«it is very different from the traditional way of making clothes. Instead of cutting and sewing patterns, Regen is built already in 3 dimensions. There is no loss of material.»
The rainproof collection Regen (meaning ‘rain’ in Dutch) has started from a material research. In 2014, I was experimenting with soft matters and found out that the cotton rope and the latex could stick together and therefore create a new fabric which was neither woven nor knitted. Then, I analyzed this sample and thought that the latex could give a waterproof layer to this fabric. I naturally designed accessories and garments for the rain. But I imagine that one day, I could also design vases, furniture or objects for different purposes with this technique.
Since I studied metal craftsmanship and product design, I have a different way of working than a fashion designer. For the Regen project, after inventing the material itself, I designed the production system which consists of metal molds around which the rope is coiled. The liquid latex is applied afterward. Once it is dry, I unmould the product and I flip it inside out. The black latex seeps in between the rope stripes and creates unique textures and shades. In this way, it is very different from the traditional way of making clothes. Instead of cutting and sewing patterns, Regen is built already in 3 dimensions. There is no loss of material.
Because the whole project was based on material and process research, it hasn’t been designed as a reaction to a current trend. The only styling part I did was the choice of the colors: natural for the cotton rope and black for the latex in order to have a contrast that truly shows the process of making these items. I am planning to design another collection based on the same technique and would like to experiment more with the colors of the materials and the shapes of the molds in order to go even further with the technique I have designed.
Next to this, I believe that thinking about alternative ways of building garments is part of a more global trend that I see emerging around me, especially from Dutch designers.
Interview with Wendy Andreu / Images © Ronald Smits