Drew Williams and melting silicone

Drew Williams – a new and fresh rising talent in fashion industry.
Before designer realized that she wanted to be a fashion creator, she studied a molecular biology. This earlier experience gave a microscopically precise way to explore and research everything what is related with creation and surrounded world. Though Drew had her graduation collection early this summer (San Francisco, Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion), the unique and modern approach was noticed and designer won internship at L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale in Paris.

As a main material Drew chose to form garments out of silicone. Surprisingly unexpected choice speaks for it self – shiny, wet-look and sleek texture is a real eye catcher and minimal, but strong shapes clearly declare about its own uniqueness and originality. There are no doubts that something new and independent is created.

 Drew Williams (picture by Rob Curry)

- Describe yourself as a designer and as a person.
Do you see big difference between these both descriptions?
- I think that who I am as a person completely influences who I am as a designer. The way how I approach things and the things that inspire me are integrated throughout both spheres of my life. I am curious about everything and I like to try many different things before I decide what works the best. I am drawn to a humanist approach to science, connecting emotion and human experience and scientific theories through analogy.

- Why do you choose womanswear?
- I honestly didn’t consider menswear before I started getting into the upper levels of school. I think I gravitated towards designing for women because it was what I knew and I love the female forms too. I don’t think I feel exclusively tied to women’s though, I feel that my aesthetic and process of creativity could also be applied to men’s clothing.

- What was the first item you created?
- In my senior level collection, the first thing I attempted to make was the long raincoat. It was the spark, or start of the collection. I remember Simon suggesting “What if it’s a raincoat? “. Because the fabric I developed was enough of a departure from the standard view of clothes and the shapes of the garments would have to balance everything. That one comment lead to me starting to sample the coat and ultimately, doing even more research and development of the rest of the collection.

- Are there any connections with molecular biology in your recent creativity?
- I feel that molecular biology has made my perspective because no matter what I’m inspired by, I look at it through a microscope and I’ll research everything that I think relates to it.

- Where do you seek for inspiration?
- I look for inspiration everywhere, but the first place I tend to go is a library. I look at heaps of books, some with pictures and some without. Reading definitely gives me the mood or tone I’m trying to convey. I also go to museums, galleries, performances and parties which have also inspired me, if not literally, but as a motivation, a feeling that I need to create.

- How did you first get the idea to make clothes out from silicon/latex?
- I was playing with the idea of evolution and I was using a lot of materials that had a vintage feel, because I really love old clothes. But it wasn’t getting the evolutionary mood across in a modern way. I went to a plastic store and started touching things, like I would do with fabric or yarn, and I was drawn to silicone. It reminded me of running gels in science class. I thought I would just try it. It ended up looking really interesting and people responded to it so I kept creating from silicone.

 (pictures by Randy Brooke)

- Do you have some special rituals before you start to create?
- I gather things and I imagine the girl wearing the clothes and what feels right. I like to play with different ideas of knit stitches and construction. I have to be in this other world before I can really work, but once I start I don’t think of anything else and I am just consumed in actualizing it.

- What do you think about minimalism in fashion?
- I used to not understand minimalism, I would find it elegant but I didn’t “get it.” Then I tried it out of necessity because I had a crazy fabric I had to make and make clothes out of it. When I started to do the muslins and placing stripe and pattern, that became a consuming meditation. It was really simple but placing something even 2cm lower or higher would make a difference. That’s when I realized the beauty of minimalism - there is a focus to each piece, something you are meant to see or experience.

- What are the basic values for you as for designer?
- I value mood, a vibe that transports the viewer or wearer to another place or makes them feel empowered. I value a sense of humor in design - nothing is too cool for school, everything can be made fun of and it should be accepted. In clothing construction, I value clever, inventive finishing and interesting fabric manipulation.

- What difficulties you are struggling being a young designer?
Do you need to mach and fight for everyone’s attention?
- I think there is a need to assert your own uniqueness, in school and in the industry in general. Everyone is trying to stand out and I have definitely felt pressure to do that. In spite of that, I am just usually so caught up in my imaginary world that I don’t really focus on trying to compete. If I win something, I would like it to be based on what I created.

- If you can name it what is the biggest achievement in your young career?
- I have to say that the two biggest dreams I had while I was in school was getting the Paris Sister City Exchange and getting into the Spring Fashion Show. When I got the Paris Exchange I was in a state of surreal shock. When I got into the Spring Show I felt like I had teleported to another universe. I am just honored for these recognitions and opportunities.

 (pictures by Randy Brooke)

- Future plans, dream collaborations and hopes?
- In August, I will move to Paris to prepare for my scholarship exchange year at L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale. I will start a blog to capture my experiences, which will be starting closer to my move date, July 31. I’ll post on my website when that gets started.
As far as dream collaboration, I would have to say that mine would have to be Nicolas Ghesquière - I would like to live in his brain for a while. My hopes for the future of my career are to learn as much as possible - through this new school experience and hopefully through working for a design house after that.

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