Usually, clothes are short-lived, and fashion seems to be a subject of a constant change. That’s why Jane Bowler’s concept of longevity in fashion may sound a bit unfamiliar.
Incredible but true, Jane uses the most graceless materials like plastic, rubber bits, bath mats or old shower curtains to transform them into wearable art. What seems to be useless is a source of inspiration to her. Through her sence of design, those recyclable materials turn into unexpected, extraordinary and dynamic clothes. Fashion, which is not just experimental and beautiful, but also innovative and uncommon.
All pictures are from Jane’s Fusion collection, photography by Joanne Warren.
Jane, since when has fashion been a part of your life?
To be honest, although I always loved being creative when I was younger; I never actually had a big passion for fashion. When I was little, I loved making things out of rubbish, or bits and bobs that I would find lying around the house or garden…. I always hoped that I would become an artist. During my foundation studies I approached textiles via the 3D design discipline. And it wasn’t until after my BA studies (when someone approached me to work a in a fashion studio) that my love for fashion suddenly became apparent, hence my return to the RCA with the intention of creating textiles for fashion.
What is your fashion philosophy?
My collections highlight my passion for unexpected materials and new processes along with an inventive use of everyday materials and objects, ranging from shower curtains to recycled rubber flooring. I transform recycled and re-appropriated materials into sophisticated, luxurious and witty garments and accessories for both men and women. I demonstrate that sustainability and desirability are not incompatible; that sustainable design can be turned to consumer products. I bring longevity to materials, which come from a London post-use scrap facility, transforming plastics from old bath mats and shower curtains into luxurious, beautiful fashion pieces.
Why and how did you decide to study mixed media textiles?
Mixed Media Textiles is such a free and experimental discipline. I love the way that you are not restricted to any particular material or technique. The discipline allowed me to explore unexpected materials and unconventional textile techniques and processes along side divulging in sumptuous colour and extraordinary texture and shape.
How far have you developed from the beginning of your study to today?
I have always had an interest in throw away materials, and the idea of transforming everyday objects and unexpected fabric bases into something unique and exciting. Since my BA, my work has reached a whole new level. This is due to a combination of working in Industry prior to my MA, along with the great deal of skills and confidence gained from the RCA.
My recent collection combines the quality and sophistication of my Industry experiences alongside with the skills, techniques, originality and excitement of my MA.
What part of your work do you enjoy the most and is there something that you would change?
I love the experimental side of my work, the unexpected! The excitement of discovering something new.
Is there anyone whose work you admire or who inspires you?
I have always been inspired by the likes of Issy Miyake and Hussein Chalayan as well as artists like Lucy and Bart (who I was lucky enough to work with on a recent shoot with Nick Knight for AnOtherman magazine).
Do you wear your pieces? Are they wearable and what does wearability mean to you?
I do wear my work. I have created several pieces that can be worn as jewellery pieces over a little black dress for example. I often wear these on a night out, they are so fun to wear and despite being made from shower curtains; they look extremely luxurious and sophisticated. I never restrict myself with the idea of wearability at the beginning of a collection. My Final collection at the RCA is wearable but not in a day to day sense of jumping on a tube or bus, never the less it can be worn… it is now just a case of using my commercial skills to bring it back to something that everyone can wear.
What is your second collection Diff-use about?
‘Diff-use’ is my diffusion range. The collection is based on the ‘Fusion’ collection but with a strong commercial edge. The collection still embodies my eco ethos. Up coming plastic fantastic garments include: sophisticated, cropped fringed plastic jackets with detachable hoods, chunky hand knitted plasticised jumpers and some very exciting jewellery pieces that will bring any little black dress to life!
After graduating in Mixed Media Textiles at London’s Royal College of Art, Jane won an award at this years ‘Sustain’ Exhibtion and showcased her collection on the catwalk of this years ‘Vintage at Goodwood’.
For more, visit janebowler.co.uk.