Get to know more about the sleepwalking-inspired garment by the Japanese Fashion Design with Knitwear student.
Ruka Kawai is a girl of few words who dreams big. Dreams are also the key to understanding her work for the White Show. “My garment was inspired by the concept of “sleepwalking”. I looked at the borderline between dreams and reality.” The twenty year old student explains how she wanted her model to walk barefoot, as she wanted to underline the idea of “sleepwalking” and detachment from reality, to suggest the idea of fantasy and dreams. Her garment is a mixture of geometrical lines, oversized shapes and floating fabrics. Ruka explains that these particular features are fundamental to her work, as they better illustrate the idea of “floating”.
The oversized shapes are important, as she explains: “In dreams, we can do whatever we like and the imagination is limitless. So I thought it should be imaginative and unreal.” It is then not surprising that she actually prefers curvy bodies to skinny ones. “I think they better represent the average human body. Their shapes are more real,” she says. For Ruka, the restriction of only using white has not been too challenging, as she says that she usually matches plain white clothes with black ones in everyday life.
The Japanese student from Osaka came straight from the Central Saint Martins Foundation course, where she specialised in Fine Art. This, she says, influenced her last works and research a lot. When asked about what she was concerned about while designing her garment, she concludes: “I wanted it to be wearable, too. That’s fundamental.”
The BA FDM student tells us about how African culture, comic books and verticality inspired his White project.
“The lives of my parents have considerably influenced me,” starts SungWon Hong. The twenty-eight year old student from Busan, South Korea, tells us how he has always been surrounded by fashion. As his father is the owner of a fabric company, SungWon grew up observing the repetitive movement of the fabric machines, the incessant moves of threads and the manufactured products. “I grew up feeling attracted to the fabrics and their smell while they were being manufactured.” He remains entranced with fabrics, and explains that colours have been an important feature in his work.
Even if he thinks this experience will help him in the future, Hong confesses that working with white only made him feel as if all his work turned from being 3-dimensional to be 2-dimensional. This project has been challenging for him since his inspiration, The Dogon tribe’s traditional costumes, are particularly colourful. “Personally, I do research on a daily basis,” Hong says. “Among the projects that I did in the foundation, one was about African culture and I always wanted to do research on this subject. I first found out about the Dogon tribe after I went to the exhibition ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ in the British Library.”
As well as the Dogon tribe, Hong was influenced by his increasing knowledge of the African culture. Verticality seems to be another fundamental aspect of his work. “I think this is very much related to my personality,” says Hong. Exaggeration and elongation played a key role within his design. Highlighting the vertical aspect helps him to set the standard and it makes the whole outfit look more organised. “Actually, I have never thought of myself as a person who emphasised vertical aspects considerably, until I was asked this question. After reading this question, I looked at my past projects again and I surprisingly realised how I actually usually highlight the vertical aspect,” confesses the student.
When asked about the place in which he finds inspiration, Hong concludes: “There is a comic room in Korea where you can read comic books as much as you want, with an hourly payment. Up until now, I often used to go there, read comic books for several hours and get new ideas from them.”
The Fashion Knitwear student talks about how lovers, the Dolly Twins and the idea of separation inspired his White project.
“The inspiration behind my White Show garment was lovers. I looked into the Dolly Twins and their careers as show dancers. I looked a lot into the idea of separation, as they had to divide later on in their careers. I focused on symmetry within the shapes and details of my garment – keeping it separate but still identical, like the twins. I also looked into their Hungarian roots, looking at Hungarian folklore tales, and these creepy religious paintings that were created,” says the nineteen-year old Fashion Knitwear student, Daniel Kellaway-Moore from Dorset. Coming straight from his Foundation year at Central Saint Martins, Daniel says he normally designs with lots of colour. When asked how it was being forced to work solely with white, he believed it to be refreshing. The Dolly Twins also used white and sparkles a majority of the time. Daniel said, “This enabled me to bring in this beautiful weighted silk satin that gave my garment a shine – sometimes it’s nice to focus on quality, rather than mess.”
Daniel described his first year on Foundation as an “insane experience” and “one which he will never forget”. This being his first show, it is only one of the challenges he has faced since he started studying BA Fashion Knitwear. Daniel prefers not to have a definite style in this first year, but to explore them all and keep trying everything out, even if it doesn’t work. “During foundation I had a very strong style, but the BA tutors have really pushed me to develop and make things I would never have thought I could do – so it’s amazing to see how I have progressed in only 3 months. I think it’s nice to take something from every project and every tutor, develop it, and put it into a mixing bowl.”
He admits to be competitive, but also a team player. Being inspired by his friends and the feedback they give him constantly helps Daniel improve to himself, and pushes him to explore new areas of design. The right music also helps him while designing: for the White Show, Daniel wanted atmosphere and drama. “I listened to a lot of strong techno beats, Cloud Castle Lake, and the sound track for the White Show was great – I want to download it!”
Words by Teresa Fogolari
Featured image: left — Daniel Kelleway-Moore, right — Ruka Kawai