The day of the show, you and Beth Postle were awarded the L’Oréal Professional Creative Award. Congratulations!
Usually the students know it a bit earlier, but we literally found out about the award one minute before the show. My memory of it all is kind of a blur now — it was such a surreal experience!
Exploring craftsmanship, colour and textured materiality comes naturally to the York-born designer who started knitting at age 11. In order to challenge the gendered, commodified paradigms of fashion design, Bovan believes that you need to push your own unique way of expression. While he celebrates the internet for its democratising effect on high fashion elitism, the 24 year-old is simultaneously critical of the accelerated circulation of images and styles through the hyperreal world of social media.
What has been happening since then?
We had an internal exhibition at Saint Martins for the industry and we still get marked by our tutors. The show is over, but you know there is still a lot going on! I’m working on my portfolio; people are requesting pieces for shoots – it is a new situation again.
Can you talk us through the process of finalising your MA collection? What is its core theme?
It was a very personal and organic process. I looked at yarns, nail varnishes, spray paint… I get really excited by colours, I literally cannot resist. I just love to make things and the way I put colours and textures together is a natural extension of who I am and what I wear myself.
Everyone is talking about new technologies and innovation in textiles. Where do you see the future of fashion?
I think now more than ever there is so much pressure on young designers to do everything, you know? From interesting shapes and great accessories to silhouettes and processes. With the internet, everyone has seen so much that there is a constant hunger for newness. It is scary but also exciting. You need to keep pushing things. There are still many formulas in design that are very traditional because they are targeted to sell. Those are obviously not the most innovative things.
In comparison to other creative industries looking for new, experimental forms, the fashion world seems to stick to rather conventional paradigms of the designer-as-genius, the collection, the show… Do you agree?
That’s true. The formulas of the seasons and the shows are very rigid and the money involved is insane. This is really the problem with setting up your own label: you need the money to keep up with the system.
How do you feel about working in a big fashion house as opposed to founding your own label?
I have always wanted to do my own label, but financially it is a big step. I enjoy doing consulting and freelancing as well because you have to apply yourself to different people’s ideas. But I will always work on my own things.
“My pieces look very different in flesh than in a photo because there are so many textures and layers to them. I see and touch them, but of course most people will only see my designs online.”
The death of Louise Wilson, the V&A celebrating Alexander McQueen, Li Edelkoort forecasting the end of fashion as we know it… There seems to be a sense that an era in fashion has come to an end.
I think the internet is changing everything, really. More is happening online each season, and things become more accessible. I think it is a good thing, it is democratising the system. Fashion shouldn’t be niche or pretentious.