Interdisciplinary bridges by Hussein Chalayan



 Hussein Chalayan (picture by Chris Moore)

- Describe yourself as a designer/label, artist and person. What are the main differences between these descriptions?
- I think I have finally come round to thinking of myself as an artist who happens to use clothes as my main medium. But using other mediums can create a platform for these ideas such as video, film, photography and sculpture. I don’t think clothes are limiting, I have a process which helps me to design which usually involves an idea or tells a story but ultimately this needs to lead to a product which a woman can wear – she doesn’t need to know the process, she can just enjoy the garment.


- You are creating since 1993. What were your very first steps to get into fashion industry?
- As a child, I developed an independent fascination for the body – I was so exited about anything to do with it, I was also brought up mainly by women who probably helped to fuel this, I started to create narratives around the body. I guess fashion for me was the closet thing which celebrated the body and that’s why I chose to study it.

- At the same time you are creating fashion and art installations/happenings.
Are these both fields of expression are equal? How do you find the connection between your ideas?
- I feel that the best ideas work on all levels in terms of function, aesthetic, make, originality, etc. Whether it is called art or not is not always so important.
I would describe my work as cross disciplinary, with my idea to create bridges between design and other aspects of life. I generally instigate the presentations in relation to what has been designed as I always envisage a scenario with the clothes in them.

 (picture by Chris Moore)

- Do you have some special rituals before you start to create?
- I am a curious person and an ideas person, everything I do is imbued with my curiosity and love of exploring ideas. If I had to define my philosophy in a just few words, it would be an exploration, a journey, storytelling – it is a combination of these things with suggestions and proposals at the same time. It’s a quest into certain areas and proposing a way of looking at something.

- Where do you seek for inspiration?
- I am inspired by anthropology, migration, history, social prejudice, politics, displacement, science fiction and my own cultural background.

- Why did you choose to create womenswear? Do you have the ideal portrait of woman/client when you create?
- Someone whose style means they can dress like a tomboy by day and transform into a sexy goddess by night.

- If you can name it what is the biggest achievement in your whole career?
- Biggest achievement is that my company is still around.

- Future plans, dream collaborations and hopes?
- My new collection to be shown in Paris, my partnership with puma and also want to take projects a lot further, reaching more people.

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