Nov. 1, 2019
UAL Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design MA student
uses Ultrasuede® for the graduation project and introduced at London Fashion Week
Toray contributed its product Ultrasuede® for the collection of Erika Maish MA Fashion Textiles Pathway graduate at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Designs, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London (UAL). The collection was introduced at London Fashion Week in February 2019
1. Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Designs, University of the Arts London
Central Saint Martins is a world-renowned arts and design college, and is one of the six colleges within University of the Arts London. The college has nurtured many generations of creative talent. Among its graduates are world leaders in the fashion community, including John Galliano, Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci.
2. Designer and Design using Ultrasuede®
(1) Erika Maish(resides in Los Angeles)
At 17 I moved from Los Angeles to London to study at Central Saint Martins. Over the past seven years I have completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Design and Masters Degree in Fashion. Along the way I gained experience in a range of places like knitwear at Marc Jacobs, Archive Photogrpahy at Celine, natural dyeing at John Skelton and freelance exhibition preparation at the Getty Museum. In February 2019 my graduate collection was shown at London Fashion Week and featured in publications including Dazed, Document Journal, King Kong and Another Magazine.
(2) Press Release
One of the principal starting points for ‘American Psychic’ was learning that Ronald Reagan had the astrologer Joan Quigley advising him while he was in the White House. I found out that even some of the biggest firms on Wall St have psychics on their boards. I loved the juxtaposition of the conservative with the esoteric to see how closely spirituality and capitalism are intertwined. I had an image in my head of a businesswoman stranded in the desert reconstructing her clothing out of old can tabs. She’s painting them with car paints from the local auto body shop, wearing old jewelry she finds lying around, looking at the sky and hammering the constellations into her dress, wearing the massage beads of her car seats and crystals that will heal her. Many different iterations of Americana were pulled together to visualize this collection. I sourced old postcards from the famed Madonna Inn and vintage photos of women in bathing suits posing at car shows. I went on road trips, to vintage shops, Native American bead work road side stands, witchcraft markets and tarot and aura readings. The works of David Lynch, Shana Moulton, Remedies Varo and El Anatsui were all sources of inspiration.
I wanted to explore this archetype of people leaving the city trying to find themselves in nature and New Age living. The desert remains both a place of promise and desolation, with all kinds of communities proposing alternative ways of living. Some of the key places I visited for inspiration were Sedona, Arco Santi, and Rhyolite. Particularly in the mining town of Rhyolite, Nevada the Joshua trees weren’t suited to become lumber for houses, so the miner Tom Kelly began collecting glass bottles from saloons to build houses. The resourcefulness of these bottle houses inspired me to use found materials like soda can tabs to create something beautiful out of nothing.
A main idea in the making of the collection was that of linking and fully fashioned clothing, notably reworking waste material. I wanted materials that are normally used as decorative components to be the main structural element. A big challenge was trying to make tailored garments from unconventional materials, like how I could create a stable collar and pockets out of can tabs or make an immovable material fluid. The pieces are full of contradictions like a short sequin party dress that is actually warm and knitted, a bikini that will make you sink instead of float or a trench coat that will not protect you from the rain. The materiality lies in the idea of challenging its intended purpose and previous assumptions about what clothes are made from and what they feel like. It is not about being loud or huge shapes but beauty in the details and a strong focus on craftsmanship.
Ultrasuede® keeps evolving toward a future full of "Beautiful Possibilities."