The rebranded Loewe is a hot topic. Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Print aptly tapped into this well, and set a brief for the second year students: to design a tailored jacket and a full outfit for the Spanish fashion house, using a certain percentage of leather. Exactly how much? That seems to be the question. “I think it started with 80% leather and went down to 30%,” says Nathan Korn, a student whose designs comprised fruits mixed with flowers, denim, dungarees and a good dose of screen printing.
Did you have any guidelines or restrictions that informed your designs?
With tailoring there are a lot of restrictions, but as far as we were instructed, we only needed a collar and lapel, a set-in sleeve and some sort of pocket. Also, the leather proved difficult to manipulate through the means of tailoring. I think I found a way around that by making the actual jacket out of denim and then slapping some printed leather and leather flowers on top!
What were your references for the Loewe project?
I knew that I wanted to do something very romantic and had been looking at Dutch flower paintings. But I also had this vague, blurry image in my head of a big bowl of fruit falling over, and all the fruit tumbling through the air. The whole idea came together when I saw the work of photographer Walker Evans at an exhibition. He had documented the lives of a family for the Farm Security Administration in America during the Great Depression. I was thinking about this family, stuck in black and white, bringing in their harvest of fruits and flowers to decorate themselves and their home, and using things they already had, like tablecloths and old denim overalls. It really made me want to start a farm. This project has actually influenced my life a lot since, I can’t just walk past fruit stalls or flowers anymore. I have to stop and look at everything. And I’ve started growing indoor plants as well.
What do you type into Google when you blank out, and you don’t know where to start searching for ideas?
I’m not sure if my mind ever blanks out, it’s more a constant whirring of thoughts and ideas that have no real place or purpose or relevance. I can be thinking about oranges and then I’m Googling what happened to the actress who played Rachel’s baby on Friends. But I think doing that helps sometimes. I think at one point I was lost on a Google tangent and ended up finding lots of glass fruit and things started happening. I find that things have a tendency to find me before I even know I’m looking for them.
What projects have you done so far?
I’ve done the White Project (loved it), the Shirt Project (loved it), the print and accessory project (loved it), the group project (a learning experience), this Loewe project, a digital print project which turned into a slight continuation of the Loewe project — I focused on fruit packaging — which was for Cacharel, and I’m now working on a couture sampling project. I actually had the briefing for the Grayson Perry project today — I’m so excited, I want to do something very glamorous and elegant, but also fun and cool. I’m feeling inspired by the sexy lady cat from Tom and Jerry. Her name is Toodles Galore. I just don’t want anyone to say ‘Glamourpuss’. It’s more ‘Pussy Glamour’.
I’m curious about your design and making process…
My design process comes a lot from collaging. I don’t think I have the best drawing skills so it’s hard for me to communicate what I’m seeing in my head. I’m a Virgo so I find it difficult to do anything that I don’t think is perfect, so I tend not to draw as much as I should. I find I’m more interested in designing a mood rather than something with extravagant construction. I want to tell a story. As for the making, I had to bleach the denim myself in my bathtub. It didn’t go very well. I had to go to the shop three times to buy bleach, the guy probably thought I was cleaning up a murder scene. The denim didn’t even bleach correctly so I had to use the reverse side. I then screen printed the denim with a gingham I drew on photoshop, and did the same with the draped leather sash. I made the oranges from fruit I scanned in and then had them digitally printed onto a synthetic, which I then fused to orange pleather. It’s a shame that you can’t see the backsides of them, because I think they are quite cute. I made all the leather flowers by hand as well, I’d like to thank Copydex for making all this possible. The print on the t-shirt is digital too, it was a photo I took for my research where I dressed my boyfriend like a farmer (flannel shirt, dungarees, straw hat) and covered him in fresh fruit, fake flowers, and leather. I thought it was too beautiful an image to leave in my sketchbook. The trousers are a trompe l’oeil print of denim seams, blown up on photoshop and then digitally printed. I scanned the denim from my dungarees — no copyright infringement here!
Photography by Phillip Koll