Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Conversation with Material by Product


Known for its craftsmanship and use of innovative systems, Australian womenswear label Material by Product has broken out of its continental confines, enjoying a warm reception abroad. Jean Kemshal-Bell stopped by the brand’s Melbourne studio to chat with Susan Dimasi, who—along with Chantal Kirby—designs Material’s avant-garde garments.

Jean Kemshal-Bell: What were your motivations for starting Material by Product?

Susan Dimasi: Well, many. But principally we set out to create a new brand, from the inside out. We set out looking at the fundamentals of garment making—cutting, marking and joining cloth. We reinterpreted all of those things into systems that are uniquely our own and shaped a brand that is uniquely our own.

Jean: You have previously spoken about wanting to start a fashion house rather than a label. What do you see as the difference between the two?

Susan: A fashion house is about actually having a much longer term view on what you’re doing. When we started, we looked at fashion houses we admired. They all had a language that was distinctively their own, and that language was all based in technique. So we are talking about people who were not styling. They were actually working hand-in-glove with the industry to create something [that was] not just unique but also reflective of the times they lived in. We invested—from day one—in starting a workroom and inventing techniques that were uniquely our own. So, principally, we weren’t even designing clothes; we were designing systems. The view on those systems was that they were new approaches to manufacturing that would be relevant to the 21st century.

Jean: So would it be fair to say that your process is just as important as the outcome?

Read the rest over at Dossier Journal

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