|ADA ZANDITON INTERVIEW|
|Written by Abigail Doan - Thursday, 04 December 2008|
We can think of no better way to celebrate the momentum and spirit of the past year in eco fashion than by highlighting the sculpturally innovative work of London-based designer, Ada Zanditon. The stand out London College of Fashion graduate is all about originality when it comes to fusing imaginative narrative themes with sustainable materials and fabrication methods. With stints working for Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh neatly tucked in her back pocket, Zanditon is cutting an impressive path though the field of ethical fashion and eco couture. Inspired while a design student by fashion maverick, Katherine Hamnett, it’s exciting to see the bold directions that this up-and-coming star has taken with her ethical collections and novel design concepts.
We were happy to chat with Zanditon during her October showing at The Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, and recently took some time to converse about what motivates this designer to watch and celebrate for 2008 and the year to come.
EFW: Ada, can you tell our readers more about your Spring/Summer 2009 collection ‘Emergence’? What was the concept behind the idea of ‘emergence’, its relevance to eco fashion, and the spirit behind your latest designs?
Ada Zanditon: The concept of ‘emergence’ is one where unique properties arise from complex systems that do not necessarily arise from the simpler components that make up that system on an individual level. It’s a collective effort that leads to new abilities. I aim for a holistic approach to my designs, and in turn, use a diverse range of sustainable solutions, distancing myself overall from what might be termed ‘monoculture’.
EFW: What organic and inorganic forms inspire you the most when designing new pieces or collections?
AZ: I am greatly inspired by modern architecture and art that has an architectural quality. The sculptors Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley interest me specifically. I would say that the core of my style is a wearable sculpture mixed with American football influences.
EFW: That’s pretty varied in terms of design influences. Would you also consider Gareth Pugh to be a major influence?
AZ: I admire and respect Gareth’s designs, and it was great to work with him, but I would not call his work a direct influence. When I made my first collection, I did not know who he was. It was only after the completion of this first collection that I was introduced to his designs. I am honestly more influenced by my own world and imagination, concepts and research, than that of other fashion designers.
EFW: What other art forms and musings infiltrate your work? Do your hand-drawn illustrations exist outside of your fashion design ideas or in dialogue?
AZ: Actually, this season I will be combining my illustrations with woven silk jacquard, but previously my fashion designs and illustrations were very much separate. I hope to bring them closer together in the future. Absolutely.
EFW: As a young, highly creative designer, what kinds of challenges did you encounter when starting your ethical fashion label?
AZ: In all honesty, it was as challenging as anything else that is worth doing. I think that it is important for me to work at my own pace, and I tend to view problems and challenges that arise as opportunities to learn from and become stronger by.
EFW: What new directions would you like your exploration of sustainability to take you in? Are you interested in incorporating more recycled materials, more innovative eco-textiles, more waste-free patterning?
AZ: More, more, more! More of everything! I also want to do more collaboration with artists who are really examining and experimenting with creative ways of doing new things, and to recycle and upcycle, of course! I do not want to limit myself.
EFW: What do you say to folks who might label some of your designs as eco couture as opposed to ready-to-wear “marketable”?
AZ: I have a mixture of ready-to-wear and eco-couture pieces in my current collections. I think that it all comes back to being part of an integrated system instead of thinking you have to be everything to everyone. I also believe that couture exists to inspire ready-to-wear design, both aesthetically and conceptually. For me, it is very important to make ethical fashion an aspiration.
EFW: Do you think that eco fashion can or should be androgynous? Some of your recent fashion videos seem to suggest a world of organic androgyny.
AZ: I believe that it is important for eco fashion to be free and whatever it can be, for both males and females. Although I mainly set out to design for women, I have had both women and men show interest in my designs. Androgyny is simply an aesthetic choice and does not directly pertain to sustainability.
EFW: How do you feel the eco fashion world has changed during the past year? What new directions show the most promise in your opinion?
AZ: I feel that there has been a welcome increase in design-led, ethical brands succeeding and coming through. This is fantastic because we really have to entice people with the quality of our designs not just with the fact that we are creating eco-friendly and sustainable pieces. I’m particularly excited by the work of Mark Liu, Aura Que, Gabrielle Miller and Good One.
EFW: Given that our December 2008 issue is all about ‘celebration’, what would you choose to celebrate as a designer at the close of 2008?
AZ: I’d like to celebrate everything that I have achieved this year and the overall increase in eco fashion interest and awareness in the general consciousness. Being a finalist in ‘Fashioning the Future’ at London College of Fashion was certainly great for me. It was also amazing to exhibit at the Ethical Fashion Show this past October in Paris and receive an award for the creativity of my collection.
( Ada forwarded this link of the Ethical Fashion show coverage.)
I have loved seeing the range of approaches eco fashion designers have taken of recent, particularly designer Van Markoviec. I would also like to celebrate having recently shown my collection in Hangzhou, China, thanks to the creative agency Artstalker, Intime and Insky PR. And, of course, I am thankful for having such great friends and family who have been so generous in helping me to start my own business.
EFW: Any other current projects or upcoming events that you want to share news of with our readers?
AZ: This season I am lucky enough to be working with Vanners, silk weavers in Suffolk (near London), who have been weaving silk since 1740. I will also be collaborating with artist Kate Williams, who works with recycled glass and found objects. She is creating recycled glass accessories and elements that I will use with my collection. I do not want to give away too much about the Autumn/Winter collection, but I have been hugely inspired by reading Soil and Soul by Alastair McIntosh , in which he puts across a strong message of community, spirit, and place.
written by assignment, May 05, 2009
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