Processes are often invisible within fashion design, despite the existence of a creation path behind every garment that was created. It seems like, in the maelstrom for ‘the new’, we rarely allow a space for reflection. However, every creation process has the potential to give meaning to the final object. In fashion design, this process results in the ability of a garment to present itself as a sum of symbolic operations (not exclusively functional), which manages to manifest materially in the final state.
This is why this month we want to share a specific process capable of giving meaning, and at the same time, materialising visually in the final piece.
A member of the Contrahilo team, Queni Ibarra, together with the photographer, Sebastián Mejía, created a series of images that invite us to be part of this process, to reflect on the process itself, and to understand how a garment, full of its own symbols and signs, emerges.
It all stems from finding a packet of cotton yarn balls in an old neighbourhood haberdashery close to Santiago. I found out that these cotton yarns arrived by ship from Glasgow, Scotland in the 1940s.
The impeccable wrapping in which the yarns came, caught my attention and when I opened it I realised that they were intact, all thanks to that meticulous package and the quality of the raw material.
After making some enquiries, I learnt that these cotton yarn balls were used for two purposes: to tack seams or as powder puffs to apply makeup powders.
The idea behind photographing all of this, was to rescue the process from the time the package was opened, showing the wrapping as a container, and then using the yarn balls to apply an artistic and contemporary makeup.
The yarn balls and the colour of the makeup were combined in order to knit, a light, circular, warp-around cape, giving it looseness by using plain and openwork stitches.Cotton and silk ribbons (also from other times) were applied, to give continuity to the trajectory of the colour of the makeup, which ended up infiltrated in the garment. The ribbons were used to fasten the garment at the front and/or the back.
This is how the raw material used is placed in a space that is not defined by practicality, as time, the wrapping and the place where it was found give the object a new interpretation. At the same time the creation and use of material, the preservation of the craft and the original colours, helps us sense the elements given to the final garment by the context in which it was created.
On the other hand, the images produced, are located in an intermediate point between the unreality typical of fashion language (regarding the construction of the scene) and the type of register which may be catalogued as a documentary image. Although this space could be contradictory, it is made explicit through the images, transforming the shoot in a visual story which tells us about the symbolic processes involved in the creation of this garment.
DESIGNER: Queni Ibarra *editor Contrahilo · WEB
MODEL: Xamira Zuloaga