Marit Fujiwara and Mary Katrantzou: Textiles that are shaping the way we see fashion

Marit Fujiwara and Mary Katrantzou: Two designers, two unique examples of manipulating textiles.

With university well underway and a need to carry out trend forecasting research for my latest project, I thought I would share with you a more artistic, innovative side of fashion and some key textiles developments that continue to inspire me. Textural complexity and it’s manipulation has always interested me and when studying for my a-level I was constantly obsessed with colour, shape, structure, texture, and stitch in all my projects. I was driven by possibility and opportunity and would experiment with anything in order to achieve the look I wanted. The message my pieces evoked was also of particular importance and I wanted them to stand out. By using vibrant, bold colours and layers of embroidery, silk, stitch and fabric I enabled myself to fully appreciate the power of textiles and focused on implementing various methods to create a colourful representation and outcome from my visual research. I love visually stimulating pieces, especially those with a meaning and message behind them (as you are probably already aware!) so it may come as no surprise when I mention two artists that continue to provide an artistic and original approach to fashion: Mary Katrantzou and Marit Fujiwara.

Doing it right: Why is textile manipulation is so important to our visual aesthetic?

Queen of prints Mary Katrantzou is quite possibly my favourite designer at the moment. Her mix of eclectic and complex prints and bold, vibrant colours make her an exciting new fashion find and her S/S 2014 collection did not disappoint. The Greek born designer is now highly recognisable for her individual signature style and her hyperrealist aesthetic help make her a fun and fierce fashion designer. Pioneering the use of textiles and print and changing the messages it can convey, she uses objects in her collections that would otherwise be impossible to wear – by creating the illusion on the printed fabrics that they are infact being worn. A sense of possibility means this revolutionary new idea has implemented a radical change in the use of textiles in fashion and how they can be manipulated to create desired effects. Through Katrantzou’s S/S 2014 collection, this welcoming distortion of the visual meant an interpretation and response from the audience that would be different to any other collection and it’s safe to say that it was something we have never laid eyes on before! The importance of visually stimulating pieces is going to get bigger and Katrantzou has set the bar high. Coupled with attention to detail, amazing embellishment and over exaggerated pleats and ruffles, the silhouettes reflected the feminine form perfectly and reminded us all that less is definitely not more when it comes to rocking colour, texture and print all in one. A truly liberating collection and one of my faves to grave the LFW catwalk for S/S 14. With the inspiration for the collection said to come from three of her favourite shoes: a brogue, a plimsoll and an evening shoe, it is incredible to think what she could come up with next – and I cant wait to see it! Manipulating textiles is one way we can really experiment and look at different ways to engage and communicate ideas. It shows a progression both culturally and socially and makes people aware that the possibilities are endless. With S/S 2015 next on the cards, I’m sure we’ll see a strong ecological focus and a more structured use of textiles and its manipulation – the importance of which will be paramount to an anticipating fashion audience.

Mary Katrantzou SS 2014

Textiles has always fascinated me and been something I can really sink my teeth into, I could get inspiration from almost anything but it has always been about colour and texture for me. Marit Fujiwara is one of those designers whose pieces are incredibly seductive and mouth watering for any textiles enthusiast and I just had to share them with you. A constructive textile designer who studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, her work evokes a sense of purity and delicacy that is both intriguing and fascinating for the viewer. Her graduate collection ‘Wound’ was a masterpiece in itself and perfectionism at its finest. Every piece was delectably adorned with manipulated fabric to the extent it was almost hard to fathom how it was all produced by hand. The collection looked more like pieces of art rather than wearable fashion attire but the impact of each piece was extraordinary. An innovative and truly unique use of textiles, Fujitwara went above and beyond to create this impeccable collection and it oozes a sophisticated rawness that I have yet to find in any other textile designer. The sensual colours and organic aesthetic give a sound suggestion towards mother nature and its possibility to inspire. What I love about Fujitwara is her ability to push the boundaries between art, craft and textiles in her work, exploring new techniques and updating traditional ones. The adaptability of her talent means her pieces mix a sculptural identity with a textural complexity and colour popping prints with emphasis on the natural environment. Inspired by human skeletal frames with elements of nature and a refined rawness, ‘Wound’ successfully communicates an individual sophisticated and artistic aesthetic and is simply beautiful to look at.

Textile manipulation and the use of traditional techniques, aswell as inventing new ones has a way of inspiring and conjuring ideas in the onlookers mind. With the reinterpretation of embellishment, stitch, applique and fabric painting it has never before been so interesting to transform fabrics. By mixing methods and materials textiles has the power to inject passion and debate into any individual and convey meanings and ideas to each and every one of us. Without it, fabric would be bland and uninteresting. It would not have the same values and the same effect. With the current economic climate it is becoming more important to make do and mend and as we approach S/S 2015 I’m sure we’ll see a lot of ecological and environmentally focused textile manipulation. Future fabrics may also play a role in how we transform our textiles and political, social and cultural structure will provide us with some pretty extraordinary ideas when it comes to fashioning the future.