What if you had a creepy outfit?
Fashion designers are typically always striving to make their clothes more beautiful and pleasing to the eye. However, for some designers, such as the London College of Fashion (LCF) designer Dino Li, creating beauty is not the goal. Dino describes to us how in order to appreciate his fashion, one has to ignore the shape, color, silhouette and style and focus on the process of his work. In his newest collection, (not surprisingly) called Process, Dino Li has created a set of white unisex garments that look like astronaut uniforms in a post apocalyptic world. Here to speak about his unconventional approach to design and his inspiration behind his newest collection, is an interview with Dino Li.
Why did you choose to name your brand Creepy Outfit Lab?
‘Creepy’ is an interesting word in English which means something indescribable but makes you feel both scared and curious at the same time. The word itself is in a labile state, in between the psychological imagination and reality. The labile state which in another way means possibilities or opportunities for revolutions or evolutions, which are the things we will always expect and fear at the same time. ‘Creepy’ can be seen as a contemporary question we set up toward this period. Creepy also describes the uncomfortable reaction that people have when they see our work.
Describe a typical person who wears C.O.L？
A person who grew up in the late 80s, a sci-fi fan, influenced by Japanese OTAKU subculture, probably a robot toy collector. His/her father used to be a hooligan who had Stone Island or C.P pieces in their wardrobe.
Tell me about your recent collection titled Process. Why did you choose this name and what was the inspiration behind this collection ?
Personally, I prefer people to see C.O.L’s work as a process design rather than a typical ‘fashion design’. Ignore the shape, color, silhouette and style and focus on the ‘process’- the performance of a garment, a period of time, the transformations, the hidden possibilities of the design, the languages, the life length of a design. When people start to think about all this, to watch and play with the process instead of wearing it, they will forget the shape, the color, the silhouette and the style, and the garment itself will cease to serve as a decorative function to the human body, turning into a new stage, a new life, an opportunity to achieve new possibilities.
In terms of inspiration, it was plastic robot toys, Transformers and Gundam. I also had some aesthetical influences from Katsuhiro Otomo, Anno Hideaki and Tomino Yoshiyuki
You mention how part of your collection was inspired by the Transformers and Gunpla toys you used to play with as a kid. Some of your pieces are therefore actually transformable! Which pieces are they and what can they transform into?
Actually all the pieces are transformable and can be divided into two groups:
- Full transformation.
- Part transformation.
I will introduce 2 fully transformable items here as below:
- LX-78-2 Trucker Jacket transform to military rucksack.
- LX-06F Hoodie Tunic transform to tote bag.
Why did you choose to have your entire collection in white?
Due to the following reasons:
Firstly, because I use hundreds of mini-size sublimation prints to simulate the Gunpla stickers, white is easier to test the color with, and white is also the basic Gunpla color tone.
Secondly, this project was made in my third year of my BA fashion course, which means we have a deadline for submission, with essays, portfolios and technical notes. I simply didn’t have the time to think about color.
Lastly, I had a dream a few years ago which is a show of mine and all pieces are white, so why not follow my dream.
What’s your favorite piece of your collection ?
LX-06F hoodie tunic.
Which part of your collection was the most difficult/complex to make?
The transformation system design.
What inspired you to get into fashion in the first place?
Somebody asked me something about Comme des Garçons, but I had no idea what ‘Comme des Garçons’ was at that moment. I then did research about the brand and that inspired me to get into fashion.
The 3 biggest no-go’s for fashion?
A slim fit t-shirt, Crocs and a luxury lady bag.
Who is your favorite designer(s)?
Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe.
If you could change anything about the fashion industry, what would it be?
The pace of the fashion industry. Too fast to live, too young to die.