When I first saw Adam Andrascik’s collection—an assemblage of ripped edges and flat silhouettes inspired by Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaparelli—all I could think of was a section in Imogen Edwards-Jones’ book, Fashion Babylon. In it, the lead character discussed the difficulty of transferring a sketch drawn on flat paper to an actual body. Andrascik kind of did this in reverse. His collection of abstract-shaped pieces look almost one-dimensional from the front since many of the pieces hang away from the body. Then the wearer turns to the side, which then reveals loads of intricate detail, shapes and curvature.
You’re originally from Pittsburgh, correct? I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, then moved to New York for university. Pittsburgh, for me, was a fantastic place to grow up. My grandparents lived in communities with strong ethnic backgrounds, so I was exposed to eastern European cultures and customs from a young age. I think this, more than anything, really sparked my interest in art and design.
Where are you currently based? Currently, I’m based in London, or more specifically, east London. The area is not all that different from the neighborhood where I used to live in Brooklyn. I decided to stay in London because the support I’ve received as a young designer here has been phenomenal. Its also such a forward thinking city, in regards to fashion and even design in general, and it’s this kind of atmosphere that has always encouraged a certain originality that seems to be lacking in other fashion weeks.
What was your inspiration for your Spring Summer 2011 collection? Spring/Summer is a progression of my Autumn/Winter collection, which dealt with the ideas of flatness and layering through rips and tears. The rips in the garments — only abstract shapes in fall—now suggest classic items of clothing, from waistcoats to jean jackets and vests, their outlines appearing through negative space and contrasting color.
Why such a neutral palette for this collection? Since the garments where so angular and the torn out sections so sharp, I wanted to soften up the silhouettes with paler colors. It was also a progression from fall, where the palette was darker and more saturated.
In women’s fashion, rarely are designers very adventurous with silhouettes, what made you create styles that hang away from the body as opposed to on the body? It was really a reaction against all the body-con silhouettes I had been seeing clogging up the catwalk. I wanted to make clothing that seemed to flatten the wearer, a silhouette that looked odd but exciting. I knew that it wasn’t going to be all that wearable, but I was given a platform to express an idea and I wanted it to be bold and new. My collection for this coming autumn will walk the line more towards wearability, but still retain the same sense of direction. In the end, I want to make clothes that women want to wear, just not predictable ones.
Did you do a catwalk show for this season, or only a fashion film? This season I held a presentation at The House of St. Barnabas in Soho [London] where I showed my film and had a few models hanging around in the collection. It was relatively laid back in comparison to the catwalk show for fall.
What was the inspiration behind the film? My initial idea for the film was double exposed images. I knew I wanted to have two or three images layered over each other with some type of classical or operatic music, so I started to collaborate with filmmaker Natalie Spitz who brought me the Radiohead video for Street Spirit. After seeing that we had a clear focus of what we wanted to accomplish with the film.
What are some of your favorite films? One film I have been watching nonstop for about a year now is the movie called Primer, a low budget film about time travel. It has no special effects but is so well executed that it makes all other films on the subject seem immature and childish. I’ve also been watching a lot of B movie horror films, Demons, Phenomena, stuff like that. It’s all ridiculous but really entertaining.
I read somewhere that hip-hop inspired your foray into fashion, can you elaborate? At the time, I was really consumed by the culture, and the way of dressing was so bold and different to anything I had seen in my town. I got really into the records and would sketch jerseys and things like that, but I never took it all that seriously. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to graduate from high school that I showed my art tutor a few sketches. She suggested I do a fashion design course, which I thought was only for people who wanted to make frilly dresses. After looking more into it, I discovered Helmut Lang and Margiela, and it was like lightning struck.
What fabrics and/or techniques do you enjoy working with the most? I’ve always liked to work with wools and cottons, simple fabrics with texture and weight. And ever since studying at St. Martins, I became interested in somehow changing their properties; whether it be through bonding, laser cutting or a pleating of some sort. For me it always starts with some detail, like a certain way to finish a seam. From there I try to combine it with a strange silhouette. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
What designers and/or other artists do you admire? I always liked Margiela, Helmut Lang, and that kind of design, but at the moment I am really into Geoffrey Beene. I just got a few books of his from my library at Uni and they are fantastic! His work was so ahead of its time its incredible. I look at some of the silhouettes and they scream Balenciaga. It’s really worth checking out.
What is your biggest indulgence? Probably food. I can go for months without purchasing new clothes and be cheap on everything else, but there is nothing like a night out at a fantastic restaurant. It always seems to relax me, granted that I can’t really do this all too often.
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