Hussein Chalayan is a man of vision; known for his innovative mix of design, science and art, his creations sit somewhere in the indeterminate space between clothing and performance art. Partnering with Swarovski for over a decade, crystal has been an integral part of bringing his concepts to life, moving beyond the decorative and into the exploratory. His themes include man, philosophy, and existence with fashion as the medium by which to reveal his oeuvres.
As a man self-professed to be consumed by “ideas”, themes of technology and transformation resonate throughout his work, accompanied by an undercurrent of philosophical and social commentary. Last season’s ‘Teutonic’ collection was shown via a virtual runway world, with his groundbreaking collection inspired by the leitmotifs of the cultural and sociological landscapes of Germany.
Swarovski joins the designer to talk technology, his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, and more.
How would you define your personal style?
I think that I am like a cook who goes home at the end of an evening and is happy with the simplest of food, such as a can of baked beans. I like to create many different themes in fashion so when it comes to my clothing I like to wear simple but well cut garments.
Your collections are thematic – telling a story about eras. What about Germany inspired you to create this collection as a commentary on culture?
Germany is a country often overlooked and it has a lot of contributions that affect the way that we live today. I think that it is clouded by its past which isn’t fair so I wanted to explore it in a modern light and assess it culturally. It resulted in a very well informed, wearable yet exciting collection.
Who do you design for / who’s your muse?
I design for modern men and women. Women that dress for the occasion and change their style depending on what they are doing.
What drives you to continue in the fashion industry?
I still feel that my collections and product can reach more people, we are always hearing of new customers, especially with the store open we have new chapters to explore.
What about technology inspires your work? Do you think fashion innovation and use of technology has a lot to teach the tech industry?
Without technology it’s difficult to move forward, to create something new. Everything else has been done before in some form or another.
What tech innovation is currently on your radar?
You’ll just have to watch our next show!
Had you not been a designer what other career path might you have pursued? Why?
I would and could only have been an artist.