Daphne’s Glowing World
AMFI graduate Daphne Träger is certainly not afraid of hard work. Before embarking on a Fashion Design course where she learned concept development, fashion design, forecasting, print design, and textile design, Daphne had trained for four years in graphic design. At AMFI Daphne specialised in 2D design; her course required she designed not one but two degree collections: Skin Defender and Glowing Invisibility. Both are a combination of textile, print (2D) and garment (3D) designs. Both are extremely beautiful.
Glowing Invisibility is a lingerie collection that mixes skin tone colours, soft greys and powdery pinks, with bright and fresh pastels, sea greens, neon violets and reds. Natural light plays with the textiles transparency; layers of colours melt into one another and create subtle gradients from light to dark, adding depth. Seamless high-tech materials are laser cut and transformed into contemporary lace. Modified silicone and colour-changing material reacts to body heat. Fluorescent stitching and engraved plastics create futuristic and romantic patterns adding graphic qualities to the collection.
Skin Defender is an evening wear collection that seeks to enhance the female silhouette, accentuating shoulders and hips. Matte and glossy blacks contrast with soft pinks, greys and greyish whites. Strong materials and clean, heavy fabrics contrast beautifully with soft, flexible and translucent textiles. Fabrics and leathers of various thickness and handle become a second skin to protect the body. Overlapping textures add depth. Visual illusions are created with materials of unexpected quality. Silk looks like leather; a heavy knit seems made of iron, the illusion strengthen by the use of cool, neutral shades of blue combined with metallic colours.
Modeconnect interviewed Daphne.
Daphne why did you chose to design lingerie?
During my third year at AMFI I wanted to explore something new, a different type of garment. Lingerie attracted me because it is used by women in many different ways and fulfils a broad range of functions, so I decided to write my dissertation on the question: What can new technology bring to the future of lingerie? My degree collection naturally developed from this work. New technology allows designers to explore new avenues and aesthetics; lingerie brings along its own technics and interest.
I did not want my collection to be simply innovative; it is also designed to be commercial and sophisticated. I was very aware that my final collection would take a central place in my portfolio; so I also considered the direction in which I wanted to take my career. While there are many sectors of the industry that I would like to work in, I am very passionate about lingerie. I believe this area of fashion will experience a strong development.
You have in fact designed two collections; can you explain what they are?
Glowing Invisibilitywas created to be inspirational and innovative lingerie fashion. I read an article that intrigued me; it was about polarized light, a light the human eye cannot see but that specialized camera can record. I was very excited to discover a “new” natural world full of beautiful, organic transparencies, lines and movements; this world became an important source of inspiration.
What about your second collection, Skin Defender?
This collection is inspired by the history of lingerie and evolving ideals of beauty. I wanted to connect classic lingerie garments, such as the corset, with futuristic technology and aesthetics and offer new interpretations of embodied qualities: beauty, protection, strength and independence. This led me to manipulate the female silhouette playing with proportions, lines, patterns, textures and optical illusions.
In my historical research I found a corset made of iron designed to serve as a bulletproof vest. I started looking into the different techniques developed by nature to protect certain animals. Many patterns and textures of my materials are inspired by the scales and plates founds on reptiles, fish or armadillos.
I have always been very interested by the work of artists who experimented with visual and optical illusions. I believe they can be used to great effect in fashion and both my collections rely on them.
How did you research the new materials your collection relies on?
I was lucky to take part to a great event organized by Materia, a knowledge centre for developments and innovations in materials, and their applications for architecture and design. The company’s motto is: Today’s inspiration is tomorrow’s innovation! They certainly inspired me to think out of the box and experiment with material.
I contacted companies that produce innovative materials to ask them for information and material samples. I did no limit my research to innovative fashion material. Architects and industrial designers also come up with fresh and innovative applications for new materials which inspired me.
Is your collection purely inspirational or did you design it with a client in mind?
I wanted to create collections that were innovative and inspirational but also wearable and commercial. Both collections are an expression of my identity and are intended to demonstrate my style, my handwriting.
I think they would suit a sexy, sophisticated, power-woman who is aware of modern trends. She would see lingerie as an investment.
I am really proud of both collections; I only wish that I could have had more time to create more 3D pieces.
How important is process in your creative approach?
I believe process is really important; I spent a lot of time experimenting with volumes, fabrics, colours, materials and prints to ensure that I exhausted all options. I created my own mould to produce silicone shapes for example and experimented with silicone engraving and printing. I discovered that silicone drying on fabric will adhere to it and remain. This was something I did not know but found out through experimentation. I also experimented with machinery, such as laser cutters.
Every time I tried to find the best use in lingerie for new and sophisticated materials. To be successful the resulting design had to be both sophisticated and wearable. The glow in the dark lace is a good example. It is made of super thin, tear resistant ribbon processed to look like a sort of futuristic lace.
I think that to give depth to your project and produce innovative designs you must spend a lot of time experimenting.
So what did you learn through the process of designing your final project?
I learned to make quick decisions and trust my own vision. Insecurity can really delay the creative process; even if you have the most wonderful ideas, a lack of confidence and courage makes it difficult. With so many different opinions in fashion, it is important to believe in yourself.
What is your advice to someone who is about to start studying fashion or textile design?
When you create fashion you inhabit a different world. You need to really love it.
A lot of my non fashion design friends were amazed by how much time I gave to my studies. In fact everyone in my class was doing the same; it is the norm in fashion school. You have to give your all and make the deadline.
Not everybody around you will understand this. I believe discipline and ambition can take you further in your career than creative talent, though of course you need that too.