Up next in our Class of 2015 blog series we meet collaborating students Louisa Oilam Pang and Stefania Ella Malewicz. Stefania, BA Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories, and Louisa, BA Menswear, who tell us about the very different inspirations behind their designs, their advice to prospective students, and the technical skills they had to develop to create this wonderful collection.
LCF News: Where are you from?
Louisa Oilam Pang: Hong Kong.
Stefania Malewicz: Sedlescombe… a small unknown-to-many village in East Sussex.
LCF News: Give us one interesting fact about yourself…
LOP: I dream a lot. In particular while I was doing the final major project. Most of my dreams were about making garments, and the dreaded deadline…
SM: I’m a bronze world medalist in kickboxing.
LCF News: Talk us through your final collection…
LOP: The collection investigates the conceptual artworks of the imagination and creativity. To redefine the functionality of the garment, a form of collage is used in the process of designing to reflect the idea of reinvention, to bring disorder to the logic and communication of clothing, and to challenge the aesthetic and function of fashion. It aims to push the boundaries of the usual menswear silhouette and retain the balance between eccentric and wearable.
SM: The concept of the collection created by ‘Stefania’ is to fuse luxury accessories with sports accessories. I believe there is a niche within the market; accessories combine sports fabrics that are lightweight, durable, waterproof etc with leathers that have been treated to be waterproof and lightweight too. This collection is specifically based on women cyclists within London, focusing on weight, style and safety.
LCF News: What do you love about what you do?
LOP: The freedom of creativity! My works always overlaps with the field of art in its creative process, also overlaps with the field of design through its functionality.
SM: I admire the fact I can combine my two major passions. A keen cyclist both for cycling, long distance rides and sportives’. It’s great to wear and test the products with my friends and really get involved with all aspects of my designs.
LCF News: What is the story behind your final piece of work?
LOP: The concept ‘unuseless’ from Japanese inventor Kenji Kawakami provides an interesting idea to focus on the simple things in our daily life and reinventing them into something new, making life as ‘easy’ as possible. It plays with the meaning of usefulness and what is necessary, experimenting and building an unusual way of wearing clothes, and redefining the functionality of a garment.
SM: It evolved from never being able to find the specific type of bag I was looking for. I’d go to high end stores and be offered a sporty rucksack that in my opinion lacked aesthetics or be offered a luxury item that was most definitely be ‘sports lux’ and would always fail in functionality.
LCF News: What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?
LOP: The collage method plays an important role in ‘(Un)uselessness’, re-framing and re-creating the existed element and object, to emphasize playfulness. This is done through deconstruction and reconstruction by merging a diverse range of garments and adding art and crafted elements on the surface.
SM: Techniques in my work were very much experimental. I needed to get the balance right between a sports fabric and leather. They are never combined and as you can imagine have many different qualities that can often be hard to stitch together, or in fact cannot be stitched at all. So the main practice was to try and test small pieces to find the perfect balance. A silver smith helped to create my fittings adding a extra emphasis on the luxuriousness to the products.
LCF News: What’s the best thing about LCF?
LOP: It’s a great environment to work with talented people and develop my technical skills.
SM: LCF is a fantastic place to study as it really prepares you to work in the industry if that is what you seek. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic location. The accessories studios are in East London. A perfect location to head out to specific leather, trimmings and fittings shops.
LCF News: Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF?
LOP: Throughout my course I have interned at Berthold and Craig Green.
SM: Yes, my course has the option for a 1 year placement, which I highly recommend. I went to Balenciaga for 6 months in Paris and Rapha in London for 7 months.
LCF News: What did you learn on your work experience/placement?
LOP: It was very beneficial for me to work closely with the designer, to pay fully attention on the work, help each other in a team to make a successful work. It also helped me to be more confident on multitasking work in all the different areas.
SM: I learnt an incredible amount on placement. Which if I went into detail could result in me having to write an essay… You really learn about how the fashion industry is run, you learn to adapt, to accept and to proceed with confidence. It’s a chance to really experience your future.
LCF News: Describe your work in five words…
LOP: Modern, clean, experimental
SM: Functional, structural, sporty and subtly reflective.
LCF News: How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve your plans?
LOP: It has given me a good technical skills and knowledge which helps me to develop and experiment with my work in different ways.
SM: LCF has helped to create my future, it has given me the building blocks to work upwards from. I don’t think you can ask for more than that?
LCF News: What advice would you give to someone wanting to study your course?
LOP: Be prepared to work extremely hard but also enjoy every moment while you have the opportunity to do what you want to do. Be creative, and be open minded!
SM: Dive in deep. Use all your resources to your maximum and be open minded as to where you want to go… A lot can change.