For the Spring/Summer '18 fashion season we were invited to show our work at Dapper Q's annual fashion show at Brooklyn Museum, this year under the theme of R/Evolution within the context of an event meant to promote minority communities. We decided to begin the design process by envisioning a future condition in which the world is subject to dire environmental change in the form of a global freezing over, and in the face of these changes preservation of humanity and natural materials takes precedence over superficial means of human divisions. These materials would then be democratized among the surviving residents of this new world, taking the form of wearable preservation vessels.
1 | Inspiration Sourcing
Before beginning any work on the pieces we launched our process by sourcing images that could inspire and build the future world condition we would be designing within. These sources included movie stills, architecture and installation projects, industrial design objects, and ambient music.
2 | Material Testing
Once our future world had been built to a point where we could comfortably design our pieces as logical extensions of the condition, we began testing methods by which we could communicate "preservation" of natural materials and cultural structure. From our world design we established transparent and frosted plexiglass to be our best base material for the apparel pieces in terms of aesthetic and concept. Our most successful results for fusing natural material with plexiglass turned out to be lamination of material between two layers of plexigass, building of 3-layer plexiglass "pods", and chemical affixation of material to plexiglass. We then focused our process down to designing 6 looks around our final selected materials: water, plant life, communication, identity, salt, and gas.
3 | Design / Build
With our materials selected and their best means of union with our base apparel material established, we then continued our process by making aesthetic and design choices that we felt best represented the futurism element to our collection. In order to do this we eliminated communicating about each look in terms of traditional apparel items (pants, shirt, dress, etc.) and instead only referred to them by material. By establishing a triangular grid system that was used to laser-cut the plexiglass, and connection method between each triangular unit via jump ring, our design process for each look came out of organically building forms that adhered to the grid system. Our final products come out of a construction process that was based on geometric play rather than coverage since the primary intent of the pieces were to act as preservation vessels rather than means of modesty.
4 | Ambient Experience
Wanting to enforce the cinematic experience of our show beyond just the design themselves, we reached out to creatives who we felt could solidify our vision for help with the visual and audio elements. Our soundtrack was built form a selection of tracks from the (at the time) unreleased solo EP, Spiritual Leader, of Son Lux drummer Ian Chang. Once we had assembled the soundtrack to best fit the progressive energy of the show, we began a collaborative design process with graphic artist and animator, JP Rooney. He helped flesh out ideas for visuals that wouldn't just complement the show, but articulate the origination and energy of QUCE, as well as designed the brand logo and typography. These elements were then modeled, rendered, and animated to queue to Ian's music.
5 | Casting & Team
Since the theme of the event was visibility for minority groups, we took casting as an opportunity to communicate more explicitly the implicit suggestion of humanity being leveled under ecological pressure. Not only did we want models who would visually represent this new diversity, we wanted to highlight people who were vocal for a variety of groups and through various means. Our show was opened by transgender teen model, Juliet Evancho, who had recently won a bathroom bill court case for her school district, and closed by Shaholly Ayers, an amputee model and brand ambassador for Global Disability Inclusion. Our other models included queer artist Coco Layne, stylist/blogger/LGBTQ advocate Derek Dujour, Swedish business student Josefine Svensson, and queer model Rymarkable Huston. Our vision was further supported by makeup art Jane Meng, hair stylist, Zeta Korqa, and stylist Ashley Temple, who collectively designed and executed finishing elements of the looks.