There’s simply no better way to start off the week, than to have with us Jane Bowler, a London-based designer whose extraordinary skills in using plastics as core materials in most of her designs, which are impactful as well as revolutionary, as what I’d like to think of as wearable ‘coutures’.
While her designs may not exactly be coutures, her impressive usage of such complex, challenging, and as some would say, unusual choice of materials, and pairing them together with other fabrics, such as pvc and knits in a seamless manner, are immediate headturners that challenge the status quo.
I, for one, am especially intrigued and amazed at how these clothes of hers, which appear to be seemingly unwearable, are in fact, made highly wearable with fusions of technology in her fabrics, as well as thoroughly thought-through innovations that mirror her extreme talent in design. In some instances, her works reminds me that of Maison Martin Margiela‘s, except that Jane’s designs are brighter in hues, and so full of vitality and liveliness.
On that topic, it is seriously no ordinary feat how Jane has managed to showcase at the ‘Blow presents Show’ in London Fashion Week (LFW) last year , just after her graduation from London’s prestigious Royal College of Art (RCA) with a MA in Mixed Media Textiles.
When presented, she received raved reviews and international acclaims on her Spring/Summer 2012 collection , which mirrors an innovative approach in transforming what she claims as ‘unexpensive and mundane materials’ into impeccable works of art.
Having said that, the designer whose garments have been shot by the great Nick Knight in AnOtherman magazine, has also won an award in London Design Festival in an exhibition called ‘Sustain’, where she has demonstrated how notion of sustainability can be performed even with familiar, everyday objects, such as the transformation of plastics from old bath mats and shower curtains into beautiful and fashionable clothes.
To date, she has also been pioneered for her impeccable works in Dazed Digital‘s Rise issue, as well as being featured in BBC, and GuardianOnline‘s video on some of the most promising young graduate talents, making her one of the most exciting designer to look out for.
Now in her Autumn/Winter 2012 season, her unwaving eye for design never falters, and under the influences of structural elements in architecture, combined with hints of punk, she has delivered yet another collection that amazes in a darker and sexier mood, as compared to her previous collection.
Of course, her beauteous signature style of using plastics and fringing effects is clearly evident, coupled with stand-out elements of soft leathers, moulded plastic cut-outs, rubber and mohair knit, channels a sense of playfulness, movement in those otherworldly silhouettes, and at the same time, projects sophistication in a clean state. She has also worked alongside print designer Sophie Gray Cowley in translating the notion of cut-out plastics on fabric prints.
While I am seriously amazed at how she does it, there’s no better way to get into the insights of her extraordinary approach than to speak to the woman herself in an exclusive interview!
HI JANE, TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR AUTUMN/WINTER 2012 COLLECTION AND HOW YOU GOT INSPIRED.
JANE: ” My main point of inspiration always comes from my love of materials and processes; these are the driving force behind any collection.
The AW12 collection was also inspired by architecture, structure and repeat patterns. “
I’VE NOTICED THAT THIS COLLECTION IS SET ON A DARKER, AND MORE INTENSE MOOD FROM YOUR PREVIOUS SPRING/ SUMMER 2012 COLLECTION, WHICH WAS PRESENTED AT LONDON FASHION WEEK. IS THERE A REASON BEHIND THIS?
JANE: ” I think it is really important for a designer to keep you wanting more, and producing totally new looks each season. There is nothing worse than somebody thinking that you are a one trick pony!
I loved the SS12 collection but I wanted to contrast it’s pretty, young and bright aesthetic against a harder, darker and sexier feeling collection, which is why I’ve approached AW12 in the way that I did. “
SO, WHAT IS THE CORE DIRECTION BEHIND THE AVANT GARDE DESIGNS IN YOUR COLLECTION, AND HOW WOULD YOU CATEGORIZE YOUR STYLE OF FASHION?
JANE: ” As a textile design graduate I definitely have a different approach to fashion design. I love to use unexpected and mundane materials, and enjoy the challenge of transforming these materials into luxurious and sophisticated garments. I would say that my style of fashion is sophisticated yet fun! “
YOU’VE WORKED WITH SOME OF THE MOST INTERESTING MATERIAL THAT A DESIGNER WOULD USE – PLASTIC, IN THE FORM OF RECYCLED PLASTICS FROM SHOWER CURTAINS IN COMBINATION WITH KNITTING AS WELL AS PVC, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE WITH THESE MATERIALS ?
JANE: ” I really enjoy using plastics and the challenges it brings. My graduate collection at the Royal college of Art made use of recycled and re-appropriated materials, the look on peoples faces when I told them that these showpieces were made from disregarded materials ranging from bath mats to shower curtains!
The most memorable experience with these materials was during the lead up to my final collection when I suddenly discovered the unique heat induced process, which made way for every collection to follow… it was an accidental discovery, a very happy mistake! “
IN ONE WORD, DESCRIBE YOUR COLLECTION.
JANE: ” Fun! “
SINGER AZELIA BANKS WAS JUST SPOTTED WEARING YOUR JUMPER IN HER ‘VAN VOGUE’ MUSIC VIDEO, AND SINGERS LIKE RITA ORA HAVE ALSO DONNED ON YOUR DESIGNS FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS. WHO WOULD BE NEXT PERSON THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DRESS?
JANE: ” I would love to see the lovely Rihanna in some Jane Bowler, or maybe Jessy J … they have borrowed pieces but I am yet to see them in them… fingers crossed! “
YOU’VE ALSO DONE MANY EXHIBITIONS AND COLLABORATIONS FOR YOUR BRAND, TELL US MORE ABOUT IT.
JANE: ” I think it is so important for designers to collaborate and be very vocal about the fact that they are working with others. Collaborations allow my collections to be varied but refined, working with people who are brilliant at a particular skill.
I have a fantastic team of Knitwear designers of whom I met at the Royal College of Art (RCA).. Heather Orr and Victoria Bulmer, they inject some amazing knitwear into every collection. And this coming season I am working with a new Accessories Graduate, Lauren Moore… We have some great ideas up our sleeves, which I cant wait to reveal!
And also miliner, Aislinn Sweeney will be giving me a helping hand this season too! “
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR BRAND IN THE NEXT COLLECTION?
JANE: ” Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise… but there will be some stunning dresses, showing plastic in a totally new light! “
TO END OFF, ANY INSPIRING WORDS FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS LIKE YOURSELF?
JANE: ” Im not going to lie …Its hard work! But if you love what you do then it is totally worth it! Just work hard and always appreciate the people that help you! ”