Exaggerated proportions, voluminous skirts, and garments with padding added to the derriere and hips were some of the looks presented on the catwalk at the iD International Emerging Designer Awards held in Dunedin, New Zealand on March 13.
The silhouettes and proportions may seem confronting and out of the norm, but that’s what’s exciting. It’s refreshing that emerging designers are approaching garment design and construction in new ways, whether that be using new technology, mixing textures, or playing with proportions.
‘The World Through My Eyes’, was the title of the winning collection designed by Iceland’s Rakel Blom, 26, of Otago Polytechnic. It was also the crowd favourite. Visually bright, colourful, bold and large on texture, Blom used traditional tapestry techniques to create grassy green and red shaggy wool. The wool was hand dyed, cut down and threaded onto a base before being incorporated into the garments and accessories. Its carpet-like texture framed Blom’s vibrant digital prints pop. Inspired by her travels, the prints captured the culture, history and natural environment of the world’s continents. Perspex cut-outs that mirror the images on the prints were also stitched onto the fabric, providing a 3D effect.
Melbourne RMIT fashion graduate Emma Boseley’s collection ‘Hyperbolic Beauty’ was attention grabbing and took second prize. Boseley, 24, described it as exaggerated beauty. She looked at the body in a mechanical sense and how a solid shape can be created on the body, and then how the body can be molded into a new shape. She achieved this by padding a dressmaker’s dummy with the inside of a pillow to change the shape, and canvas and boning to make her garments “stick out”. This included humpbacks, exaggerated bottoms and hips.
Third place also went to Australia. Kathleen Choo, 24, from the University of Technology, Sydney explored the process of pattern formation. The clever construction of Choo’s garments meant major components were completely stitch-free, made possible through inter-locked fabric.
The Most Commercial award went to Blathnaid McClean, 27, from Dublin’s National College of Art and Design. Her collection ‘Expression’ was beautifully executed, dramatic in terms of its strong silhouette, fabric treatment and monochromatic tones. McClean was inspired by German expressionist films from the 1920s and used surface embellishment and hand painting to recreate the use of the chiaroscuro effect used in these films.
Auckland University of Technology graduate Sohong Lim, 22, originally from South Korea won the award for Excellence in Design for her ‘Collage Collection’ that was made mainly out of old military bags.
Other emerging designers worth noting, were Zhou Shi Yang of Shanghai University of Engineering & Science, and Gemma Anastasiou of the University of Technology in Sydney. Yang took her inspiration from Google maps for her collection ‘The Map of Life’, using Photoshop to capture cities, streets and natural environments in print. It was beautiful, wearable and had a great message too. Yang’s aim is to enhance people’s awareness of the need to protect the environment.
Anastasiou’s collection ‘Destructured Bloom’ also followed that theme and was her conceptual interpretation of the current relationship between fashion and the natural world. Her delicate garments looked as so they were made of pressed rose petals and skeletons of leaves.
British milliner and one of the award judges Stephen Jones praised the garment construction of each of the 30 finalists (whittled down from more than 100 entries). Jones scrutinised every stitch and hemline. The high standard made it an extremely tough job for the judges. Jones proclaimed them “all winners though of course, some were more winners than others”.