donderdag 16 mei 2013

Installation 'Packed' by Marije Hellwich

Please introduce yourself to our readers. (Who are you, where do you come from and what is your field of specialization?)
I am Marije Hellwich, I am from The Netherlands and I am mostly interested in doing conceptual research.

What inspires you in general?
I always start my projects with searching lots of images through search engines. After a while I realize what the concept is about. In general I am inspired by what real people wear in real situations. How clothes shape our identities and how we give identity to our clothes.

Where are you based?
My studio is based in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

What place/city do you find inspiring?
I am very much inspired by Senegal. How Senegalese people find their inventive ways to repair and recycle things. Also I find their differing views on dress codes interesting, and their special ways of dressing up, the beautiful prints, and how they differ from us in their views on appearance.

What is the concept behind your latest collection/creation?
After starting my research as usual, by searching images through search engines, I realized that this time I was inspired by how the identity of beings and things seem to be taken over by covers, while at the same time they are being displayed and objectified. By pack¬aging the body it is protected from the outside elements such as weather conditions, circumstances, society, pollution challenges and safety issues. The identity of the person seems to be eliminated, yet the body is always cherished when being concealed and presented. I reformed conventional fashion related items from common to rare by layering and thus disguising and displaying. Furthermore ordinary materials generally used for packaging, like plastic, mesh, foam and other transparent fabrics strengthen the transformation from the everyday into the estranged.

Describe your collection/creation in short.
Packaging the body

Did you always want to work in the field of fashion?
After high school I decided to study psychology at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. However I realized I wanted to be a fashion designer, and switched studies. I’ll always keep my fascination for the psychological side of fashion though, and also identity, image, semiotics, the meaning of garments, the rules of society, etc.

Do you have a muse? If yes, who is it and why?
Google Images is my muse, he always comes up with great ideas and has so many different sides to explore.

Who is your favorite fashion designer?
I am in love with Maison Martin Margiela, Bless and Monique van Heist. What is so far your greatest experience in your 'fashion' career? It could be my internship at Maison Martin Margiela. It was the last season when Martin Margiela himself was still there. I learned a lot during the internship, the atmosphere was great and I enjoyed Paris very much. This internship opened up many new opportunities!

What is on your music list while you are making your collection/creation?
At the moment I can’t stop listening to Eefje de Visser, Sofie Letitre and Yeasayer.
What made you smile today?
My 66-year old female neighbor from upstairs came down with a ladder today, to help me trim the grapevine in my garden!

What is the latest thing you bought for yourself?
A coffeemaker

What can we expect from you in the future?
I have many plans for different projects, not just clothing, everything which has to do with psychology, identity and culture. I want to build up an oeuvre instead of just making many collections. In these projects I find research and the process very important.

What was the turning point that made you change your major from psychology to fashion design?
I realized I was mostly interested in the fields of psychology which are about gender, cultural differences, and rules of society. I decided I want to work with these topics in a more practical way and combine it with my fascination for dress.

How does your previous learning of psychology influence or inspire you to create new collections? Fashion is about identity, image, gender, semiotics, culture, actualities and everything around us. My graduation collection for instance, was about the different identities of garments in western society. People can attribute personal emotion and meaning to a garment whilst the same garment can be perceived totally unacceptable to the bigger part of society. When a person doesn’t conform to the dress codes of society a garment and the person wearing it can be labeled as ‘strange’. These codes of conduct led us to create a public and a private identity for ourselves. I’ve always kept my interest in psychology and I think I always will.

What was the most impressive moment or greatest learning during your experience of doing the intern for Maison Martin Margiela SS09 show?
The SS09 show was a celebration of the 20 year anniversary of Maison Martin Margiela. I went through the entire archive of past collections and we tried to put these elements into the new designs. It was impressive to see all the past collections together. Also it was Margiela’s last season, and it was special to work with him.

What was the feeling of seeing your collections to be published in international fashion magazine or website and how did this kind of exposure impact your career?
It is feels good to get recognition for your work when you have been working hard. Every time it is frightening to show your work to the world, and it is a confirmation you are on the right way when fashion magazines pick it up!

How did you figure out the idea to present your collection in a tailor-made tent and what is the underlying connection with your design concept?
I decided to extend the existing concept of protection, packing and covering into the wider subject of shelter. The tent is made of natural cotton, the fabric we use for ‘toiles’. This shows my emphasis on research. Also I will show my process in the tent, so the story behind my collection is visible.

Photographer: Maarten Alexander
                      Lara Trevisan

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