When fashion is the name of your game, it is important to either be conscious of the zeitgeist, or resist it furiously, railing against it and obstinately creating your own realm of invention by focussing solely on manifesting your own vision. Naturally, as a creator, the latter thought is always going to be foremost in your mind. There have been times in the world of the clothing industry, for instance, when several designers have absorbed and reimagined both the street feeling and the avant-garde. This was the case in the nineties, when grunge fused with ideas in fashion relating to the philosophical concept of deconstruction. Suddenly, catwalks were dominated by the essence of anti-glamour, functionality, and self-revelation in terms of how the garment had been put together (for example, with evident stitching, zips and the use of buttons, a notion that had been prefigured by Elsa Schiaparelli in her pre-World War II designs, and again in Westwood’s work in the late seventies, as part of the punk movement.)
The local designers whose work I have explored so far in this two-part post are very current in their creativity, but also in terms of their ethical concerns. The next two style inventors, however, certainly know how to up the ante as far as being on the pulse goes. Monika Kopcilova, who constitutes the brains (and hands!) behind Creative Creep Brand, knows a thing a two about struggling to express one’s individuality. Amid a constant sea of mass-produced fashion items, she works with used clothing articles that she happens to comes across, endowing each piece with a particular sensibility that yells freedom, zest and a predilection for the unusual. Monika has done a great deal for the idea of slow fashion, the scheme that if something is worth producing, it is worth doing so at one’s own pace, and being imbued with a conception of the stand-alone. Each piece in her collection is hand-painted with an iconic image, such as the face of the Thin White Duke himself in his celebrated Aladdin Sane front cover pose and a cerise lipsticked eighties pout, both adorning wonderful vintage bleached denim jackets, the first with a hint of stonewash detail. It should be noted that Monika does not only sell the items herself – these two, for instance, were commissioned by the marvellous Fly the Fly Vintage shop in Sliema, one of the few physical retro stores to be found on the island. We are cheekily encouraged to “kiss my art” on a covetable deep red pencil skirt back pocket, or pay homage to Chanel’s artistry by sporting her image on the back of a gorgeously hand-painted black blazer. One thing is for sure – whatever Monika chooses to customise next, she will certainly have a host of intrigued customers waiting to acquire one of her wearable art objects, lovingly emblazoned with an ironically motivational maxim. Check her work on her Facebook page here.
The last designer I will be showcasing here is one of the more compeling newcomers on the local fashion scene. With a noted participation at the latest Malta Fashion Week and increasing interest in her Instagram account, Gabrielle Fenech has been making waves with her fresh and funky designs. Not one to shy away from the dark and the innovative, Fenech pairs this spirit with clothes that are wearable, somehow managing to combine comfort with edginess. For instance, nature is present in an arboreal print on a three-quarters a-line skirt, but is made to look ominous, and is complemented by a sulky model in black lipstick wearing black brogues and matching socks. Among the materials utilised, Fenech plays with latex and macramé – the first made use of in a versatile manner, for tops, trousers and skirts, whereas the second comes into play where tops and skirts are concerned. Denim is the material of choice for dresses and tops, while satin and cotton are used for sexy evening tops and harem pants respectively. Perhaps the most fabulous recent outfit of Fenech’s, however, is that worn by a fellow fashion blogger and displayed on Fenech’s Facebook page in all its disco glory – rose gold culottes held up by matching braces.
If Kopcilova’s and Fenech’s latest designs are anything to go by, we all need to keep an eye out for fresh local and locally-based talent on this little island – as these two blog posts prove, it exists in droves.