London Design Festival and London College of Fashion came together to showcase MA Fashion Artefact, Footwear and Fashion Futures at The Vinyl Factory, Soho. The aim is to challenge the notion of how products change and influence the world we live in. The work being shown is a combination of traditional craft with new technologies, the exhibition presents provocative and conceptual work in response to contemporary culture and serves as a reflection of our social behaviour.
Graduates from three design courses at London College of Fashion will be showcasing their degree work at London Design Festival this month between 22 – 24 September. We speak to MA Footwear graduate Phèdre J. Calvados ahead of the festival.
Can you tell us about the London Design Festival showcase and how you got involved?
The London Design Festival showcase has been proposed to MA graduates as their final year exhibition. It is a premiere for all of us this year, exciting! The idea was to take advantage of London Fashion Week’s vibrant scope to present our work to the public.
Did you create anything new or are you showing your final work?
I will be presenting pieces from ‘Resilience: Limited foot scaffolding,’ which is my very first footwear collection. This is all new from me in that perspective. For the project, I tried to bring something different to the table by pushing the limits of what people consider footwear to be.
Could you tell us about your work and techniques you used to craft the pieces?
My work is very personal as it takes inspiration from anecdotes about the severe education I received growing up. I used the Indian bed of nails structure for its aesthetic and painful look. It serves as a strong visual story-telling anchor and embodies the idea of discipline I talk about. I want people to think about the contrast between the experience of pain and the idea of pain. I explored what our mind visually assimilates as painful through the use of optical illusions and by suggesting a manipulated body posture as well as potentially torturous objects. My footwear visually points out a language of structure and scaffolding that characterises formative social and educational construction imposed to young adults.
For this project, I literally jumped of the cliff by learning 3D modeling from scratch in order to achieve the pieces. I wanted to incorporate real metal bars to my shoes. Considering body weight, balance, gait, and preciseness of the structures I imagined 3D printed Nylon has been a fantastic material to work with. It also split my making process into two parts: traditional shoe-making techniques, which I learned from my talented tutors on one side and the new technology method used today in footwear design on another. I also developed a hand-made print on leather as a reminiscence of my fondness for textured material.
How does it feel having your work shown at LDF?
It is fabulous news! Especially for me since my work borders art as well as fashion. I see it as a great opportunity to have the public interact with the pieces I have made. I built my collection expecting a reaction from the viewer/wearer. My main goal was to make people think. I am looking forward to seeing how people will approach the bed of nails sandals I created for them to step on. Who would dare? Who would not? Why?
What makes Footwear a good fit for LDF?
I believe the individuals who took part from the MA courses last year profoundly embraced the power of creativity. We are coming from such a variety of backgrounds, it is very impressive to discover what everyone has to bring to the table when it comes to innovation within the design. Not only did we submit the body of work fitting into our respective field of design, but we also naturally interacted with cross-disciplinary actors to expand and express our definition of novelty. Listening to everyone’s story and their processes was truly inspiring. All the Fashion Futures, Artefact and Footwear projects will present art, culture, and fashion as tools that are able to change our mindset and lifes.
Life after graduation, what you been doing since your MA?
I haven’t had a break yet! I got involved in a project due in next January with artist Sharon Kivland. She will smartly be depicting society’s view on Luxury at the Musée de la Toile de Jouy (Jouy-en-Josas, France). I’ve also taken part in a premium trainers project I have to keep secret for now, but it is an all new and exciting challenge for me as I am definitely more of a high-heeled shoe aficionado. At the moment, I am working at Burberry, assisting the shoe design team for a few months. Oh, and I taught my little brother how to make his own sneakers. Cute! Basically, I am keeping myself busy.
Anything we should keep an eye out for in the future involving you and your work?
An overseas exhibition of some of the pieces this November (Salute Detroit!). Definitely, new pieces for which I am trying to stay true to my designer identity. I still want to keep it conceptual but at the same time, I am digging into more wearable aspects of my designs. The ultimate dream is for me to bump into someone wearing one of my pair of shoes in the street. To be continued…
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