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Imagine you were a designer for Celine. Accessories designer. Head of accessories – bags, shoes, sunglasses, jewelry and all.
Accessories designer Louise Davies and Johnny Coca.
He was also the guest tutor for the recent accessories project of 2nd Year Fashion Design and Marketing. The students were briefed by Johnny to develop an innovative concept for designing a bag where coolness, function and beauty were priority.
After a month of intense work, designing and sampling, the students were gathered for a talk with Johnny where he gave some invaluable insight about what it is to be the designer of the most coveted bags worldwide, he looked through sketchbooks, research and samples of students and gave his personal feedback.
Thanks to Heather Sprout, 1 Granary also managed to hear Johnny’s talk.
Almost as if a tale, Johnny started by telling us that he didn’t study to be a designer. His first step into the fashion world was designing and drawing windows for the Louis Vuitton boutiques just to earn some extra cash. Inevitably these windows had bags and drawing them Johnny thought “Oh it is really easy to design bags”. He drew some, showed them at LV and there he was with his first job.
Then there were Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and other dream employers.
After designing for Celine for 4 years and traveling between Paris and London, Johnny Coca knows how to design what people want before they even know they want it.
Which made him the perfect guest tutor. Johnny spoke with all 17 FDM students and explained the strengths and weaknesses of their work.
There were a few best designs chosen, those of Grace Gowers, Qiying Fang, Nathan Moy and Ella Ren but one was the lucky bastard to be pointed out as a winner – Amir Khorasany. His design is indeed very cool. He wanted a malleable feel for the structure of the bag so there were references to artists such as Robert Morris and Daniele Papuli.
You can see examples of his beautiful play with leather strips and the bag’s prototype.
Wait for the best part! As a winner of the project, Amir’s design is going to be brought to life in Celine’s very own French factory!
“When you figure out what you want to do, what category you want to develop as your future job, make sure you are the best.”
Here is Johnny’s advice to CSM’s students:
When I started designing bags, I said to myself, ‘Okay, I want to know everything now – how to design, how to make it, the leathers, the fastenings, all the market, all the competitors, everything.
Only creativity isn’t enough. I meet so many designers that are very creative but don’t know the market or what the people want or how to adapt their style to a brand and the other way around.
There should be no question you cannot answer in your field. After that you can move to another category. For example after accessories, I knew everything on sunglasses and optical, then everything on shoes. You have to be able to explain to the team, to a CEO, to a factory worker. Learn everything.
After that is it quite easy and you can select who to work for.
As Heather Sprout pointed out ‘Once you leave college, the real education begins’.
Having worked as an illustrator for fashion related clients such as Style.com Korea and Elle Girl Korea, Hyon describes himself as, “just one of those cartoon geeks during school”. It was his work at these prestigious magazines which drove Hyon towards fashion and which helped lead to his successful application for Womenswear at CSM! Now in his second year, Hyon talked to me about college life and his involvement with the glorious CSM program on everyone’s calendar – the Galliano Project.
“I’m still in progress.”
Upon my asking about his expectations of CSM, Hyon instantly replies that “it was way better than I expected.” He puts it down to his amazing classmates because of the fun they have on every project as well as the total variety of styles across the board. “So much jealousy and learning is going on in me at the same time because of these amazing people.” And how does he define CSM’s education style? “Free. Students can do whatever with their work but it has a really well-built structure. That is what I realised when I had a look at my first and second year works recently.” He highlights that his identity is becoming “more and more clear” but admits “I feel that it’s getting really ambiguous as well. I’m still in progress.”
What is most challenging about fashion?
Balancing myself between ideality and reality.
I was eager to ask about Hyon’s experiences on the Galliano project. This year the project sparked an absolute bonanza of frantic and frenzied tweeting when the man himself was spotted roaming around the Granary Building. His mysterious and magical appearance was due to the fact that he was taking part in a crit with the project’s highest scoring 19 students. Casual. Hyon’s initial reaction? “Wow. It was a great experience to see him in reality.” Hyon exclaims it still feeling “surreal that he even commented” on his work, not to mention he gave “nice comments and advice about my work in person. It didn’t matter whether he is my favorite designer. All my friends and I were beyond excited on the surprising morning.” To get good feedback from John Galliano… This bodes well for Hyon’s future, wouldn’t you agree?
I wanted to get under the skin of “Photosynthesis Woman”. I had looked back on a feature about Hyon’s take on sustainability in the past project “I’m so sorry”. Relating his current work to photosynthesis, I wanted to ask if this project was also concerned with themes of sustainability. He laughs and remarks, “I never thought that two project could look related. My Galliano Project, ‘Photosynthesis Woman’, was inspired by the American painter, Edward Hopper.” A prominent American realist painter in the twentieth century, Hopper’s paintings are loaded with a sense of intrigue, contemplation and sparsity; the commonplace is transformed into something hauntingly poetic. In particular, Hyon focused on Hopper’s painting ‘Morning sun’. When he saw the painting for the first time, Hyon had a very clear image of a woman: “There is a woman sitting on her bed on a lazy Sunday morning. The time is around 11am; she enjoys staring out of window in peaceful sunshine. She thinks back of what she has done in week days and thinks of what things will happen in a new week…” He endearingly comments that “probably I have gone too far” but reaffirms the idea that “somehow we all have this kind of recharging time in our lives. So the project was actually about the recharging time to get energy for new days.”
Does fashion need to be more sustainable?
Some designers think about it but the others don’t. This is also my contradiction as long as I do fashion.
In terms of project development, Hyon tells me it was a bit unusual in terms of not having that much preparatory time! “I just simply played with Galliano’s legendary works and got some basic shapes of collection. All the collage was for explaining my idea to people to understand my theme more easiely. I love making collages as well.” (Who doesn’t?) “It is like recreating new images with existing images.” Busy beavering away with his part time work and projects at college, Hyon tells me he is excited by graphic print designs beyond the realms of fashion. These he researches on the internet in the rest of his time.
Any hopes, dreams, plans or expectations for the bright future?
Having a great final year of work firstly. I still haven’t figured out things after graduation. I am open to all possibilities.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
Congratulations for the birth of 1 Granary’s Magazine !!!!
For more of Hyon’s work featured on 1 Granary: http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/projects/hyon-park-i-am-so-sorry-2nd-year-womenswear-sustiainablty-project/
For more on Galliano’s visit to CSM also featured on 1 Granary: http://1granary.com/central-saint-martins-fashion/graduates/how-awesome-it-is-when-john-galliano-casually-comes-to-csm-to-see-students-work/