“Dresses that can dance, that can create movement” is a line that does not belong to a sci-fi film, and neither is it a lucid expectation of futuristic garments. In fact, this line simply sums up Fashion Clash’s current mission. A couple of month ago, the local fashion scene was stunned when a group of young aspiring designers decided to follow a genre rarely supported in Egypt.
The young designers worked collectively on an avant-garde series of garments that were theatrical, surprising and absolutely artistic. The first round of Fashion Clash was an invitation to all fashion insiders to think out of the box and start opting for change.
This week, the futuristic and creative move comes back to push the envelope one step further. The founders vary between architects and fashion designers, including architect Mahmoud Abd Rabboh as well as designers Mohamed Khafagi, Yasmine Abd El-Wahab and Ghader Khaled. Accordingly, the project combines the two parallel worlds of fashion and architecture.
“Humans have always related architecture to garments, even before having the privilege to design their clothes, and they have always used the same structure for their outfits as well as homes. There are many examples in each and every civilisation, including with the pharaohs and Europe’s Dark Age,” Abd Rabboh said. “In old Islamic Egypt, the building’s Mashrabeya, windows enclosed in carved wood, was created to give the insiders a chance to see the street, yet prevent the passersby from peeking in. Walking the same line, women of the same age used to wear the Burqa that had the same essential design and served the same purpose.”
Therefore, Fashion Clash aimed to recruit enthusiasts and promising minds from both worlds, in order to mix and match the artistic static of the two. The founders prefer to categorise their programme as an educational one. Consequently, the team is working on introducing the students to the two fields as well as the latest movements and technologies applied worldwide.
“The workshop is an advanced project for fashion designers, yet we welcome anyone who is interested in the concept,” Khaled said. “Our workshop is about garments inspired by parametric designs through architecture.”
Ahead of the second wave, students were invited to an open workshop to warm them up for the upcoming project. The brief meeting tackled the basics of the two sciences, while highlighting their meeting points.
“Fashion design is applied art on garments; with consideration to surrounding conditions, events and elements, including politics, economy, architecture, etc,” said Khaled. At the same time, one of the participants added that architecture is in all surrounding things, stating that it is about comfort in all forms of life to enhance reality, which can apply on anything, including fashion design.
While the local industry is only interested in “Haute Couture” and “Ready to Wear” garments, Fashion Clash looks the other way in the direction of avant-garde and absolute art.
What we create is neither ready to wear nor made to order, we are all about creating pieces of art,” said Khafagi. Meanwhile, Khaled added: “We are not searching for wearable items or anything that can be compared to what is already in the market.”
With that being said, the artistic movement has already linked the two worlds with the outcomes of its previous wave, and this round craves something much more important. This year, the founders are set to study and implement parametric design for the first time in the region, to create garments that can think and redesign themselves according to external factors.
Parametric design is an algorithmic process that links design and design response. Initially, the concept started in architecture, however, the technology has been embraced by fashion design in the forms of 3D printing and responsive garments.
“Last year was completely manual, this year we aim for 3D and responsive fashion through implementing parametric design. We want to develop a programme that can animate the garments,” said Khafagi.
Simultaneously, this year’s students are expected to penetrate the world of jewellery as well, with accessories that complement their avant-garde garments. “We want to create jewellery that is part of the dress, something between jewellery and garments,” explained Khafagi.
The project’s runway shows are always highly theatrical with vivid musical choreography directed by a contemporary dance studio. “Last year we suffered from a major malfunction, as some dresses lacked flexibility at joints which dictated the movement,” the choreographer added. “This year, we aim to create something bigger and more extravagant; something that has not been seen before.”
The students have two upcoming milestones, starting with the paper show that will be hosted and powered by the British Council in mid-September. This show should showcase responsive garments, as well as jewellery made out of paper solely. In the next step, the students will go through a filtration process based on their work and the best will be asked to implement their previous designs using fabrics and other materials.