LCFMA22: Mikel Lazkano's minimal menswear
London College of Fashion's MA22 cohort showcases the breadth of talent that our students possess. Across the fields of visual communication, design and business, this year's set of students have taken inspiration from themes including gender fluidity, human connection and, from a sartorial perspective, innovative pattern cutting.
LCF Stories reached out to Mikel Lazkano, an MA Fashion Design Technology (Menswear) graduate. He talks about his passion for the ephemeral art movement and practising sustainability through the use of 3D design.
To which extent does your personal heritage lend to your work?
When I design I don’t tend to focus on my own story, but I think growing up in a Basque village has made me very aware of the source of the raw material and the positive impact of strong community awareness in our everyday practices.
Your garment designs are very classy, marrying minimalism and gender neutrality. Can you share your intentions behind these traits?
This collection proposes an alternative to the archetypical menswear and its restrictions inherited from its military background — to find an intersection between tailoring and leisurewear through considered garments that address sustainability in re-purposed waste fibres, overstock fabric donations, craftsmanship and minimalism.
The design methodology aims to imagine garments away from the constrains of proportion and length in menswear by focusing on inventive pattern cutting. The cutting technique has been influenced by secondary research based on Couture methods from the mid-20th century and coupled with base of garments constructed through the reduction of seams. This has been referenced by its contemporary art movements based on the ephemeral, the exploration of residue material for creative expression and minimalism as a vehicle for poetry in Design.
What are some of the ways in which you practice sustainability in your garment design?
This collection approaches sustainability in many ways. A great part of the pieces are made from overstock and donated fabric. I have also incorporated Latxa Wool, a residue fibre from the Basque Country which was hand-felted by an artisan in Spain. I also incorporated 3D design to my process as a way to communicate clearly with collaborators and to visualise product renders without producing any residue.
My process has been focused on the idea of reduction in every aspect. The result of this process is an aesthetic with an appreciation for simplicity that aims to promote wiser ways of consumption. Limited pieces designed to resonate on a quiet, intimate level, focused on the long-term perspective and the desire of garments that “last forever”.
What particular challenges have you faced during the production of your final showcase and how did you overcome them?
The limitation in fabric related to working with overstock has notoriously made me pay attention to my pattern cutting technique. I also made most of my garments by myself, which made me put my project management and making skills to test.
Do you have any particular highlights from your time on the course?
I would say the highlight of my time in the course has been the realisation of what my focus should be directed towards as a detail-focused designer. I have implemented a design method based on designing from fabrication details. In other words, and moved by the limitation in fabric, I studied the possibilities of each fabric before defining a specific design. This means I produced small fabrication swatches of every fabric, in order to define the optimum finishings for each case. This allowed me to have a clear understanding of the properties of each fabric, and therefore to avoid mistakes, which translate into waste, overproduction and overtime.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
My aim is to become part of a design team that shares my values.
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