Tag Archives: Art

Innovative Japanese fashion by ANREALAGE

Innovative Japanese fashion by ANREALAGE

My youngest sister is very much into the Japanese culture and as a result some of her interest has poured through to me. We find ourselves watching the odd documentary on NHK Network, regarding various aspects of Japanese life and culture, including fashion.

Today we came across some very interesting examples of Japanese designers pushing the boat in terms of producing something new, innovative, creative and artistic! The design house ANREALAGE has created some very unique collections and is headed by Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Mohinara.

I want to firstly mention one of his previous collections (AW 2011/2012) where he took the concept of pixel display to a whimsical level in use with outlines and prints on his garments. It looks quite fun, unique and yet stylish. Here are some stills from a video of the catwalk which is available to view here: http://www.tokyofashionfilm.com/pages/anrealage_2011aw_collection.html

AW 2011-12 collection by ANREALAGE, Japanese Fashion
AW 2011-12 collection by Kunihiko Mohinara for ANREALAGE

What really caught my eye and interest was ANREALAGE’s most recent, AW 2013/2014 collection. Part of this collection was based on an innovative presentation of colour on garments. The models walked down wearing head to toe white, walked to the middle of the stage where there was a circular turntable and stood here. The turntable started to rotate 360 degrees and slowly the colours on the garments appeared. The garments changed to become blocks of colour, some containing patterns in pastel shades of pink, yellow, and blue. At first I thought it was just the lighting that was changing as a sort of projection on to the clothes. Then the commentator mentioned that the garments are actually made with photocronic textiles containing compounds which respond to UV light. I guess it’s similar to those reaction lenses you have on glasses where they become sunglasses as soon as you’re in the sun. But this idea is brilliant. It’s responsive and interactive!

AW 2013-14 collection by Kunihiko Mohinara for ANREALAGE
AW 2013-14 collection by Kunihiko Mohinara for ANREALAGE

Watch the video to see the effects in action:

Some of these clothes look cool even in plain white. I think this method of showcasing the clothes in all white at first forces the audience to appreciate the cuts, shapes and styles of each piece before hitting home the effect that colour can have on their appreciation of it. Fashion is an art form which sometimes is taken for granted. We all do it as it’s a bit of a commodity, daily necessity and sometimes a luxury to look for, buy and own new clothes and accessories.

A designer has so much to fulfill, the creation of something that appeals on an aesthetic level as well as in it’s fit to the human body. Therefore the cutting, stitching, wearing of the garments becomes a huge responsibility. This really comes through when you see each piece on the catwalk as a blank white foundation, the basis on which colours enhance the design.

Digital Art meets textiles

Digital Art meets textiles

For some time I’ve been considering the use of fabrics and textiles as a new medium to experiment with (and that would explain why some of my recent posts have a bit of a fashion focus).

There are so many ways that patterns can be applied to fabrics. Some of these methods are very common such as printing via machines, embroidery, crochet, lace.. and others are a bit more specialised such as the use of wooden blocks, fabric paints, laser-cutting, etc. There is so much choice and it’s almost like when you walk into a sweet shop as a kid, having to decide which one bar of chocolate to spend your pocket money on. I’m left a little overwhelmed.

Inspiring patterned textiles – a recent Topshop window display in Westfield, White City:

Window display by Topshop, Westfield, White City, London
Window display by Topshop, Westfield, White City, London

I’ve recently noticed a current trend in the shops for cut-out pattern work garments and accessories, be they high end designer or local high street brands. Here are some of my favourite examples – probably because they are monochrome:

Hobbs - Invitation Rococo Dress
Hobbs – Invitation Rococo Dress with lace patterns


L.K Bennett Britani Broderie Anglaise Dress
L.K Bennett – Britani Broderie Anglaise Dress
Monsoon Ebony Cutwork Cardigan
Monsoon – Ebony Cutwork Cardigan – layered black cut-out fabric atop white lining
Furla - Cut-out bags and patterned wallets
Furla – Cut-out Tote Satchel bags and Zip Around patterned wallet


I find these examples inspiring. They also remind me of examples of lattice screens I’ve seen in the past, such as windows from historical Indian Mughal tombs like this one carved from marble (inside Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb, Delhi, India):

Inside Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India
Inside Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi, India (Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humayun%27s_Tomb)

And let’s not forget the winner of the V&A Jameel Prize 2009: Afruz Amighi for her piece 1001 Pages (2008).

1001 Pages by Afruz Amighi, winner of Jameel Prize 2009
1001 Pages by Afruz Amighi, winner of Jameel Prize 2009. (Image taken from: http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2009/jameel_prize_2009)

I’ve explained my love for this kind of work previously but I’ll do so again here. The effect of lighting, creation of shadows, effect of movement of the viewer to change the perspective, the evoking of themes of nature, looking through windows, the intricacy of the pattern, the details to look closer at, the lack of colour not being a problem as it is about light and dark instead, a bit like black and white, space and non-space, shapes and the spaces around those shapes, negative space… *starts daydreaming*.

Digital Crystal at the Design Museum in partnership with Swarovski

Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard part of the Digital Crystal exhibition at the Design Museum
Pandora by Fredrikson Stallard featured as part of the Digital Crystal exhibition at the Design Museum

Not everyone is aware of Swarovski’s involvement in a huge range of arts related projects. If there is any medium that you can apply a swarovski crystal, fabric or gem on then be sure it has probably been done. Some are obvious – clothes, bags, shoes, mobile phones, watches, and of course jewellery. And some are not so obvious – lighting, trees, pens, artwork… just be a little imaginative with your googling terms with the addition of ‘Swarovski’ and you may be pleasantly surprised with their collaborations with other huge names across a number of industries.

But let’s cut to the chase and discuss the reason for this post – a current exhibition at the Design Museum in London (05 September 2012 – 13 January 2013). An exhibition of digital art featuring either physical, virtual or theoretical crystals.

The exhibition has works of art by some very well known artists:

Hye-yeon Park
Ron Arad
Hilda Hellstrom
Marcus Tremonto
Philippe Malouin
Fredrikson Stallard
Arik Levy
Anton Alvarez
Paul Cocksedge
Yves Behar
Maarten Baas
Random International
Beta Tank

On the Museum’s web site the description is:

Over the past decade Swarovski’s design and architecture commissions have served as an important experimental platform for leading figures in design to conceptualise, develop and share their most radical ideas. For this exhibition, the Design Museum and Swarovski are collaborating to challenge designers to explore the future of memory in the fast developing digital age. The result is 15 unique installations giving you a glimpse of the future of memory.

Visit the Design Museum website for further details: http://digitalcrystal.designmuseum.org/

I think you’ll know why I’m excited about this merging of art, design and technology once you’ve seen the promo video. It reminds me of the excitement I felt during my Digital Arts MA, the possibilities the new technologies (both software and hardware) allow and how your ideas can contribute to the most unique presentations and output.