Video: Public talk with Tonje Plur as part of the «Fashion Futures» festival

Фото © Митя Лялин
Photo © Mitya Lyalin

The School of Design hosted a public talk with the Norwegian fashion designer Tonje Plur, who, in her work, often puts an emphasis on the importance of manual labor. The student editors of the School of Design took part in the event and found out what techniques are used to create collections.

The meeting was a part of the «Fashion Futures» festival, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway. Tonje visited Russia for the first time and gladly told us about her 2018-19 collections, her sources of inspiration and the application of manual labor.

«Wearable art»

Tonje works at the intersection of art and design. According to her, she makes not clothes, but three dimensional paintings, a kind of textile narrative.

Working with textile is the most important part of the creation of her collections, along with the quality and types of material.

«...I want to challenge the mainstream understanding of clothes; thats why I work with textile art, a kind of „wearable“ art.»

She traces this approach and vision of her own work to her family. As artists, they often participated in social debates, commenting modernity through their art.

The artist noted that she searches for inspiration in things that have to do with the connections between people.

She is interested in surrounding actuality, including social processes in their full variety, time, and manner. Textile and clothing are abstract interpretations of these themes. Both the collection in its entirety, as well as every singular item, use the language of materials, silhouettes, and clothing items, in order to express Tanje's relationship to an issue that she finds relevant.

Creating the collections

Tanje's process behind creating a collection begins from taking photos. She researches social networks and claims that it is there that she is able to find the ways people want to visualize their lives.

The designer noted Instagram stories and Snapchat, as platforms where she can find imprefect shots, that are made 'as one goes', spontaneously. When she finds the topic, she starts working with the materials.

The designer often uses techniques that require a lot of time: manual knitting, embroidery, etc.

She emphasizes the theory and methods of her work:

«It is very important to work with labor-intensive techniques that require time,rigorous labor, knowledge of materials and techniques. »

Tonje mentioned that her art was greatly influenced by the workshops that she's visited, ones on working with wood, glass and metal. She often uses these materials when creating a collection.


Collection «As the moon disappears into the shadow of the sun»

This collection was born as a result of a study of traditional Norwegian wooden knife handles. The knife handle is made of wood, pieces of leather, metal, sometimes even deer horns.

Tonya has created a collection of clothes with peculiar jewelry, developed using similar combined technology.

«Life as it happens» collection

The Winter Collection was dedicated to the culture and society of northern Norway. The designer used the briquetting technique.

The collection is made from handmade materials with reflective properties that give the fabric a radiant effect. The clothes contain dog prints that belong to a friend of the designer and are used in the north as labor.

Each model in this collection has been given a dog name. This name reflects the appearance or character of the dog.

Collection «As you see it»

In the summer collection, which symbolizes the leisurely time and a sense of eternity, Tonya used the technique of cross stitching.

The embroidery of one of the dresses required more than 74,000 stitches. The designer used wood elements. In her opinion, they reflect the dialogue of people and nature that takes place in northern Norway during the summer season.

The designer used digital devices (digital knitting machine). However, at the final stage, the material is always processed manually. This way, the fabric for creating a coat from this collection is connected using a digital knitting machine, and then washed at 90 ° C. To create one coat, it took 6 meters of knitted fabric.

Concluding the discussion, the designer emphasized that it was necessary not only to preserve crafts, but also to develop them.

Tonya believes that clothing has a potential as a three-dimensional visual message. Traditional techniques and modern technologies, skillfully applied in the creation of clothing, can convey complex meanings and help to speak on social issues.

Text author: Maria Kanochkina.

Watch the discussion here:

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