Creating marketable products is an essential element of design but sometimes, as a designer, you just want to play around like you did at art college and create something for the sheer hell of it. So when hair stylist, Andrew Cave, invited me to collaborate on a project for the Wella Trend Vision Young Talent Competition I couldn’t resist.
Andrew’s chosen theme for his submission was “Journey of Enlightenment” and was perfectly captured & defined in this striking style.
The style has an incredible lightness of being & there is a strong sense of freedom & empowerment. Incorporating both dark and light elements, reflecting yin-yang. Making such a bold statement requires an inner strength & confidence. The cut challenges traditional gender roles with it’s sharp, angular edge being & is a world away from the flowing hippy-esque locks that many might associate with a woman engaged in a spiritual journey.
Instantly, I knew I wanted to capture this boldness of being by using sheer fabric: there would be nothing to hide behind; it would reflect the true acceptance of self.
The design draws further influence from two key sources: Japanese Zen Buddhism and the work of Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese Avant-Garde designer who founded Comme des Garçons.
“Enso” is the Japanese word for “circle”. In Zen Buddhism, it is symbolic of strength, enlightenment, elegance, the universe & the void. The circle is often left incomplete to reflect the acceptance of imperfection as an inevitable element of life.
The idea of imperfection was very much prevalent in the work of avant-garde designer, Rei Kawakubo. She began designing in the 1970s and was groundbreaking – challenging not only gender roles but also traditional elements of womenswear design, moving away from fashion’s usual desire for a fine couture finish and instead worked with flawed fabrics and experimented with volume.
Bringing these ideas into the final design, we have the wide, trapeze silhouette in sheer organza which allows the model to reveal her true self rather than have her body constricted, contorted or accentuated by the form of the dress. We see her as she really is. Edges are left raw and seams are exposed. The seams themselves are distorted and pulled out of shape rather than the smooth, exact line expected in couture. They reflect the beauty and simplicity in the imperfect.
Andrew Cave is a Principal Stylist with Changes Hair and can be contacted at their Stony Stratford salon.