1 Granary is a multi-channel platform - blog, magazine and showroom - that showcases the most exciting emerging talents led by students and graduates of London's Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art, Parsons The New School in New York and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. It recently launched VOID: a creative global initiative to support the next generation of fashion designers against the pressures of a fast-paced fashion system. ORDRE brings exclusive insight on the project from the founder and creative director of 1 Granary, Olya Kuryshchuk.
“VOID is about bringing the whole industry - both newcomers and experienced professionals - together to start a conversation. We’re not proposing a fixed solution, but rather, a series of questions, aimed at creating a better environment for young designers. Instead of establishing another competition or support system that requires young designers to copy the established – and partially flawed – system (e.g. present their work on a catwalk show), we want to create a space for collaboration and experimentation”, explains Kuryshchuk.
Setting off at 180 Strand in London, VOID presents work from seven promising designers, pairing them with seven established stylists and photographers of the industry. Kuryshchuk describes the launch in the English capital: “VOID at 180 Strand is but the first step of a longer journey. For this exhibition, we focussed on teamwork, bringing designers, stylists and photographers together. Through the collaboration with other creatives, emerging designers received an opportunity to redefine their work and translate it to a bigger audience. The designers found new ways to develop and present their visual identity, something they don’t often focus on in college. The collaborations are also the basis of long-lasting creative relationships”. For the magazine's founder, the most important aspect when deciding to match each designer with established stylists and photographers was that, “we needed the creative vision of every member of the team to be aligned. For a collaboration to be at its most powerful, the photographer and stylist need to understand and appreciate the work of the designer.”
When asked about her selection process of the seven designers to display in the gallery space, she comments: “We looked for designers who proposed something new and exciting and had the skills to execute that. All of the designers have a fresh perspective on design, rooted in an in-depth understanding of their crafts, whether that’s print, knit, or tailoring. Additionally, we wanted each designer to add something different to the conversation, which is why we chose such a diverse group. We also looked for designers who were willing to do something more artistic and weren’t afraid to experiment with different media, possibly exploring photography, video, set design or art through their work in the future.”
VOID will travel to major cities (New York, Shanghai, Milan and Montreal) to present a rotation of designers and their works. The next stop will be Brooklyn, New York in January at Red Hook Labs. They will continue to host several events to bring awareness to the challenges that exist for emerging designers entering the business.
The collaborative nature of 1 Granary's latest project provides young designers a support system to discover different models of operating and developing their careers. “In the long run, VOID aims to continue building a bridge between the new generation and the previous one, but mostly, to create a community where young designers can question the system and propose new methods of production and promotion of fashion.”
ORDRE went to visit the London exhibition to learn more about the first seven talents:
The first designer in the space is Gabriele Skucas, who hand-crochets entire wool and cotton looks inspired by school uniforms. Her work is styled by Ellie Grace Humming, fashion director at Another Man magazine and photographed by Tom Ordoyno. Skucas’ seemingly innocent designs are captivating as they hang from the ceiling in front of an eerie monster backdrop.
Chopova Lowena is a design duo founded by American-Bulgarian designer Emma Chopova and British designer Laura Lowena. They are inspired by Bulgarian folklore and unconventional modern sports like rock climbing and wrestling. The duo hopes to work closely with artisans from Eastern-European communities to preserve tradition and craft. The two designers were paired with Lyson Marchessault, stylist and fashion director of Noon Magazine, and still life photographer Chris Rhodes.
Menswear designer Stefan Cooke masters the trompe-l’oeil effect by manipulating digital images of garments onto fabrics, questioning if a garment is ‘real’ or a two-dimensional print. In collaboration with stylist and editor, Gary David Moore, and photographer Estelle Hanania, Cooke’s work is displayed in a series of playful photographs to accentuate the deception of his collection.
Greek designer Eftychia Karamolegkou designs for confident women. Her clothes have the ease of male silhouttes tailored for elegant women. In her installation corner, soft and subtle voices from strong female actors such as Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot were playing in the background. Photographs of the collection were styled by Anna Pensonen and lensed by Pascal Gambarte.
Selected by the British Fashion Council NEWGEN program as ‘One to Watch’, Richard Quinn is combining sustainability, innovation and couture techniques in his garments and print fabrications. His corner showcased shoes, bags and garments compressed inside plastic bags surrounded by plants and close-up photographs of the clothes on the walls. His collection is styled by Camille Bidault-Waddington, whose clients include the likes of Marc Jacobs, Schiaparelli and Dior and photographed by Marie Déhé.
Laura Newton’s collection is represented by a large sculptural installation of wood frames wrapped in flexible knitwear fabrics. She focuses on fabric and form: the rigidity of wood and the elasticity of knits to create unusual shapes and distortions. Newton’s work is styled by Katie Burnett and photographed by Hiu Zhi Wei.
The exhibition ends with a still life display of couture lingerie pieces from English designer Charlotte Knowles. Her garments are intricate and detailed.They evoke sensuality, seduction and female empowerment. Her pieces are styled by Emma Wyman, fashion editor of Dazed magazine and photographed by Danielle Neu. Knowles was shortlisted for the H&M Design Award in 2015 and went on to work under the direction of Isabella Burley and Shayne Oliver at Helmut Lang.