Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Encounter and Interview with CAFA 2016 Student Fashion Design Winner: Hamish Thwaites

Encounter and Interview with CAFA 2016 Student Fashion Design Winner: 
Hamish Thwaites
(photos: Hamish Thwaites) 

The 2016 Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards was held past Friday at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, celebrating Canadians who have made impact with their achievements in the fashion industry. Added to this year’s list of award categories includes The Fashion Design Student Award for the exceptional student graduated from a Canadian fashion design program. The award was presented to Hamish Thwaites, a graduate from Ryerson and is currently interning with Erdem.

Prior to CAFA, Thwaites and I had never met in person. I guess our first encounter would be when we stood in line for photos at the red carpet. He was in front of me, with his date. Just like in any situation though, that requires taking turns, there is always that one group who has to budge. “You gotta be aggressive” I said. “Push them (b*tches) away when that happens”. Thwaites responded with a smile. I offered to take their photos with their phones, which I did.  I did not know that was him, (I mean I’ve seen his photos, but I’m pretty horrible when it comes to recognizing faces in person), not until when they announced his name to the stage to accept the award. I was thrilled, and happy for him. At the Sephora after-party, I went up to congratulate him and revealed myself to be the person who contacted him for interviews. And here it is, my exchange with Thwaites:

B: How did you come about stepping into the fashion world?

H: I studied at Ryerson University’s very technical fashion design program, where I found my love and curiosity towards draping and pattern drafting. Following my graduation I moved to London in order to further my education through work experience in high end fashion design.

B: What inspires you to design fashion?

H: Character and narrative are often the drive behind a collection. I source many forms of cultural research through archieves, markets, libraries, galleries and museums to build and develop the stories within my vision. For this process I very consciously avoid the internet because I find the unpredictable hunt for inspiring images/ideas keeps my mind open, alert and creative. Another aspect that inspires me to design is fabric. When I hold it in my hands and start to build with it, ideas just come flooding in.

B: How would you describe the aesthetic of your work?

H: The mood of my work will always change, but I feel that my aesthetic is likely a bit offbeat. I often feel as if I have torn my characters into thousands of pieces and explored their raw elements in garments. I like to see a messy story told through refined clothing (professional quality is as important, if not more, than the creative design).

B: In your opinion, where does Canadian design stand in the fashion industry?

H: I feel that Canadian design is a hidden gem. When the public comes across some of our intelligent designers they feel as if they have discovered something very special. I love it!

B: Recent fashion week reviews have criticized many designers are referencing too closely to past work of famous designers (such as Martin Margiela) - Where do you draw the line when you create something that may have been influenced by someone or something without giving an impression of a replica?

H: When referencing garments it is your impression/reaction to the garment that should be explored, not the garment itself.

B: The business of fashion is changing so quickly in the last decade, especially how it operates through social media and new technologies, how do you think this would affect young designers?

H: I personally believe that the validation that social media offers can distract aspiring designers from focusing on the progress of their creative development. I find great value in the privacy of my work.

B: What are you currently working on?

H: Currently I am working in embroidery development at Erdem, which is beyond inspiring and stimulating. I am learning and experiencing things I only ever dreamed of. I have been researching a collection for some months now, whenever I have the spare time. The available resources here in London are quite addictive, particularly the textile archives and libraries, and they just keep feeding narrative I am working on.

Do the things you love with passion; Learn from those you admire; Strive to become an expert at what you do xx
Binzento Vincente: A Fashion & Lifestyle Blog