14 May 2012

Margiela, reciclaGEM and the Neo Artesenal

Maison Martin Margiela, the Parisian couture house founded by the ever so elusive Martin Margiela, Belgium designer, thought to be apart of the "Antwerp 6," the group of revolutionary designers who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts during the first year of the 1980s and, like Rei Kawakubo of Commes de Garcons, brought forth a new recycled/challenging aesthetic that rocked the world of couture, ready to wear, and conveniently garmentry.

While inspired by the desire to create a style brand that unites the Americas, my garments and their reinvisioning of traditional garment aesthetics (i.e. challenging the conventional notion of a sweater by re-styling them into a pair of dhoti pants, taking a bag of unwanted athletic shoelaces and paintstakingly sewing them together into a cross bodice dress- like chest piece, or taking a piece of furniture fabric and hand painting it water based fabric paint), my design choices and sewing practices stem from a different hemisphere, a hemisphere so accustomed to the Western style aesthetics that they have given birth to designers who are able to thwart them, turn them on its head, and re-engage a mode of sustainable production that promotes the one-of-a-kind, hand-washable/brushable, and artesenal garment vs. the mass-produced, planet-energy costly, and replicable one.

(First photo is by Kat Soutar; last two are by me).

Martin Margiela, the Belgium-born, Paris based, elusive designer, who hides from cameras and jumps in and out of our world as if having access to a secret Matrix-type portal, remains my designer inspiration and gives me hope that the painstaking process in which I create my work is not only essential, but stems from a design history. The Neo-Artesenal is not simply an experiment. It's longevity makes it truly a style revolution.

Have you worn anything Neo-Artesenal this week? Have you participated in the ethical style revolution?

Photos from the ever so elusive book, Maison Martin Margiela, published by Rizzoli:

(Title was inspired by the essay written by Vogue Italia contributor, Lele Acquarone, and her column "Scrapbook," in which she features Margiela)

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