The Royal 20: Oksana Anilionyte
Oksana Anilionyte’s Fluid’Sense is a collection of jaw-dropping garments made from films of iridescent material. Unable to grasp the opacity of these designs, her garments are a delicate and subtle combination of fashion and science, which encapsulates the relationship between body and material. By collaborating with people that work in an array of disciplines, she became aware of the potential of technology to empower the fashion industry. Focusing on both technicality and aesthetics, Oksana aims to push her limits, experimenting until she is satisfied with her own direction of design.
“I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON A ‘BIOLOGIC’ PROJECT WITH MIT MEDIA LAB, WHERE FASHION AND SCIENCE CAME TOGETHER TO CREATE NEW TRANSFORMING GARMENTS. MY EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH SCIENTISTS INSPIRED ME TO WORK TOWARDS THE FUTURE OF FASHION AND MAKE THESE DREAMS A REALITY.”
Where did your primary inspiration come from?
Curiosity is key to my identity, work, direction, and everyday life. I have always been a curious person, creating random pieces out of anything that I could find. Exploring the body and its intricate shape led me to create body-focused sculptures, which became a natural process I enjoyed. Every collection is a journey that starts in the most surprising places and continues into new ventures.
The approach to design at the RCA is very liberal and individual, with students being encouraged to create their own research. How did you do this, and how has it affected the way you interpret a concept?
The RCA has truly changed my view on fashion and way of thinking, as well as my research methods. Working with talented people from different disciplines was an empowering experience in finding new ways of research and experimentation. This led to discussions that brought in new ideas, notions, and meanings. I had the opportunity to work on a ‘bioLogic’ project with MIT Media Lab, where fashion and science came together to create new transforming garments. My experience working with scientists inspired me to work towards the future of fashion and make these dreams a reality.
Can you speak about the significance of experimentation and development?
The experience both at the RCA and MIT led me to experiment more with new materials and approaches, which influenced my design path. My aim is to balance innovative and traditional material development. Material development gives new meaning to my designs. I am fascinated by the relationship between body and material: approaching design from a liquid perspective and experimenting in order to reach the other end of the spectrum, merged with science. I looked into body temperature and natural perspiration stimulated polymer-based fluid prints, which adapt to human body shapes and become a second skin. This liquid material, which shifts into a new form of textile, has a strong relation to the body. The new meaning of nourishing the garment with the natural stimulus creates an experimental sense of intimacy.
“IN THE FUTURE, I WOULD LIKE TO CREATE MY OWN STUDIO LAB WHERE I CAN BRING PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES TOGETHER. AS A YOUNG DESIGNER I FEEL A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”
Prior to studying at the RCA did you gain industry experience?
Working at top fashion houses gave me a great chance to understand the fashion industry whilst questioning my role in it. My experience at Maison Martin Margiela was mind-blowing, as I worked with truly talented people that had been working with Martin since the beginning. Maison Martin Margiela had such a strong vision and purpose created through collaboration and synergy, which is coincidentally my aim. It has the capability to balance vision and concept as well as making fashion more accessible to people.
Do you understand your work as design or as art? How does your work fit into this spectrum?
I strongly believe that there are different ways of approaching design. What I learnt from the RCA is to be true to your vision. This led me to explore design where the print becomes fluid and changes, moves, and reacts to the human body. From merging aesthetic perspectives with scientific elements, I began to approach design from an unprecedented perspective. I explored the human body, which mainly consists of liquid, in contrast to the materials we wear, which are dry.
Are you excited to head out into the industry?
I am forever grateful to the RCA and the unbelievable people that I met, because the experience truly changed my life. I would like to work on various different projects while maintaining my vision and aesthetic. In the future, I would like to create my own studio lab where I can bring people from different disciplines together. As a young designer I feel a huge responsibility to make a difference. I see myself working towards the future of fashion — merging it with science, technology, and virtual reality. I now have a strong vision of material innovation and how it can change fashion and our relationship with it.
Model Alena Nurgaleeva
Styling Francesca Pinna
Set Design William Farr