meet the italian design duo making beautiful and totally impossible clothes
Mathery Studio designed their very first collection, and it’s completely unwearable.
Images via Mathery
Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli are Mathery Studio - a product design team hailing from Milan. As creative collaborators and romantic partners, it's not surprising that for their latest project, Together, the dynamic duo are exploring partnerships. It's the pair's first fashion collection, and it comes with just one catch: every item is completely unwearable.
The project is a collaboration with a selection of brands including 69, Kloke and FFIXXED Studios. With their help, Mathery set out to challenge and recast everything you know about the structure of apparel and turn it on its sartorial head - sometimes literally.
i-D caught up with Erika and Matteo two weeks before an impending move to New York to discuss the project and what it's like to own a pair of the most desirable, non-walking, shoes in the world.
I guess the most obvious question is, how do you come to design an unwearable collection?
Erika: The idea came out quite a long time ago, like last August. It first started with the shoe and we said, "Why don't we put the two points together?" It was so spontaneous and so silly. It sounds strange to say, but it was more about researching the shape and the design, rather than designing a useful object. It's also about making people laugh or surprising them. We have completely turned each object upside down.
Matteo: We really like telling stories about projects and projects that really say something about themselves.
It's interesting to consider clothes after you totally throwaway the idea of functionality, especially because as a design studio that's usually core to all your creative reasoning.
Matteo: Every year we try to take some time to work on a project like this, that gives us the chance to be totally free on every level because there is no actual client. It's like a dream!
How did you choose the brands you wanted to collaborate with?
Matteo: A lot of the brands were already ones that we liked from the shops. So we didn't need to conduct a huge amount of research because they were already in front of our eyes.
I'm interested to hear their responses, I'm sure this was the first time they had ever designed apparel and accessories with no functional utility.
Erika: It was actually really surprising that straight away we found people were really interested in it. The funny thing is that I would never be able to afford a pair of pants by 69, and now I have a pair of pants designed by them that I cannot wear.
We keep talking about how impossible the clothes are, but it occurs to me that accessories like the 360 Degrees Cap and Continuous Bag by FFIXXED Studios are the only pieces that can be used.
Matteo: The only rule that we decided to follow on this project was the union. So we were looking at making a useless collection or something that was completely wrong, but we tried to follow the rule that everything we designed had a union. So we connected parts and this was the focus of this project.
Do you have plans to exhibit the collection? It must be an odd thing to just have in your wardrobe.
Erika: We are moving to New York in two weeks, so we hope that maybe we can exhibit something there. For now we don't have anything in the program but we would love, love, love to because they are beautifully made objects; nothing is photo-shopped and they are very real.
Matteo: From our experience, exhibiting can be very, very, random, so you're better off to just keep doing what you want to do and see what happens. This is also because it was created as a kind of artwork, there was no money involved and no advertising. All of the brands did it for free and nobody got paid so it's pretty pure.
Text Hannah Butterworth
Images via Mathery Studio