woensdag 7 juni 2017

SHI[R]T | FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017

Meet Jeffrey Heiligers and Eva Wagensweld, the designers behind SHI[R]T. Jeff is originally from Voerendaal (a small village in the province of Limburg, in the South of the Netherlands) and Eva is from Woerden, a town located in the middle of the Netherlands. Currently both are based in Amsterdam. Jeffrey graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, from the faculty of Man and Well-being and Eva graduated from AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute), from the faculty of Fashion and Design. The brand SHI[R]T was born out of a frustration that both designers shared about unfair working conditions and high prices to be able to get promoted. They also find that the price to product ratio when it comes to clothing is distorted because people on the other side of the globe make the garments for as little as a couple of cents per day and customers expect high service for low prices even despite that. With SHI[R]T, Eva and Jeff are trying to convey the message that fashion can be made fair to everybody and also be aesthetically pleasant. The project that they will present on the FASHIONCLASH Festival will be a wake up call to change our consumer behavior.

When did you realise you wanted to work in a field of (fashion)design?
JEFF: I think already as a young child it was clear that I liked creating things. Because my approach was quite technical and focused on movement I decided I wanted to study mechanical engineering. In my 3rd year I realized I couldn't do what I wanted to do as it was all focussed on technology and practicality. Aesthetics was out of the picture and I felt I would be able to translate technology into simple shapes and object, that look pleasing and still keep their function. Thats when I started a pre-art school program for the art academy in Maastricht. During this course I felt like a world opened up to me and I applied to the Design Academy Eindhoven and got in.

EVA: When I was hooked on the series ‘The Hills’ in high school. I totally wanted to have a Lauren Conrad life. I had no idea what I wanted to do and it’s kind of crazy to make this decision when you’re 16 years old, but I’m glad she inspired me.

What are so far your main achievements in your career?
JEFF: I think both my graduation projects (Posture and Momentum) are a good representation of what I stand for as a designer. In both I succeeded to translate a technical device into something aesthetically pleasing, with full functioning simplified technology applied.
 Posture had been picked up by the press and was a hit during Dutch Design Week ’15. I have gained a lot of knowledge out of this experience, about your work being recognized and promoted. Making money of it on the other hand is the biggest struggle.

EVA: Graduating without delays before my 21st birthday with my collection ‘We’re flying over the Cuckoo’s nest’ and finding my own design style. Taking this to the next level with BLACKBLEACH and keeping on evolving.

In what projects are you involved at this moment?
JEFF: I just launched a new collection with my studio that is existing out of 5 basic pieces that can be made-to-measure with the sizing tool I designed for Posture. The production process is done in fair way and the pieces are unisex. Next to that I work as freelance prototyper/production manager for Lokbi Enterprises and started collaborating with Eva Wagensveld. We both share the same view on society and we both want to do something about it, but in our own way. Although alone is alone and together you can do more. SHI[R]T for me was born out of a slight frustration of unfair working conditions and high prices to enter competitions or shows to promote your portfolio. I had quite some job interviews over the past 2 years and was mostly offered an un-paid internship or very ridiculous working conditions. I am aware that still we shouldn’t complain about these things because on the other side of the world people are sewing garments together for a couple of cents a day. It feels like society is loosing its touch with what is fair and what isn’t. Especially when it comes to prices products are sold for. I mean… customers expect high service, for low prices and that actually should be impossible.

EVA: Currently I am working on my own brand BLACKBLEACH where I create new garments out of used and/or leftover materials. During AMFI I always liked to design from existing garments because of interesting shapes and details. It started to feel strange to throw away those beautiful ‘toiles’ and only use them for their patterns. So now I handpick beautiful waste and reinvent it. The other project I am involved in is SHI[R]T, together with Jeffrey. SHI[R]T is super exiting to me and Jeff and I are really on the same page, we can have super inspiring whining conversations with each other and then come up with amazing ideas. It’s so cool to find solutions for things that you aren’t happy about.

What do you love the most about your profession?
JEFF: It is amazing to create new things. The feeling that comes with making progress in your process is a kick that gives you drive to keep going with reaching that end goal. When it is finally finished, it isn’t actually finished because of all the new input and inspirations you gathered during the process to start something new. It’s an endless circle of improving yourself and your designs.

EVA: I love to drape around with garments and explore until I am happy about the design. Then finishing it and constantly find solutions by solving detail ‘problems’ is super satisfying. I just really love to create whilst also trying to do something right for the world.

What are your biggest struggles as a young designer/artist?
JEFFIt is annoying to say and sometimes it bothers me, but it is money and time. Unfair offers from big companies and not begin paid for your services. I love what I do, but just as any one else I need to pay my rent at the end of the month. As a young professional I need a job on the side to be able to sustain myself.

How would you define fashion?
'Fashion is a reflection of what is happening around us.'

What fascinates/inspires you and why?
Fast-fashion brands and their customers. The way people don’t think about their purchase. How can a ready to wear garment cost €10,- if you take all the labour-, material- and transport costs in to consideration?

What challenges did you face during the design process?
JEFF: The biggest challenge was creating the measuring system for Posture. It was a big game of trial and error. Making a Posture garment is very precise work and it took a long, long time to create a digital system to produce an individual piece for each customer.

EVA: Finding the time to design and really finish garments. Sometimes I have so many ideas that it’s tempting to create something new all the time and not finish all the details of other designs. It’s also always a surprise if there will be something useful in the thrift shops / markets. And when I don’t find anything I have no material.

Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival?
Because the theme fits our platform like a glove.

What are your thoughts regarding ‘religion and fashion’?
Interesting, but possibly dangerous.

Does fashion makes sense to you? 
No. Does fashion make sense if the quality of the products is low, the labour conditions are poor and it harms the environment terribly? The psychology behind fashion has become less about quality or durability and more about being fast, cheap and easy to replace.

What are your thoughts on making ‘fashion’ more environmentally-friendly?
It’s necessary!
'People should make conscious decisions about their purchases. Don’t buy because you can, but buy something because you need it.'

What are your thoughts on the senses in relation to the human body?
The relation to the human body got lost. The standard confection measurement is nowhere to be found and models are either super skinny or overweight.

Do you think that fashion can contribute to a better world / better well-being, and what do you do to make a difference? 
Yes, we need society to be conscious and make it easy for the consumer to buy the right things. With SHI[R]T we want to make it easy for people to find fashion forward products that are created by [young] local designers. This by offering all these designs on one webshop. Instead of going to webshops like Zalando, de Bijenkorf or Asos, go to www.shitshirt.nl and buy sustainable!

What senses are engaged in your creation process?
JEFF: Touch and vision
EVA: Vision and touch.

How does technology change your creation process?
JEFF: Without technology there is no process.
EVA: It’s super useful to always have my extended brain [iPhone] with me.

What’s a standard day for you?

Vegan, vegetarian, healthy diet or any food will do?
Healthy food [vegan].

What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Money - The Flying Lizards.

Best TV-show/movie at the moment?

What is your bad habit?
Working whilst being underpaid.

Are you a people's person or a loner?
People’s person.

Do you have a pet?
Yes, our boyfriends.

Your favorite quote?
Life would be tragic if it weren't funny. - Stephen Hawking.

What’s your favorite city?

Who is your biggest example/idol?
Iris Apfel.

Favorite magazine?
Playgirl, we don’t like fashion magazines.

Your favorite hashtags #?
#shitshirt #fuckfastfashion #savethechildrenofbangladesh

You favorite social media app?
 LinkedIn, to find unpaid internships.

Instagram account you think deserves more attention?

Jeff and Eva have a website where you can read more about their stance on contemporary fashion design, and check out their garments. Take a peek at it by clicking here.    

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