Sanglak Shon understands that from an essential (consumer) point of view, fashion is about both looking and feeling good. A casual kind of cool where perceptions of ‘sexiness’ can be expressed and challenged. His graduate collection does this in a language of rich zig-zags and broken-then-reconstructed textiles: a metaphor for the perverted and paradoxical nature of repetition. Time becomes the new luxury as Sanglak revels in taking hours to craft his fabrics. The result is a strong, wearable and relatable collection, best seen in the powerful and aesthetically pleasing imagery here shown.
Photography by Stephane Yu
“I re-allocated fabric in a time consuming and repetitive way as to me, the idea of repetition is perverted.”
Can you tell us about your design ethos?
My design perception is all about casual and sensual feelings. For me, garments have no meaning without the wearer. I create clothing for real life, because the core reason of wearing garments is to tempt the viewer and to reveal a sensual appearance. I focused on that personal aspect for my final collection by using real-life, sensual textures.
How was the approach at the RCA?
The RCA Menswear tutor, Brian Kirkby, is always respectful of each individual approach. I have been living in an excessively rigid environment for twenty-eight years and receiving a standardized education. But at the RCA I had the freedom to do anything I wanted. One of the guest lecturers, Frances McGarry, helped me to build my own ‘man’, understanding who I was creating my clothes for: this was a good criterion whenever I felt confused.
When developing and transforming your collection, how important was working with different creative forms and how did you break the conventions of ‘usual’ design?
My Work In Progress show performance was about the process of making flow. I drew a standard denim jacket on Yuki, using lipstick. Once drawn, he rubbed it off with a set of basic tops and trousers, and what was once a denim jacket changed into a print on the t-shirt through his actions. This represents my design process: to break the conventional design. Lace has a conventional image of sensuality and delicate luxury; I broke the usual repetitive lace patterns, by ripping and re-stitching it. I then made a new flow-like tap-water lace. I wanted to play with this idea and the concept of time. I re-allocated fabric in a time consuming and repetitive way as to me, the idea of repetition is perverted.
Lace also relates to sensuality and fetish as does thin jersey and socks. Drawing upon the idea of time, I would end up consuming many hours in the week to create these broken textiles. My interpretation of repetition as perverted meant that I started to fabricate in a perverted way. I spent a lot of time with the zigzag machine, constantly repeating the same motion consciously and unconsciously at the same time.
Photography by Taeyoun Park
“I create clothing for real life, because the core reason of wearing garments is to tempt the viewer and to reveal a sensual appearance.”
Did you gain industry experience before your MA?
I come from a different major and the RCA is my first experience of fashion design. I have never worked in the fashion industry, but I used to be a customer. As a customer, it is hard to get good trousers, so firstly I focused on trousers when I started to design my collection — due to that reason! My final goal is to launch my own label, but for now I want to work within the industry and gain a good understanding of how it functions.
I am really excited to learn how designers interpret customers’ needs while still using their own design language. As a student and a consumer, I only see two ends of the spectrum. I have yet to be exposed to the actual design process that a brand goes through, and I am particularly excited to see how a garment develops within a design studio where there is a team of designers. It is then translated into a singular collection that goes into the consumer market or is publicized.
How has your time at the RCA been, on the whole?
It’s been a really happy time at the RCA: it was a good opportunity to find myself. I had a really good experience with my menswear friends as we always went to the bar in the college. We danced together and drank loads with each other: It helped me forget messy thoughts!
Words by Lilah Francis