RUSSH speaks to Edwin about his ideas and inspiration in 2021 and we shoot some of our favourite dresses on new face Tali in Sydney, Australia.
What is the secret to your ideas?
I design for the world I want to live in. Not the world I actually live in.
What was the most important lesson you learnt from attending CSM?
Your work can be fun as long as you take the having fun seriously.
What is the number one consideration you give towards your work to know it is finished?
I usually make multiple things at once. So a jacket will be in pieces partially sewn up, when I start putting together a dress and that rhythm continues until things start to take shape. If I don’t feel the need to keep coming back to something in the rotation then I know its done. Even if I don’t actually make a decision that it’s the final piece, that is the first inclination I have that I don’t have an impulse to improve it any further.
What are you currently working on with your ideas in 2021?
Being Ernest about beauty and getting off the computer. I would say previously if I was faced with a dilemma of wanting to push a piece more in the direction of beautiful or unfamiliar, I would chase the unfamiliarity. I am more interested now in giving myself the permission to create what I consider beautiful. The world is so ugly that I just want more beauty and validation that it still exists. I get nervous about calling something beautiful and that excites me.
What is inspiring you in fashion currently?
I don’t find fashion inspiring at all right now. I find the impulse to ignore it the most inspiring. Don’t get me wrong I still watch the Dior Spring/Summer 2007 Haute Couture show on the weekends for fun and check the vogue runway app. However, my attention span for it is waning. I’m sick of my phone, my computer, my tv and interacting with digital fashion in the same traditional ways. I think the knowledge of what I don’t want anymore is driving me more than ever.
Your silhouettes are so unique and gain so much attention towards you as a designer. Where do your ideas towards shape and silhouette come from?
I take that as such a high compliment because silhouette is always my starting point. The character of the outfit for me comes from the silhouette. The ideas come from accidents and experiments. I like to try new shapes and then judge the impact it has on me with in the space I occupy with it. If it needs to impress me more I fix it. If I feel offended or like I hate it, then usually I’ve achieved something new that my eye hasn’t digested before. I feel like I sound more and more detached from reality, but for me the power of the silhouette is judged by my body’s reaction to it. How does a shoulder hold space with in a room? How does a sleeve make me feel when I stand far away or next to it? These are the kinds of questions I deal with in the design process.
Who are you dressing for with your designs?
The immediate answer is the rest of the world since my work is very performative, but the real answer is for the wearer themselves.
What is something exciting nobody knows about yet for you in 2021?
I have an alter ego. Her name is Pinky Ring.
What is your current favourite design of yours and why?
I made a hat for my in 2012 grandma that she still wears. It’s a purple wool felt cloche that drapes in a spiral. I am most proud of that hat.
Where and how did you grow up? and how did this impact the way you create today?
I grew up in a small town outside of Buffalo, New York called Holland. In the 90’s and early 00’s it was a very conservative place. Navigating that space as a queer person was a huge challenge and it shaped me to be resilient. I used to wear bright pink all the time to help empower myself through the shame of being different. That experience taught me how transformative clothing can be in shaping a person’s spirit. I think the exercise empowering myself and being creatively subversive with in heteronormative spaces impacted my design philosophy. Making empowering subversive clothing is what comes most naturally to me now.
PHOTOGRAPHY Ellen Virgona
FASHION Charlotte Agnew
HAIR Joel Forman @ Lion Artist Management
BEAUTY Colette Miller @ Lion Artist Management
MODEL Tali Tepuke @ Merci Management