lauren trend makes wearable timelines of her design process
Merging process and product in the second instalment of our Australian Graduate Designer series.
Photography Sebastian Petrovski
Next up in our Australian Graduate Designer series is another RMIT wunderkind who isn't content resting on her laurels. Lauren Trend talks to us about taking the concept of the pattern into the literal and how her flat fabrications have grown into something more since showing at the MSFW runway.
Hey Lauren, tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm 22 and about to finish my Honours year of RMIT's Bachelor of Fashion Design...so I'm excited and terrified in equal measure!
What's the idea behind your grad collection?
My practice is very much concerned with critiquing and commenting on conventional fashion making and methodologies. This collection began with an intrigue in the stages of design and capturing this idea of the concept/process within the outcomes. It's been an interrogation of conceptual and quite literal elements of the making processes within fashion, specifically looking at the ideas of the swatch right through to the sample. I was also looking at the implementation of repetition in collections and this copy-paste mentality that's such an undeniable element of designing a 'cohesive' body of work. Each garment is an iteration of the next, so towards the completion of the collection it was about considering what elements were missing and ensuring those gaps were filled.
You got some fresh faces involved in shooting your collection. Who are they and why did you want them in your clothes?
Putting the collection on a large number of girls seemed like the best way to capture the concept behind the work. I was also looking at traditional forms of communicating fashion collections and the group editorial is a particularly powerful image as far as fashion communication is concerned. Playing on the tropes of that intrigued me. The girls that were a part of the shoot are all extremely beautiful and unique personalities, some were really close friends and others friends of friends that I cast through Instagram, Facebook and what not. It was really about wanting to work with a group of girls that I adored and their willingness to be a part of something like this, and their support meant the absolute world to me. It's really cool to be surrounded by people in Melbourne who are so willing to assist each other.
You seem to be interested in the "exhibiting" and curating of fashion as much as you are about the design and wearability, could you break that down for me?
Yeah absolutely! I've been really privileged to be exposed to a way of thinking at RMIT that really values and encourages this interrogation with exhibiting and curating fashion. For me a project's integrity lies in its communication and the way that it is presented to the public. For people to be able to engage with your work is a huge privilege and the way that you conduct that should be considered entirely. There's something I really enjoy about the wider audience consuming fashion in ways beyond the exchange of money for material matter. 'Curated Conversations'* is a project that's entirely concerned with transferring information from nascent practitioners to a wider audience; creating an unambiguous, unexclusive dialogue that allows anyone to gain more insight into a nascent practitioners practice and/or project.
What made you want to make your concept so literal and bring it right back to the flat forms of your garments?
Well it began with the flat actually, I was looking at the point in which a swatch, or flat piece of fabric, became a garment through the application of signifiers or specific construction. The big square pieces that opened the capsule series at MSFW were the 'swatch' of a jacket, with only a vent in the back and then you start to see 'swatched' pants, dresses and skirts. Then each flat iteration is represented in another way within the series. There's very much this oscillation between the 'real' and the 'flat' and there's something so potent about the connotations of flatness within in fashion.
You worked with some leather to create bags and shoes, do you think it's important to create a whole image of the collection beyond the clothes?
Absolutely! I think it's important to consider every aspect of the look, regardless of the context or mode of presentation. It was especially relevant for me in this situation where I'm responding to modes of designing and presenting fashion; accessories are an integral part of that, so interpreting them in my project was so important.
Do you think the MSFW runway was the right way to present your collection?
I think it was an important exercise for me at that point in time. As we only presented five looks, I felt like the project then was almost too refined. From that point, I was able to reflect on the possibilities of where the collection could go and not feel restricted by a number of looks or communicating larger ideas in such a representative portion.
Will you be showing again during the RMIT's own runway?
I will be, I'm excited to show a completely different side of the project than what was presented at MSFW. The series now consists of about 18 looks, so there's a lot more to show.
I think it's really important that we just keep making, it's definitely what a bunch of us are planning on doing upon graduating. Making and continuing to present work here in Melbourne, at least until we decide to pack up and head overseas somewhere!