MUTAFORMA : “inhabitable sculptures”
- anastasia la fey : artist I maker I couturier
Expanding on both techniques and concepts explored in previous works, MUTAFORMA was created – an “inhabitable sculpture” spanning the realms of art and design.
In response to the hyper-commercialisation of fashion design, its impact upon the environment and the loss of centuries-old knowledge and skills – the structure of silk cloth was manipulated through hand-worked fabrication and its texture and colour through natural dye processes, to create an undulating silken structure which invokes imaginings of cloth as both sculpture and transformative chrysalis as well as evoking the concept that a “fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally.”
The MUTAFORMA works are designed to be, as their name describes, multi-form or shape-shifting, thus enabling them to exist as “inhabited” fashion garments of complex design, moving and changing with bodily movement, and also as sculptural objects and art installation works pushing the parameters and definition of “fashion design” and even the idea of what constitutes a garment itself.
This multi-form usability expands the approach of using natural fibres, natural dyes/ dyeing techniques and hand-sewing, embedding sustainability into not only the creating and production of the works, but also into their application and interpretation by a customer.
Environmental considerations are embedded into these works at every level. They encapsulate a radical reaction against unethical production vales, lack of sustainability, environmental irresponsibilty, homogenisation and hypercommercialism over design integrity.
Each work is developed, designed and crafted by a single creator using natural fibres, natural dye (sourced from food waste product), hand-dye techniques and is hand-constructed.
Only 2% of the total process – from design conception to garment completion – requiring any machine use.
There is no textile waste, dye-water is recycled and due to their multi-form usability, can “shapeshift” into a sculpture/ installation work should the user desire.
Since the creation of the MUTAFORMA works, they have been commissioned, exhibited, performed in, photographed and appeared in music video and art & fashion editorial both nationally and internationally, promoting and advancing the profile of innovative, environmentally-conscious, unique and cutting-edge Victorian design excellence and inspiring young designers to push the boundaries of possibilty.
The exceptional response to them to date already indicates what is able to be acheived by dedicated, independent, self-funded, Victorian artisan designer/makers, and it only stands to reason that thus they too showcase the remarkable opportunities that investment in Victoria’s fashion design sector could bring.
These works highlight and promote the exceptional talent, innovation and imagination found tucked away in tiny, independent studios throughout Victoria. They attempt to push boundaries of what is traditionally considered to be commercially “viable” within Australias’ fashion industry and show that Victorian design truly is of an international standard.
In a climate where technology is considered the king of innovation, these works reinterpret some ancient materials and simple hand techniques, unfolding them within a hyper-design methodology to create wearable garments that embody an intention of aesthetics that include artistic value, social & environmental idealism and a unique user experience of individuality.
Design is usually considered as functional and practical, often also considered to confine imagination.
In the MUTAFORMA works, imagination in design was developed through its function by expanding it beyond preconceived confines of “fashion” and into realms that encompass artistic value, social & environmental idealism and imaginative user experience.
People are accustomed to separating art from ordinary life practice and treat art as something particular outside our lives. But in fact, ordinary life not only provides a solid base for artistic imagination but also the stage and battlefield for contemporary art and design. The design of life is artistic ordinary life practice. It echoes with the intention of design itself and inherits the origin of art.
The MUTAFORMA works hold this philosophy at their core and attempt, through an intelligent and holistic design approach, to translate a future filled with all kinds of possibility.