dinsdag 12 juni 2018

Emilie Tirion presents Under Depression

Photography: Soe Aitarg
Meet Emilie Thirion, a Belgian Menswear designer. She says she never chose to do fashion design, but instead discovered that this was what she needed, discovering that this was the way she could truly express herself. Therefore, it is not surprising that the concept behind her collection is truly personal. In her new collection, 'Under Depression' she explores an illness that she herself has dealt with on a daily basis. Using it as an inspiration, she went even further. By using her own distorted face in the designs, she wanted to become the face of the illness herself. In an exaggerated version of the garments she personally uses, she wants to emphasises how people with depression feel as they are suffocating, while finding it necessary to partake in the 'play' of life.

Emilie Thirion's collection will be presented at the Show Programme on Saturday the 16th of June. You can get your tickets here.





What made you realize that you wanted to work in (fashion) design?

Nothing at all. Actually, I’ve never wanted to work in Fashion. Before I started to study fashion, I entered an architecture and engineering school which I had prepared and dreamt of since I was 6 years old, and finally I found out it wasn’t my life at all, I was looking for something more human, more creative, more authentic. I remember saying to myself “You have always wanted to be an architect-engineer and it’s a real disaster, why not trying something completely different and very surprising? Maybe this is the key of happiness: a spontaneous and adventurous life.” Two days after, I started fashion courses, and it was the perfect match! Now it’s been 6 years since I’ve decided to choose fashion for no reason, and it couldn’t be more perfect!


Why did you choose fashion?

Saying that I chose fashion would be a big lie, but now that it’s my life I can say why I decided to stay in this universe. During these years, I’ve discovered a true way of expressing myself and my emotions, and share them with people which is amazing. Sometimes, I think I’m making fashion by passion and sometimes just because I really need it. Like it’s the only way for me to feel better.

What would you say are your main achievements in your career?

My main achievement is that I was offered to sell one my first collection at the WUT BERLIN in Tokyo.

What are your sources of inspiration?

People and their emotions, what they’re going through, how they deal with the actual society in which we are living. Fashion is dressing people, so it seems logical for me that they are my first source of inspiration.
Photography: Soe Aitarg

Why did you decide to participate in FASHIONCLASH Festival 2018? 

Because I don’t want to miss a chance to share my work. For me, a work which is not shared, equals to a work that doesn’t exist. FASHIONCLASH is the right place for that. It brings so many people from all over the world together, which is just a true opportunity. Moreover, I’ve already taken part to the festival in 2015 and it was amazing. It offered me a true visibility.

What do you love most about (fashion) design? What are the biggest struggles faced by young designers?

Being able to transform something immaterial (my feelings, my emotions, my ideas) in something concrete and useful. To me, as a young designer, the main difficulties are gaining enough knowledge in business to be able to properly run a brand and the setting up of a useful well-filled address book (that’s why festivals like FASHIONCLASH are so important!). 


How would you define fashion?

A wearable emotion, a way to move people. Emotions are everywhere, they just need to be seen and felt, why not wearing it?

Photography: Soe Aitarg
What do you think are the most important issues in fashion today? 

The over-consumption and the fast fashion, both are a human and an environmental disaster.

How do you think fashion contributes to society, can it contribute to a better world?

Thanks to the fast fashion and the over consumption, the fact that fashion can contribute to a better world is not really obvious for the moment. I think that if we think about it, apart from those two big issues, fashion could help the world. I really believe that the right garment can help people to feel better and thus to be more positive. As naïve as it could sound, if everybody is more positive, things can only be more positive too. Moreover, I really think fashion is the mirror of the society. People has always dressed in reaction of what they feel in relation to the society. Fashion has often changed after big events in History (after the war, after the 1968 revolution, during the golden 80’s, in the 90’s in reaction to the golden 80’s, ….).

What challenges do you face in the design process? What are your favorite parts of the process?

The background idea in my head constantly saying me “will it be easy to produce it without costing too much ? is it “commercial” enough? Is this fabric really suitable for everyday life ? …?...?...? etc.”. It’s sometimes hard to take it out of my head, and yet it’s really important to do it, otherwise it completely shatters my creativity and my spontaneity. My favorite parts of the process are the very beginning, when I do the research and when I look for inspirations. A new collection is like a new beginning and it’s always very exciting. The other part I really love in the process, is when I actually succeed in taking these questions out of my head and making everything I have in mind without over thinking and with a true spontaneity.

Describe your design process in one word: Spontaneous

How would you describe the concept behind your project (for FASHIONCLASH)?

My project (collection) is called "Under depression". Through it, I want to raise awareness of this illness and therefore open a discussion about it. Because while nobody seems to realize the impact of such a struggle on one's daily life, a vicious circle grows bigger and bigger. Because when one wants to end it all, one becomes a spectator of lives around, and later into an actor or even worse: into a sad clown. I made the decision to use my face and vision of this situation to illustrate the absurdity of this situation of it. It's anchored in my mind. The voice comes from inside. I am the sad clown. My face is all over the place. Welcome to my clownesque ego-trip.

Photography: Soe Aitarg
What inspired you?

I was inspired by my depression on a daily basis and it translates into each piece in many different ways. For instance, the circus world and the clowns actually come from the fact that they are never taken seriously in their disguise. I could therefore easily identify to them and used that connection to exaggerate garments I personally wear (shirt, hoodie, jogging, jeans, k-way,...). Their fraises also inspired me because of their dramatic aspect. It also covers the whole neck, which pushed me to erase that body part from my collection. That way, I want to evoke the suffocating feeling caused by the illness. Furthermore, it also deforms body proportions, just like depression can distort a person’s perception of literally anything around them. Finally, I made the important decision to use my face as a tool in this project. I want to illustrate the disorder I live with. I want to become its face. I want to be the evidence that struggling with it feels like being part of a play, because it takes a lot to wake up and behave like people around when nothing is going “normally” as felt from the inside.

 How would you describe your project in three words? Ego-trip under depression

What projects are you involved in at the moment? What are your next steps? 

Nothing in particular. I’ve taken a break since a few months. I needed that for my mental health, it was too much for me. FASHIONCLASH is the first project I take part in since I’ve decided to start again. There are no precise next steps for the moment, I’ve decided to take it slow for the moment while trying not to miss any opportunities. Let’s see what the future will save for me…

What are your thoughts regarding fashion and religion?

Fashion is a true religion, you have to put yourself in it at 100%, and also believe in it as strong as some people believe in god.

What does your day look like during the design process?

My design process is extremely spontaneous, so I don’t have a typical day during that time. It really depends on how I feel every day. I can either design all the day/night without almost no breaks until I feel empty of inspiration or I can do almost nothing except watching movies, reading and writing a lot until I feel again fully inspired. When my projects are too considered, to intellectualised I always hate them, because if so, to me, they’re losing their emotional strength (to the point that even sketching is almost too much for me). Therefore, my work has to be spontaneous. I can’t and I don’t want to force my workflow.

Who is your favorite artist? Jean-Michel Basquiat

Who is your favorite designer? Walter Van Beirendonck

To find out more, visit Emilie Thirion's website at http://www.emiliethirion.com

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