouettes were enhanced with delicate lace, embroidery, sparkling embellishments, and tulle tiers.

An eventful evening of interesting textures, flare, and sophistication.

Vancouver Fashion Week Day 1

Vancouver Fashion Week kicked off the week in style with a sensational selection of designers as part of the designers preview showcase. 14 brands exhibited one key look from their Fall/Winter 2018 collections as a tease of the incredible talent that we are to see throughout the week. Interesting textures created with hanging threads, wire structures, and feathers, were juxtaposed with smooth clean cut leather and fitted pieces. Colours ranged from clashing brights to serene metallics. A highlight reel showcasing an extraordinary mix of design aesthetics from across the globe.

The featured designers displaying their full lines on the first night were Nicole Jedelsky, Who is ATK, and Qiongxin Kou.

 

Nicole Jedelsky, a Sydney based fashion and textiles designer, brought a feminine feel to the runway with velvet and silky textures. White jackets created with folds of fabric envelope the body, and pale olive tones are contrasted with deep dark forest greens. An intricate silky cowl neck dress in a golden hue shimmers in the light.

 

Next, Who is ATK, from Taiwan presents an unconventional menswear collection. Sport infused pieces are juxtaposed with more classical tailoring, and multiple layers create ominous structures. Huge exaggerated shoulder silhouettes, are met with hanging sleeves, and fur lined seams. An earthy colour palette of browns, greys, and whites are lifted with embellishments. A designer who believes clothing should have its own life and soul.

 

For a phenomenal finale, Qiongxin Kou, a Chinese designer based in New York, showcased a dreamy collection of womenswear in pretty pinks, bright blues, and canary yellows. Thigh high mirror shine silver boots are contrasted with soft textured knits. Silky shining ruffles and pleated layers, flared sleeves, and printed quilted jackets demonstrate a thoughtful collection of wearable pieces.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Allison Nicole Designs

Intricate fabrics, bespoke fittings, and enhancing the female form, we talk to U.S designer Allison Berger ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

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MM: Can you explain your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Allison Berger: Allison Nicole Designs specializes in bridal, evening, and red-carpet gowns with an elegant yet ethereal aesthetic. I love to create breath-taking pieces for everyone to enjoy.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Allison Berger: I launched my namesake collection, Allison Nicole Designs, in spring 2017, but my love for sewing and design sparked at a very young age as I saw all the beautiful creations my grandmother made. I received my first sewing machine at the age of 12, and immediately knew that I wanted to pursue her a career in the fashion industry.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Allison Berger: I learned the business of fashion through working alongside other successful apparel design businesses, as well as earning my degree in Apparel and Merchandising/ Apparel Design and Production from Colorado State University.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Allison Berger: I find inspiration from everywhere and everything, especially from nature.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Allison Berger: My creative process is about transferring my ideas to paper and then actually constructing the piece. Most of my creative process starts with the intricate fabrics. From there, they transform into beautiful delicate pieces, with lots of love along the way.

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Allison Berger: My favourite part of being a designer is having the opportunity to create something beautiful. I love seeing the finished product and also seeing the feeling the clients get when they wear my pieces.

https://www.allisonnicoledesigns.com/MM: You also work with alterations, how does this process work?

Allison Berger: We believe that your clothes should fit you perfectly, especially because no one is built exactly the same. We have the client come in, and we have at least one fitting with them. At the fitting(s) we pin and mark where things need to be altered. We have as many fittings as needed to make sure the fit is perfect. For clients who can't come into the studio, we work with them to find the best option.
 
MM: Can you describe the design identity being based in Maryland? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Allison Berger: I am currently working as a designer in Denver, Colorado. The culture and surroundings have absolutely affected my design aesthetic. The people here and the vibes seem very chill and down to earth. Not to mention, I am surrounded by beautiful scenery including the mountains, the beautiful rolling plains, and fields of flowers.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W18 collection?

Allison Berger: This collection was inspired by the female form. We used soft, flowing silks and satins that gently caress and accentuate the body, and adorned each garment with our signature, intricate florals. The muted off-white, blush, pink, and nude palette hints at nature, while complementing free-flowing silhouettes enhanced with delicate lace, embroidery, embellishments and tulle tiers.

Thank you Allison for your in-depth insights into your design work. We are looking forward to seeing your new collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway next week!

www.allisonnicoledesigns.com

@allison_nicole_designs

 

Designer Spotlight: Milena Rojas

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MM: Can you explain your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Milena Rojas: I believe my brand reflects myself in certain ways. I have developed an experimental and conceptual brand where I can really express myself and play with technology and other available resources. I do manual and detail work, not always with conventional materials. I believe my brand is a mix between cyberpunk and minimalism. And, it is kind of myself, how I look and what my interests are. I love investigating and I believe that’s the heart of my work.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Milena Rojas: I was always passionate about art. Since a young age, I´ve always expressed myself through writing, drawing, and painting. As I was getting older I started to experiment with manual work, cutting my own clothes, sewing, creating. I guess that’s when it started.

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MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Milena Rojas: I went to fashion school in Santiago, Chile. I learned pretty much everything there, with my amazing professors. Also, I like to be an autodidact, so I’m always searching for information and teaching myself. Youtube tutorials are the best, really!

MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Milena Rojas: My mind works really fast. Sometimes, in a simple conversation, a subject comes out and from that I remember an image I saw...then I remember where I saw it, why it interested me, and what made me feel. And then I just have an idea, or a curiosity and I start to investigate it. Most of my work comes from being intrigued about something, so I believe the unknown is what inspires me.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Milena Rojas: First I have an interest, then I start my investigation. From that, I conceptualize that particular subject, I give my meaning to it. Then I search for images of everything connected. Sometimes more subjects appear, more investigation is made and when I feel good about my concept I start to experiment with textile and textures and materials. When I’m done discovering what I want to do, I sketch. Then it comes to the pattern making, color choices, print development, fabrics, the cutting process and finally the making of the garment.

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MM: What is your favorite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Milena Rojas: My favorite part is experimentation. I love creating new and crazy textures. I love making something that it is not clothes into clothes. It’s fun!

MM: Your work is very experimental with a focus on textile manipulations. Are you always investigating something when you create?

Milena Rojas: Yes! My textures comes from my reference of concept, and my concept comes from investigation. I always dig about what I’m interested in at the moment and I try to really learn about it. I go the deepest that I can.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W18 collection?

Milena Rojas: Me F/W18 Collection begins with an investigation about new technologies and the dehumanization of society. Under the concept of dehumanization, UNHUMAN is born, as an invitation to think, to search for consciousness and awareness of the effect of technology in us and our environment. As raw materials for my garments I used technological waste, creating unique pieces that I hope will become timeless garments of worship.

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MM: How is it working as a designer in Chile? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Milena Rojas: I believe I carry a lot from Brazil with me, as it is my native country, but I also carry it from Chile, so I believe I’m a hybrid. I feel connected with both countries and I believe the surroundings affect not my design aesthetic but my design thinking, my design values and the kind of professional I am. I always have hunger about something and that’s my fuel.

MM: What are your thoughts about showcasing in Vancouver?

Milena Rojas: I’m excited, nervous, and working like crazy! It’s been unreal and I’m so happy about it. I hope to make a good impression with my work and I hope that it opens more doors for my career. 

Thank you for giving us an insight into your creative process Milena! Be sure to see Milena Rojas' showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week this month.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: PARIAH

We talk inspiration, design identity, and FABRICS with U.S DESIGNER Barbara Riordan ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

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MM: Can you explain your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Riordan: I am Pariah, everything I create is something I want to wear. I have always had a strong fashion aesthetic. I've had friends tell me they couldn't wait to see what I was going to wear, even just at everyday get-togethers. I wasn't 'trying', I was just wearing my clothes. Pariah is an insiders brand, for the woman who chooses a unique fashion voice. Each piece is limited edition.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion?

Riordan: I have always been interested in fashion. I've been making my own clothes since I was 6 years old so I was never bound by what was available in stores, I created my own looks.  I feel that a fashion sense is really something a person is born with. 

MM: Your work is very experimental. Are you always investigating something when you create?

Riordan: I have two methods in my creative process. If I am going on a trip or have an event to attend, I start coming up with ideas of what I would want to wear. How am I going to stand out?  If I am going to a formal event where I think others will be wearing black, I will make a pink floral gown. The other method for creating is when I go to the textile shows. Fabrics with colour, print or texture attract me. The fabric tells me what it wants to be; a skirt, a blouse. The fabric speaks to me.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Riordan: A lot of my inspiration comes from the decades I have experienced.  A pop of colour that reminds me of the 60's. A neckline that I wore in the 70's. I'm not reinventing the wheel but I am trying to make it more interesting, more fun. Let's face it, a woman's body hasn't changed from its basic form since Eve. A waist, a bustline, hips. I want to flatter the female body, accentuate the waist, revel in the femaleness.

MM: Here at MM we are very interested in design identity as we talk to designers from all over the world. How has the U.S design scene influenced you? Can you see any cultural influences being based in Indianapolis?

Riordan: I think being based in Indianapolis in the midwest, has allowed my love of outerwear to grow. We have weather of all extremes here. My statement trench coats give women a way to show their personality even on gloomy days. She can walk down the street wearing a Pariah limited edition trench and she can show her strength, her uniqueness. I'm sure the people of Vancouver can appreciate a great trench coat! 

MM: Where do you source your fabrics?

Riordan: I source my fabrics at textile shows. I go to the big ones in NYC. I have a couple of fabric reps in Chicago I use as well.

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MM: Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?

Riordan: I like surprises. In some of my creations, there is a reveal, as you will see. From a distance a skirt or a coat may look like a colourful print, but on closer inspection, it's got chickens on it or the design is comprised of insects.

MM: Can you explain the inspiration behind the F/W18 collection you will be showing at VFW in March?

Riordan: My inspiration for F/W18 is just more of what I want to wear! I want one of each item in my own closet. 

Thank you for giving us an insight into your creative design practises. Catch Pariah's showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week next month.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Baroque Japanesque

We talk to Japanese designer Shiori Watanabe ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

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MM: Can you describe your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Shiori: I am a graphic fashion designer and I create designs that mix traditional Japanese and European art.

MM: In what way do your designs meld the past and present?

Shiori: I use patterns from kimonos, traditional Japanese costumes. Each kimono's print holds meaning which depends on the season, place, the age of the wearer etc. I eliminate historic rules and design in a modern style so that anyone can feel free to wear. I create graphic prints on basic cuts such as T-shirts, leggings, and flared skirts, elevating them into something special.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Shiori: First I decide the colour of the base. And from there I design my favourite patterns- family crests, flowers and so on. I experiment with print placement according to the style of the clothing.

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MM: Which colours are are you currently using?

Shiori: My favourite colours are black, red, and gold but I use a variety of colours when I design.

MM: Where do you usually look to for inspiration for your designs?

Shiori: My design starts with colour. I find colour inspiration all around me. For example sometimes I see a colour I would like to use when watching movies. I remember the image in my head before going to bed. Once the colour is decided, I focus on the design and then go about making the garment.

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Shiori: I can create clothes with my favourite patterns, and it feels so good to see others wearing my designs.

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MM: How has the Japanese design scene influenced you and your designs?

Shiori: I am inspired by the works of art made by traditional Japanese craftsmen. They inherit hundreds of years of traditional craft and make delicate fine arts. I am influenced by the Yuzen dyeing of kimonos, Kumiko craftwork, and lacquerware. I also love the prints of Hokusai.

MM: Can you describe the F/W 18 collection you will be showcasing in Vancouver in March?

Shiori: This time I have mainly designed Japanese style prints. The prints are used in two kinds of styles; sporty clothes and dresses. I've updated sportswear to look fancy and fun, whilst the dresses are centred around highlighting women's beauty.

MM: What does the future hold for your brand Baroque Japanesque?

Shiori: I would like to continue drawing beautiful Japanese and European prints and to collaborate with other designers. I would like to see my designs being worn all over the world!

Thank you Shiori Watanabe for giving our readers an insight into your design practices. We look forward to seeing your collection on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week next month.

https://baroque-japanesque.shopinfo.jp/

https://www.instagram.com/baroquejapanesque/

https://twitter.com/baro_japanesque

LECRESCENDO at New York Fashion Week

Micro Macro attends a F/W 18 Clothing presentation.

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Off the beaten track, at Bennett Media Studio, NY, we were welcomed into a unique space for a special presentation during New York Fashion Week of label LECRESCENDO. Creative director Selene Guo, conceived the brand for her senior thesis in Parsons school of art and design. LECRESCENDO was created with lifestyle in mind: fine clothing that makes a poetic connection with life. This new label has continued to expand upon its core tenets of applying its own narrative into clothing and accessories.

This F/W18 collection was presented via display/performance format. Models slowly entered the space from a staircase below, one by one, walking around us before stepping onto the raised stage and posing in a group position. The models perfectly reflected the LECRESCENDO's spirit and girlish style. 

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The collection features spliced designs, folding layers, and asymmetrical stitching for detail. There is a beautiful combination of fabrics with special trimmings to show the contrast of thickness, length, and texture. We love this purple knitted jumper, with balloon sleeves and high neck, a stand out piece from the collection.

Each LECRESCENDO collection springs from a foundational concept, with the understanding of clothing as a part of an individual, both physically and spiritually, and the pursuit of the contrast of soft and strong energy. Guo creates unique but wearable pieces designed to become mainstays in a woman’s wardrobe. 

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The theme for Guo’s F/W18 collection is 'Traveler'. “We are travelers. We are not tourists. The only plan is no plan....because we don't know when we will die, we think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.”

From a very conceptual base, Guo has created a selection of highly wearable garments. The fitted black dress with frilled collar, and the flared pants, illustrate a feminine and stylish sensibility. Flares are going to be a trend to watch, and Guo has showcased two creative versions featuring pleats and laced up eyelets.

“How much time will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless. Time flies, but memory keeps.”

A thoughtful and wearable collection all round with checks adding depth to a subdued colour palette.

Readers, what's your favourite piece?

https://www.lecrescendostudio.com/

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA YIN

We talk to Vancouver based designer Melissa Yin ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

MM: Can you introduce yourself and your brand?

Melissa: Melissa Yin is a leather-based women’s ready to wear brand. I'm originally from China and moved to Canada a few years ago. I studied Fashion at LaSalle College in Vancouver from 2015-2017, and then started my brand right after I graduated.

MM: How did you come to be a fashion designer? Did you always want to be a fashion designer?

Melissa: Fashion Design was my childhood dream career. My mom used to be a dressmaker. In China, in the early 80’s, my Mom made me an incredible school bag that was so fashionable-it was made of tons of scrap leftover fabric. Since then, I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.

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MM: Why did you decide to start your own brand?

Melissa: I ended up in a business career and every morning I found I could never find the right clothing to wear. Due to these experiences, I decided to be a designer specifically to design clothing for businesswomen. Fashion has always been my passion, and now to have my own brand means that I can supply the best clothing to my clients.

MM: What are the most important considerations when designing with leather?

Melissa: Leather supplies!

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MM: What drives you to design with leather in particular?

Melissa: In the 70’s and 80’s, leather was so popular, there was such a diverse set of styles. I find that incredibly inspiring. Now I explore and develop leather, adopting vintage styles to current trends.

MM: What are you feeling inspired by at the moment? Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Melissa: To be a niche designer is not easy. Fabric innovation is the most challenging part. I read science articles about new developments, which inspires me. I travel often, meet different people, and look at what they are wearing.

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MM: As a leather artisan, you must always be on the look out for new versions of this material to incorporate into your designs. Can you tell us about any in particular?

Melissa: Lamb stretch leather is the brand's main material because it has the benefits of combined leather and fabric. Our mission is to dye it to the desired colour, and make it durable.

MM: What part of the design process do you enjoy most? 

Melissa: I love machine sewing. Matching every single seam perfectly. Accuracy is key.

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MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W 18 collection NINE TO FIVE?

Melissa: The 70’s! Pop red colour, flared pants, and grease leather. The flattering designs give today’s busy woman confidence going from day to night. The elegant lines are perfect for the office while the leather brings an evening feel for after work. Zipper details add an edgy feel whilst also being functional.

MM: Can you describe the colour palette of your F/W 18 collection?

Melissa: It’s a palette of striking contrasts; Red, Black, and Ivory. 

We cannot wait to see the collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway. Thank you Melissa for taking time to talk to Micro Macro about your leather-based brand.

Photos by Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Global Fashion Collective.

https://melissayin.co/

CONCEPT KOREA SHOWCASE AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

LIE and GREEDILOUS showcase progressive Korean fashions for F/W 18

Concept Korea returned to NYFW to showcase two of South Korea’s most promising design talents, LIE by Chung Chung Lee and GREEDILOUS by Younhee Park.

The fashion industry has taken notice of the growing South Korean infatuation that is emerging from Seoul. The city, now a permanent fixture in the industry, is responsible for influencing some of the most infectious trends and inspiring the biggest names in fashion.

Concept Korea is a collaborative project to promote Korean fashion designers. This F/W 2018 season marks the organization’s seventeenth time showing at New York Fashion Week.

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First up, GREEDILOUS, a brand by designer Younhee Park. Park has previously showcased in Seoul and Paris, and was nominated for the 2014/2015 International Woolmark Prize. The F/W 18 collection was inspired by beauty in women represented with extreme glamour, the Palace of Versailles, and Marie Antoinette’s romantic style. Park revisited the vintage appeal of playing with beautiful patterns from nature to reinterpret Marie Antoinette as a fantastical creature representative of the brand’s unique identity. There is a beautiful mix of textures with vivid colours and bold graphic patterns following the Maximalist trend. Describing the look as ‘futuristic modernity’, Park creates a feminine style with masculine undertones that manages to be both classic and directional.

LIE designer from Lee Chung Chung is the son of renowned designer parents who founded the legendary Korean fashion house LIE SANGBONG. Commencing his design career in menswear on the famed Saville Row under the guidance of the celebrated menswear designer Oswald Boateng, Chung solidified his tailoring skills, which eventually led to launching his own line.

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Inspired by the striking image of a wary polar bear stranded on a shrinking iceberg, LIE made its second NYFW appearance with the F/W18 collection, “GLOBAL WARMING; It’s not justICE.” The collection aimed to portray an important message that “it’s not just ice” that is affected from the devastations of global warming. This season, Chung strives to bring awareness to the collapsing unity between humans and nature with his clothes. Dusty pale blues are contrasted with bold rainbow colourways, and transparent PVC's are paired with soft furs for a unique and feminine collection.