University of Portsmouth, CCI Art and Design lecturer, and MA Fashion and Textiles Course Leader Lara Torres, participated in the Transfashional project, in Vienna, from the 3rd to the 8th of December.
Lara Torres is a highly experimental fashion designer, who has created collections that conceptualise the process of fashion making, as well as opening a discussion about the fashion industry’s ceaseless overproduction, and over-consumption.
Transfashional began in 2016 as a series of collaborative sessions, with fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, curators José Teunissen, Susanne Neuburger, Barbara Putz-Plecko and Beatrice Jaschke, as well as various emerging artists and designers.
The project encountered collaborative and experimental work, resulting in new productions that transcended boundaries between disciplines.
The Transfashional exhibition, and accompanying talk at the London College of Fashion, explore ways in which artists and designers are engaging with and responding to current social, economic, cultural, and environmental urgencies , and shaping new paradigmatic positions.
The exhibition brings together emerging artists from the UK, Poland, and Austria. As this emerging generation of artists and designers reflect on the world around them, they highlight the need for a profound revision of the processes of production and social relations which derive from them. They choose turn away from the fashion industry and its super-accelerated rhythms of production.
The quest for alternatives drives and inspires new productions – not of goods, but ideas. Wearable and functional, many of these works are critical, engaged, conceptual, and can be seen as symbols and symptoms of the era we live in.
Lara’s film, Unmaking, seeks to deconstruct preconceptions about the relationship between body, clothing, production, and consumption.
Intended as a means of reflection and resistance, the film refers to a post-productivist condition of fashion, exposing the limits of production driven by overproduction within the increasingly global market of the 21st century.
This film is a part of larger theoretical research entitled Towards a Practice of Unmaking: a Strategy for Critical Fashion Practices, which Portuguese designer Lara Torres is currently carrying on within University of the Arts in London. Her practice-based research debates the role of the fashion designer and questions fashion’s critical agency.
Lara’s reflective and radically critical stand brought her to the decision to orient her practice in a more activist and artistic direction; producing mostly videos, films and texts which plead for a change in the ways in which fashion system operates today.
In 2011 Lara realised set of short films entitled An impossible Wardrobe for the Invisible, which presented six different cases of ‘creation through destruction’.
In each of the six films made, male and female models would wear dresses which dissolve as they make contact with water.
Simultaneously this act of ‘disappearance’ become moments of creation: what remains as traces of fabric and contours marked by seams and stitches, becomes effectively a new ‘garment’, entirely unique and unable to be reproduced.
Yet for Lara Torres, it is the symbolic weight of this gesture of erasure that counts the most: it is her appeal for stopping and reflecting about how and why to the make fashion for the future.