As part of our Characteristics feature, we spoke with menswear designer Naemi Gustavsson, a 2015 graduate of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Her work revolves around stories of male stereotypes and functionality within clothing. She makes use of deconstruction as she experiments in challenging the current silhouette scheme in menswear. Therefore, we found it interesting to ask her to pick out a piece from her latest body of work, something that she feels represents her as a designer and tell us the story behind it.
She chose a jacket that is part of a collection dedicated to exploring diverse design solutions, the value of materials and especially how a source of inspiration in sustainable design can derive from observing the regular man. The jacket is cut reminiscing the shape of the Sami peoples' dress: simple and straight. She developed the silhouette through experiments with the usage of various features to accomplish functionality - in particular, what one can achieve from utilizing zippers.
With the zipper in mind, Naemi designed her collection - and this jacket particularly - having the average man's practical approach to garments in mind. The zipper is the interaction trigger because it can unfold another garment hidden inside its outer shell. This way, another level of physical connection between wearer and garment is established. But because of this, the voluminous jacket can appear incredibly functional and extremely non-functional depending on the state it is witnessed in.
The jacket is crafted from a mix of leftover materials created by a weaver in Borås and the high-tech material Cuben. It is that clash between technology and reused materials that drive Naemi. She wants to stretch how materials are perceived and where they are encountered. She infuses a textile curiosity in the attempt to create a stronger bond between a garment and its wearer.
Naemi, among other design features, intriguingly surface treated the jacket when she transfer printed an imitation of taped seams onto it. Moreover, inspired by her uncle Kurt's do-it-yourself attitude to life, she encourage her customers to continue mending her garments after she sends them out into the world. Thus, Naemi created a jacket to be further reprocessed by future owners.
By encouraging customer costumizations she hopes to inspire the desire for a prolonged relationship. Only through establishing and acknowledging the importance of a meaningful tie between the garment and wearer are we able to enhance the lifespan of clothes. Therefore we feel, Naemi is a perfect example to follow: She is not solely an aesthetically thinking designer, because throughout her design process she considers solutions involving her future customers and how they add value themselves.