1. to expose or dismantle the existing structure in (a system, organization, etc.)
2. to break down into constituent parts; dissect
The whole project, to this point, has been a deconstruction. A deconstruction of race and capitalist culture, a deconstruction of gender, a deconstruction of the body. I worried early on that all this taking apart business would lead me to profound emptiness (and it did feel that way sometimes), but it seems to have taken me to a place so beautifully simple it can only be described with pictures. It just came to me one day – like a wooden tangram hurled towards my head from the angry (but helpful) hands of a kindergartener.
1. Start with the Rebel Flag.
2. Remove color.
5. A little more, please.
The confederate flag turns out to be a bunch of triangles and a rectangle. I will be reconstructing those shapes into the garments I’ll be wearing next year. Some people like to call what I’m doing geometric design. Like the work of several of my favorite designers, my garments may look quite different from clothes created using the western technique, which focuses on the contours of the human form.
I recently finished a book called Minimalism and Fashion: Reduction in the Postmodern Era by Elyssa Dimant that warrants mentioning at this moment. M and F is an investigation of minimalist art from the 1960′s to present day, and covers the theory and practice behind such art making. There is a clear line drawn between art movements, consumer culture, and fashion, and the publication features many designers including Calvin Klein, Martin Margiela, Marc Jacobs (designer for Louis Vuitton and Marc by Marc Jacobs), Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo (I get the feeling that no reputable fashion book can exclude Ms. Kawakubo), and Issey Miyake. It also explores the role of image making and the impact of “realist” photographers like Jurgen Teller, Corrine Day, and Bob Richardson, father of infamous fashion and celebrity photographer Terry Richardsen.
Here are the 5 tenents of minimalism I grasped from the above publication:
Form over function. Think of fixed gear bicycles. So pretty, so clean, so difficult to ride in San Francisco. This also makes me want to do a post exploring the connection between modern day minimalism and “hipster” culture, because there is a definite connection.
Challenge concepts of space and matter. I’m guessing multifunctional garments fit in here, although they may violate the first requirement.
Reduce forms to their cogent, accessible essence. Essentialism – enemy to race politics, friend to minimalist art theory, joined together forever in Confederate Articles. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Expose your process. Just like high school math class. You get no credit for the right answer if you don’t show the work. How does my work look so far?
Refine, refine, refine. Lather, rinse, repeat.
As Francisco Costa, designer for Calvin Klein states in the foreword to Minimalism and Fashion:
…Minimalism is about creating a perfect balance out of imbalance – about pairing shapes, fabrics proportions and colors that speak to the harmony of the whole.
Minimalism is about confidence and ease, but is never easily cultivated. Its principles are rooted in accessibility, cleanliness, and progress. Minimalism is almost spiritual: it often relates to the basic elements of nature and creation.
To be a true minimalist, one must be honest without inserting the ego or the past and must utilize this honesty to develop and enrich the work. Minimalism is about moving forward without nostalgia; it does not leave room for ambiguity and mediocrity. No artifice.
I mention minimalism in the context that it provides a neat way to frame the work I’ve completed to this point. I’ve been thinking about how I would describe this undertaking if I ever had to write an artist statement, and this book introduced me to a vocabulary of ideas that definitely applies to work I’ve completed thus far.
Much more to come.
Love and Enjoy.