Reconstructing your own body
Do you feel interested about which part of your body makes you smile? May be someone will do a research about the construction of body when they are inspired by facial expression. However, Jolka Wiens reconstructed facial expression to be her latest collection. Jolka Wiens is a Berlin born designer and graduated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her own label ёлка presented the lastest collection about facial expression. You might think that the collection will be in complicated structure, but it is so fresh that you can see some simple shaped clothing in the this collection. Let’s see the concept behind!
(runway shots by Peter Stigter)
Interview with Jolka Wiens
C: Criminal Girl , J: Jolka Wiens
C: Would you please tell me more about the latest collection?
J: The collection I graduated with was inspired by facial expression. I am fascinated by the human body and the face in particular. I studied the topic of facial expression in that year and wrote my thesis about it.
Every facial expression changes the message we are communicating or receiving. I am very interested in human behavior. It usually is a starting point for my work, every collection I work on is somehow inspired by the human mind, psychological backgrounds or behavior. Like my Paranoia Collection where I focussed on delusions and which turned out to be quiet dark.
Very much in contrast to my Graduation Collection, which I wanted to keep very clean and minimalistic instead.
I like to use the human body, the model, the wearer, as part of the cloth. In my graduation collection for example, the human body is literally used to bring the clothes to live. They are really 2D when you would put them down flat.
This is coming out of the idea to translate the slightest change of the facial expression (muscles) into the same kind of basic shape. This basic shape you can compare with a face or flat skin, which wouldn’t give us any expression at all, if there wouldn’t be a correlation between the skin and the facial muscles.
I use the same basic shape of the patterns, a simple T-Shape, which I am continuously changing through cutting in the fabric. In combination with movement, every visual outcome changes with every look and is perceived in a different way.
What you often can find back, is a sculptural approach of my work. But in general, my concepts are the leading thread through my work, every collection can have a very different feeling what brought it to existence ,which also influences the atmosphere of a collection of course.
C: What is your muse for this collection?
J: I am always drawn to a certain kind of a strong women or girl, who has enough sense of sensibility and are able to dream, but also to fight for their goals. Also able to self reflection and a progress of development. Haven been broken somehow goes with the kind of character I like, but in a way that you have been grown stronger out of a situation. My muse definitely isn’t giving up on herself, ever. Well though she would be smart enough to refuse something which brings her further in her experience of life.
Every season I refine my muse and usually I go for girls who are just not that perfect, because perfection seems boring to me. This is kind of ironic if you think about the fact that I am a perfectionist and sometimes a little bit compulsive.Maybe I am looking for that contrast, from chaos to perfection, there are so many shades of grey in between.
C:What new for you this season? What kind of new make up/ accessories for your latest collection?
J: After I graduated, I started working on a different project which stands in relation to my graduation collection.
I cannot tell you anything more about it yet, since it would reveal too much of the actual work.
C: How about your study at Gerrit-Rietveld-Academy?
J: My study at the Rietveld, I really enjoyed, especially looking back after a year. In the moment itself ( a few years though), your in blood, sweat and tears as well, of course. It is a good study which confronts you a lot with yourself, which makes it even deeper than the subject fashion design itself.
When I started, I came for the foundation year. You get almost all the design and art disciplines in one year, and after that year you can choose what direction yours will be. That helped me extremely to make my choice, even though, I am very impulsive. I didn’t plan back then yet to study fashion. Very soon though for me was clear that I wanted in a design direction, and when I started my 2nd semester I couldn’t wait to start with my chosen department.
They also offer a lot of workshops, and even got a glass and ceramic department. My favorite workshops are definitely the wood and metal workshops, and of course, next to the textile department, also the laser cut workshop.But in my 2nd year of fashion, when I worked on my Paranoia Collection, I also used metal for example, which was a complete new experience for me using some unconventional material as this in my clothes (at least not conventional anymore for our times).
What I always appreciated at the Rietveld, that you have lots of freedom, sometimes more than the usual fashion studies offer. I would describe the academy as a very creative place, full of potential artists and designers. It is international and the education is very conceptual and the academy itself a little chaotic sometimes, which, personally, I love about it. You get space to develop yourself and you are expected to work independently. It is also extremely time consuming, and I think after the first year, you know you belong there or you don’t want that kind of study at all.
When it comes to Rietveld, the only thing which the education is missing in my opinion, is a more business related course you could choose for, next to the creative part.
C:Why are you interested in fashion?
J: Fashion, or clothing, is a medium everybody can reply to. Everybody needs to wear clothes.
When I grew up, I barely was crazy about a certain brand, it was much more about creating the most bizarre combinations and trying out looks which were unusual at that moment.
Anyway, everybody has some relation to clothing, doesn’t matter if you are a fashionista or a construction worker. We all wear certain clothing for a certain reason, or not.
C: What do you think about the new designers in the Netherlands?
J: Iris van Herpen also should be pointed out of the dutch designers, since she makes remarkable designs using 3D printers, laser cutter etc.
C: What is the next project for you?
J: I try to work in fashion as much as I can, and as a designer I try to establish my label in the future. That means, learning with every step.
C: Where do you seek your inspiration?
J: My inspiration can come from many different sources. I’m definitively a day dreamer, or someone who observes a lot.
I give colors to names for example, or can get inspired by an old paint layer on a broken door which got through out.
Also what I mentioned before, psychological topics catch my interest a lot usually, especially behavior and it’s influence on communication.
C:What is your favorite designer and why?
J: Lagerfeld I admire since it is unbelievable what he did and still does. Also he manages to stay young and modern in his work, and keeps surprising with new things. And his work attitude is impressive.
Balenciaga I really liked, still do, but the origin of it comes through used materials and styles which are surprising in combination and very refreshing most of the times. Alexander Wang is definitely doing his job, when you think of the pressure which comes laying down on your shoulders when you decide to go on for a house like Balenciaga.
Margiela I like for the conceptual way of working, of course, as well as Viktor & Rolf. Both are examples just how different concepts can be approached.
Acne I love for it’s nordic atmosphere and minimal styles, the „easy“, cool atmosphere.
After the interview…
Criminal Girl really thinks that Jolka Wiens is a good researcher. She researched the thought she is interested very deeply ( She gave so many good point of view when she is introducing her favorite designers!), and she surely have good understanding in fashion, too. This is a good attitude that a designer is a good researcher. This is because you need to understand what your muse is , so you can create your collection based by the well understanding of amuse.
More information of Jolka Wiens:
When Criminal Girl meets Jolka Wiens