For autumn/winter 14, Nokia partnered with emerging design duo, Fyodor Golan, to create the world’s first interactive skirt made up of Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphones. This is tomorrow's world today, explore it.
As the world's of fashion and technology collide, combine and create, a new dawn of possibilities edges ever closer. Whilst floating in shared digital daydreams, designers are collaborating with tech wizards as both talent pools push each other forward. With wild whispers of everything from invisible cloaks to copy and paste couture, smart technology is allowing anything imaginations to run wild. With an autumn/winter 14 collection toyed with the duality of tradition and technology, Fyodor Golan partnered with Nokia who helped facilitate their fancy. From pencil sketches to 3D printing and laser cutting, the daydreams of Fyodor Golan could delve that bit deeper by working closely with Kin, a Farringdon based Research and Design studio. The result was a show stopping, game changing, smart skirt that sparkled with muli-media majesty and illuminated Chloe Norgaard as a Princess of Tomorrow. Here, the design duo navigate us through their past, present and future.
Could you each describe the other in five words?
Golan: Fyo is obsessive, controlling, passionate, soft and intelligent.
Fyodor: Golan is fragile, elegant, striking, compelling and captivating.
What were your first impressions of one another and when did you know you wanted to work together?
Golan: We were a couple a few years before starting the label together. When we met, I was at Alexander McQueen and Fyodor was at Issey Miyake. We then went on to do freelance work and starting advising each other on our work, we felt we had trust in each other like anyone else before. At some point our work began to organically merge together and it just felt like the right time. I guess winning Fashion Fringe had reinforced our notion that we should be designing together and we met amazing people and supporters along the way especially being mentored by Colin McDowell and Roland Mouret.
Does being a couple influence your work?
Golan: Our work evolves together with us as people and as a couple; passionate, fragmented and emotional.
The autumn/winter 14 collection was inspired by your travels through Cambodia and Myanmar. Tell us about the sights you saw and how they inspired you?
Fyodor: The world we experienced electrified us with colours and flamboyance. Once you enter the temples and pagodas you are so mesmerised by the colours and textures, it feels like a total sensory explosion. They combine so many strong colours at once. You see so many different beautiful and weird creatures painted on the walls. We spent days and nights wondering in the gold city of Yangoon (Myanmar) where we could fully observe the radiance and full spectrum of shine and light. This place is on top of a mountain and is fully packed with temples, shrines, pagodas and other religious and non-religious structures where people come to just be, you feel a kind of unity there. Visitors come and spend days there meet each other, it has become a sort of sacred social place.
Golan: The temples were always unexpected in their visual difference from one another. This country is only just started to be open to us and its’ very pure on one side of things, but can be very tough on the other.
Fyodor: Tradition versus street style. Whilst we were in travelling we got ourselves the longji skirts that locals wear. What we loved about these traditional elements that the young kids would mix with their versions of street style. They wear draped skirts with oversized quilted bombers and trucker caps and walk barefoot. It was just surreal at times. You take a boat ride through Inle lake, in a traditional pond boat and when it rains, the driver handed us a Justin Bieber printed umbrella. It has this weird pop culture hidden in unexpected places
Golan: It was the first time when we where able to completely switch off and enjoy ourselves fully and gave us energy reserves to starting creating.
Where's the most beautiful place you've ever been and what's the most inspiring sight you've ever seen?
Golan: Inspiration changes for us from season to season, different periods require new sources of inspiration. But as for now It has to be Myanmar, It is beautiful in every sense and unique like no other place we have ever seen.
Now, the collection showcases the world’s first interactive skirt made up of Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphones. As it was a leap into the technical unknown, what was the starting point?
Fyodor: We wanted to express ideas through different mediums. The whole season was about using unconventional materials, we started analysing our perception of beauty and colour and how it is changing with the new technological world we live in. We have partnered with Nokia with their incredible product, it has amazing screen quality that fitted our vision of a skirt which projected our ideas and inspiration. It is just a matter of time before smart materials will be developed and used in fashion. As this side is still quite unknown and the industry is not quite there from a technical point, we decided to just have fun with it and create a garment that will showcase the campness of our inspiration and experiences that gave birth to the collection.
"Our job as fashion designers is to bring the future into the now in a contemporary way."
Tell us a bit about the design dynamic and collaboration with Kin?
Golan: It was a process of discussion. When you talk to creators that work on the tech side, it’s often about the ideas and in many cases this turns into a discussion of what would be possible in the future. Our job as fashion designers is to bring the future into the now in a contemporary way. It was a challenge for all sides involved but as this was meant to be an experimental inspirational piece from the offset, it gave us room to manoeuvre. We were very lucky to be working with Nokia and Kin on this, they were really open to new ideas and kept pushing it with us. Two days before the show, we had a fitting of the skirt and seeing it move on the model gave the whole project a new perspective. We were captivated with the creation, especially when we saw our print on the Lumia screens and saw how it reacted in colour to the model's movement. It’s really hard to work on a design project that involves so much technical development as it takes months and months of only programming with no physical visual results, you have to use a lot of imagination and the anticipation can be a killer. its a huge risk but was worth it!
How did you feel seeing the garment unveiled during the show?
Golan: Well, we were backstage making sure the final touches were completed so as always we didn't get to see our work unveiled as the audience did. We only get to see it online on videos and images.
Chloe Norgaard looked like the Princess of Tomorrow...
Golan: It was very important for us to get the right girl in the piece. We really wanted someone who would rock it and put across the right image. Chloe was amazing. She totally got the look and her attitude was exactly what we were looking for.
Before this collaboration, how important had technology been to your world?
Golan: We definitely aren't tech-savvy. We think the issue with modern technology it that it isn't yet in tune with fashion. There are so many ideas but they aren't yet translated into clothes but this is exactly the type of thinking that keeps us going. It’s only a matter of time, so why not try and bring it forward? We have always explored technology, through laser cutting and scarring leather in our first collections to foiling materials and 3D embroideries in later collections. Technology does come handy in order to create new textures on the surfaces. It’s an amazing contrast to shape and silhouette of the garment.
"New-age technology and the generations that have grown up with them can truly create different aesthetic to fashion."
What, in your opinion, is the future of fashion?
Golan: At the moment, it seems that fashion is dictated by buyers and store sell-throughs rather than designers. The age old discussion of whether fashion is art or necessity is over and it seems that necessity won. However, we believe that fashion travels in circles. It's like a coin constantly flipping, we are moving towards the more wearable but amazing things could still be achieved within new aesthetics, they are waiting to be discovered and when they will be. The coin will flip once again.
Fyodor. New-age technology and the generations that have grown up with them can truly create different aesthetic to fashion. We live now in such an eclectic world and there is so much you can get your hands on. The internet has truly erased borders.
What excites you most about tomorrow?
Golan: The challenge of finding new ways of working with materials that are taboo in luxury and to find ways of working with colour that it looks brighter then life.
Where do you want to be in five year's time?
Golan: We would like to be in a place where we can develop our vision into a full FYODOR GOLAN universe. A maison that will paint the world in iridescent colours.