The idea that there are other living beings in the universe which is constantly expanding after ‘The Big Bang’ has always raised my curiosity. If you find yourself more curious when you realise our pop culture deals with the universe, astrophysics, aliens etc. that may well be very normal. I started to wonder how the music video E.T. (Extra-Terrestrial) by Katy Perry explored the two conflicting areas between the academic and the commercial, and created a chemical reaction.
The alien is paradoxically human-like. There is a very creative perspective that portrays them as normal as humans and I was mesmerised by that approach. The alien in E.T. is none other than a human being. In other words, it is not a grotesque object in the extra-terrestrial realm, but just another human being that the author endears so much. Why did the author define the subject as a human when she loved it as an alien? It is derived from the author’s subjective methodical approach. Now, the author is in the groggy state and he personifies this state of mind to be impossible to take place on the earth. Therefore, by extension, this “impossible to take place on the planet” approach is the extra-terrestrial in the form of the alien. Although this is a very subjective, personal approach, it comes across so powerfully to me that I started to question how this could be visually portrayed.
This video shows various scenes of the wild — a new born deer just starting to walk, the blossom of flowers and a galloping cheetah chasing a fleeing deer. They showcase beyond what humans are capable of. At the centre of them all, there is death.
It can be a tearful moment to watch a new-born deer run as far away as she can from a cheetah but ends up having their last breath in the mouth of a lion.
However, I sensed a moment of beauty in this life of the wild.
Life and death are conflictive like sides of coins. It starts with birth and ends with death.
As brutal as it may sound, life leads to death. When life is fashioned in the womb, it’s the moment that DNA fuses together. In other words, all lives begin their mission from birth to death in their own ways. Whilst watching this video clip, I witnessed what life is, what it is to live life, the power of life and the beauty of all lives by this trajectory.
Likewise, life is not inevitably the opposite of death if you think about this cause and effect alignment — the cause being birth and the effect being death. It is just that all the beings trickle slowly to the end and the effort just to live life terminates in death. This view about life showcases the beauty from every living creature. As brutal as it may seem, we cannot judge what is good and what is evil. The lion is on a mission of living its life and so is the deer.
The beauty of life as it is without any judgemental or involvement to determine what is right and wrong.
‘The Pure Image of Life’
That is the centre of Spring/Summer 2020.
I started to materialise this pure image of life in the form of garments. I made an effort to coming up with an idea to portray where nobody compares against standards and where there does not exist the notion of what the beauty should be. The answer to that is ‘leave them be’, whether they are creased or have some defects.
‘Untouched, Unmodified, Leave it as it is’
' Untouched', 'Unmodified' 그리고 'Leave it as it is'.
Those are the key words of this collection. My aim was to represent these concepts on the clothes.
Life activities without judgement are only cause and effect. It reacts as it is written in DNA. It’s all about action and reaction and this law governs the ecosystem. Ironing the creased clothes does not take place in this law. Stitching the ripped parts does not occur either. Only the trace of what happens remains. Then, what would be the way to explain this correlation between cause and effect to incorporate creases being entrenched?
After an act follows the result. That also happens on the fabric. If some crucial parts of the clothes are cut apart, the result inevitably follows. I wanted to apply this process to the design and I achieved this by cutting and the result of the cutting was the intent of the design.
‘Let the cut be there’
That was another key idea aside from the creased fabrics.
The finish of collections does not conclude in designing the shape of clothes or details. Especially, a sensible print often determines the value of a t-shirt. This concept is quite evidently showcased on the t-shirt in this season. There were two routes to approach from. The first was from ‘Leave it as it is to implement a 2D design. The other was to incorporate the idea ‘Leave it as it is’ into the shirt itself.
In terms of the first method, I needed to come up with some snappy idea to adequately transition 3D design to 2D design. I tried to crumple croquis book pages in different ways and stamp the top in the end.
During the process, I came to the conclusion that I did not need to stamp a print in the usual way. Instead I thought “What if I put a stamp on a randomly crumpled t-shirt and unfold it?” So this way, I tweaked my idea to come up with this split design onto clothes ensuring I maintained the original idea.
As I mentioned earlier, I tried to develop the concept a little further for the second approach. For me, ‘Leave it as it is’ was synonymous with ‘you know what it is the second you see it’. In other words, it is not necessary to look around and think about it in order to understand what it is. In that sense, x-ray was the answer.
X-ray is the media that simultaneously shows the exterior and interior of the object. This media helps us to understand what is inside without having to cut it open. That was the reason why I thought x-ray was the perfect idea to very appropriately portray the concept.
However, there was an obstacle to bringing this idea to light. Firstly, taking an x-ray film is only legally permitted for medical purposes. Furthermore, I couldn’t buy it even if it was! So the biggest challenge was how this was going to be achieved. Commonly, you would use either screen printing or thermal transfer method in order to print on clothes. However, neither of those met my satisfaction.
However, at the end of the day, means did not matter much with this project. With idea, there is always a workaround. Means is just means. After consulting numerous clothing printing companies, I found the precise way to satisfy both quality and durability.
As always, this season was not easy. I had to go through many attempts and failures. From the printing process, which I had not tried before, to numerous trials and errors, this season was a very meaningful period where I had to explore many routes that I had never explored before. As a result, I feel as if I have acquired a boarder canvas to draw upon to explore into the unknown one more time.
At the present time, our mankind has been going through pandemic scale trials. But, we will overcome again and again like I have overcome many failures and challenges. The time of pain will be remembered as a monument to celebrate to look back in later time. I pray for all the medical teams and patients who are fighting the disease all across the world.