We spoke to our latest Designer and Artist Eden Loweth before his PV last Thursday and his window up for the month of April. How do you describe your work?
So when I'm thinking about clothing I never thought of clothing to be about wearing something thats masculine or feminine, as a man who just picks clothing up off a shelf that I like, so when it came to doing my own work I really kind of focused on looking at fashion through a Queer gaze, the idea of it not being through a male or female canon, that is something more bigger than that, so all my work takes references from the people around me, but also referencing people like Derek Jarman, and really interesting Queer artists . I have done a lot of research into him and the way he worked and I find that really inspirational.
I work a lot with my partner as well and we kind of bounce ideas off each other, and it acts as a constant method of criticking it, so everyday we are talking things over and it takes a lot of kind of standard pieces of clothing and trying to make them into something that everyday any man or women would want to wear, but making it into something a bit more interesting and saying something new to say.
I hate this idea of genderless clothing that's out there at the moment which is basically black and white stuff, or really boring stuff. I'm not doing something thats genderless, but something different to a masculine and feminine item.
Do you define yourself as an artist?
No, but I think art comes into what I do, I'm really a firm believer that fashion is fashion, and fashion is a business and thats it's primarily means is to put clothes on peoples backs, but at the same time I don't want my business to become something thats fast fashion , I can't deal with the idea of having to churn out things at a rate that gets beyond doing a collection a season.
I want to do something thats contained within that and says everything I want to say within it. Art definitely comes into it, a lot of my references come from artists and I always produce mini films with my boyfriend and with even things like the window I try to collaborate with people I find interesting and work with concepts that are not just me creating the clothes.
Your window at VFD this month is up for April, what is the philosophy behind it?
I think it's looking at several things, I think it's focus is on a bag that is from my graduate collection that is coming up in a couple of months, and that really is one of the main shapes inspirational. So there these blob like shapes inspired by the Matisse cutouts and queering the handbag and making it into something thats kind of not recognisable as an item of clothing or a bag.
So that forms the focus of it but then I worked with a set designer William Farr and we built this idea of creating a set that was using luxurious and non luxurious materials in different ways so the linings of the window is silk, but then the whole of the base is lit up with this glass sand that we have made in different ways so from thousands of broken wine bottles, so its kind of taking the mundane and turning it into something more luxurious and a bit more like what you would see in a Cartier window.
Why did you do it at VFD?
I just think you know, VFD acted as a really big part of me developing both my creativity and also personally. I came to London and I didnt know anyone and I had a very sheltered life and education. I had been taught at home for most of my life so I didn't really experience having many friends in my own circle. I didnt know many people my own age, so then so when I started coming here it really opened my eyes and I met my partner here and it opened my eyes to a whole different experience, and for me this is one of the primary places which was a starting point for everything Im doing now and it would be very different if I had not discovered it, so for me to do it is amazing.
Are your collage pieces crucial to your work?
Yes, so I kind of when I'm doing anything I never design by doing really accurate skecthes, its just not the way I work, I'm more a person that does a lot, hundreds of abstract drawings really quickly with ideas in my head and probably people look at them and not really see clothing but I know what they were, and then on top of that then I'll do collages that are more visual that represent it. I work quite a lot with my boyfriend on those as well because its good with things like collage to try and get other peoples views. I only ever use two or three images at once. I'm not really into this whole fashion collage thing, I'm more about laying down different images on top of each other and seeing how it works, then they form the basis of what I do with my collection and things like the window.
Where do you like to go out?
Obviously VFD, I started very early going to Sink The Pink's, now I really found myself wanting something thats a bit more artistic in a way, I became friends with Charles Jeffrey (Designer/Loverboy) and then heard about here (VFD) and I think there is not really anywhere else that engages me as much as here (VFD) does.
The Queen Adelaide I also really like what they are doing (formerly The George and Dragon, now on the other side of Hackney Rd), and I have down a couple of nights there before and I think its been really interesting and I think it will become another haven and is a really interesting space to use. So I would say places like that, and I really like going to lots of exhibitions.
Do you have a favourite item of clothing?
I would say at the moment I'm getting really obsessed with wearing this blue coat ( I like it!) I found it on a £1 rail somewhere and its actually really nice and it has this weird pleated back, like a Brownies uniform, but that formed a big part of my collection and is turquoise blue. It's almost a mix between oppression blue and ceruleum blue, and I found it because I was wearing this coat doing the rest of my fabric sourcing so I thought blue would be a really good colour, so its really formed quite a key role, and I also wear these Wales Bonner jeans all there time, I'm not wearing them today, but I always wear them, and I just live in then at the moment, they are quite baggy and comfortable.
What will you be doing after the window and your final collection, future plans, aspirations?
So my graduate shows on the 7th June, so between now and then I'll be finishing the collection and once thats complete hopefully I will be able to do my own line, and if not work for one of my friends.
In one word how would you describe yourself?
Thats a difficult one, I would say that as much as I try and be kind of quite forthcoming and easy to be out there and be confidant, I'm quite a shy person when it comes down to it, so I'm quite happily reserved.
What track or music are you listening to at the moment?
The whole of Fleetwood Macs Albums, like everything, its really amazing.
Is performance a part of your work?
Performance art plays a really big part, I am doing my whole dissertation on performance art, used within fashion, so its really something that I have referenced quite heavily. I'm a massive fan of Marina Abromovich and I worked on her 500 and 1/2 Hours show at the Serpentine, but it really made that whole concept of using something like performance art in fashion, like Galliano in the 90s used performance as a means of showing their clothes in a kind of different way, it wasn't straight up and down the runway. I think its really interesting so I always pull load of references in my own show, I want it to be something thats more than straight up and own boing graduate fashion week I want it to be something that's a bit of a statement.
Hint of what the show will be like?
It's going to be shown as a part of a press show, so I'll have my own slot in the press show, its going to be performative. I have had a sound scape made for it as well, so the models will interact with that and will all have different personas and its based on their own individual preference to what they are wearing, so we have really worked hard at fitting the looks to the models personality and it's looking into each person as queer in their own way, so it's really identifying what suits best and how they feel wearing the clothes, and will be perceived in the way they behave on the catwalk.
There are two different ones, sometimes I go through these phases with getting obsessed with action films, I love Angelina Jolie in Salt, she's amazing! But also the my mums favourite film which I use to have to watch as a child Carousel, I really like old classics.
Eden Loweth, Eartly Delights, Window Project, April 2016