Adiam Elias, redefining avant-garde
Adiam Elias is a designer exploring and experimenting with creative techniques and methods of pattern-cutting, addressing soft-structure and drape, through fabric manipulation and more advanced methods of modelling on the stand to bring about unique and interesting pieces. Her Voyage collection #avantgarde caught our attention and we spoke with her about her inspirations, thoughts on fashion and story so far.
Describe a typical Adiam Elias wearer?
It's all about comfort and confidence, you don’t have to be uncomfortable to look good - you can look great and be comfortable. So I would say a typical wearer would be a woman who is confident in who she is as a person no matter her size or age.
Your pieces are not only made from very soft materials but also have a loose-fit. What is the importance of comfort in clothing?
For me, personally, being comfortable is important especially when you are busy but I also want to look good too. I believe you are at your best when you are yourself and comfortable, whether it’s the clothes you wear or your identity.
You have worked at the brand Eskander, a brand notorious for its easy-to-wear, loose-fitting garments. Do you think this experience helped inspire you to your own brand?
Well, I have always loved making loosely fitted garments but joining Eskandar definitely helped.
You worked at Inditex, one of the largest retailers in the world and also one of the main drivers of fast fashion. What is your take on fast fashion and how do you think we can change this?
Although it does provide affordable and fashionable clothing for so many people, it also diminishes the idea of fashion design as a craft and actual meaning of the process that designers go through to create this amazing collection. One of the ways that you can change this would be recycling, instead of throwing away a piece of clothing you can to fix it if it needs repairing. Also, giving clothes to charity or returning them back to shops where you bought them from. Zara has a recycling box where you can return the clothes you bought from them so they can recycle it. Last but not least, buy something that would last long, quality over quantity always.
What's your favorite piece of your own designs and why?
I love my black draped dress with fabric manipulation around the neckline. I love it because of the techniques I used. These include, manipulating the fabric first while it is flat and then putting it on a stand before coming up with a design. To do this, I used a technique called smoking while using varying measurements for the fabric. It was challenging having a huge piece of fabric and figuring out how to best design it - but, that's what made it fun!
How did you get into fashion?
Well, I used to work in retail and sometimes I would see a garment and would have ideas about changing the silhouette of the garment. Not only that, I would also look at designer collections and would fall in love with the garments and the construction techniques. I then moved to London and started at the London College of Fashion.
Why did you choose to study a BA in pattern cutting?
I had done lots of industry internships while I was doing my Diploma, and was involved in lots of different tasks. This allowed me to really figure out what I wanted to do within fashion. I love pattern cutting because you not only design the garment but it also pushes you to think about how the garment will be constructed and if it's achievable or wearable. Because, usually, when you design a garment it's flat - what you have on paper might look different in 3D. Not many people want to do pattern cutting but I think it’s a crucial skill that you need to have as a designer.
What helps you get inspired?
Fabrics are a huge inspiration for me, the way a fabric feels, weighs and drapes usually helps me think of in what way I can use it. Other than that, different cultures and peoples' backgrounds and experiences are also an inspiration.
Which part of creating your pieces is most difficult?
For me, personally, I would have to say figuring out the silhouette, once I figure out what the shape is going to be, the rest is fine. Because my design process is to first drape on the stand and then do flat drawings, I can visually see how the fabric is going to fall when you put it on a real body.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
There are lots of amazing designers but my favorite ones would have to be: Uma Wang, Junya Watanabe, Comme Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto.