Joao Pena Monteiro: Dressing for the end of the world
Ever wondered how fashion would be like in a post-apocalyptic world? Look no further. Lisbon born designer Joao Pena Monteiro has used the apocalypse as inspiration for his most recent Winchester School of Art graduate collection (see images below). All I can say is, if fashion really does look like this in a post-apocalyptic world, maybe the end of the world won't be so bad after all? Here to speak about his graduate collection, Post Apocalypse and his plans moving forward, is Joao Pena Monteiro.
Describe a typical Joao Pena Monteiro wearer.
I am inspired by strong, independent, practical and stylish women, like Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max), Leeloo (Fifth Element), Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), and other women that stand out for their sense of style and influence in the world and their strong independent actions. At the same time, my wearer does not necessarily have to be female, I see my clothing as being androgynous. I do not limit my collection to an age or sex. For me, it is about the person wearing my clothes having a strong personality with a lot to say.
He got inspired by strong, independent, practical and stylish woman, like Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max), Leeloo (Fifth Element), Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), and so other woman that stand out for their sense of fashion and style, such as, influence in the world and strong independent actions.
Tell me about the influences behind your graduate collection.
I was obsessed with movies about the post-apocalyptic world such as Mad Max. After the apocalypse, the world gets destroyed and the new civilisations are formed. This led me to research some of the different pioneering groups throughout the world and I got inspired by a faction of the Nepalese Army called the Gurkhas. As there was a museum about the Gurkhas next to my house, I would go in and get inspired by their military objects. Therefore my collection is a combination of being inspired by the apocalypse and the military.
In addition, the Nepalese Community also inspired me to design colourful clothes, with different patterns and fabrics, such as sequins, cotton, and prints.
Tell me about the big bags (see image below)!
The inspiration behind the big bags came from the Gurkha museum as the soldiers would wear these huge bags around them when they went traveling and represents the hard work of the Nepalese community. I incorporated these army bags into the collection. As the setting of my collection is the apocalypse, it would have also been unfitting for the models to wear handbags, and so the large functional big bags made sense.
Which part of your collection was the most difficult to make?
The bags were definitely the most difficult to make and I didn't even end up using them for the final London show! As the runway space was so tight, there was not enough space for the models to wear the bags.
Tell me about the Jane Bowler collaboration collection.
Jane Bowler uses a lot of little triangles, papers and plastics in her garments. As I am quite dramatic, I used these small details that are typical of Jane Bowler to make a jacket using wood. As I love sustainability, I wanted to use wood as opposed to leather. It actually worked really well, so I decided to also make a corresponding full body morphsuit and used inspiration of Leigh Bowery to give it a dramatic touch.
How was the fashion experience different between Lisbon and London?
The difference is that in London, the market for fashion is massive. You have so many different types of fashion from luxury, to ready-to-wear, etc. However, in Portugal, the fashion industry plays a much smaller role economically. So their education system puts less of an emphasis on creativity. That's why I decided to come to England as I knew I could try new techniques and be more imaginative.
Who is your favourite fashion designer(s)?
I love the Japanese fashion style of Yohji Yamamoto, Jeremy Scott for his creative abiltities and Stella McCartney for her advocacy for sustainability.
What is your favourite fashion trend right now?
I do not follow any trends, because as a designer, I want to be creative, express my own style and define it. I try hard not to follow trends because that is when I express myself naturally and create my own identity as a designer.
What are the next steps for Joao?
My dream would be to become a Creative Director at a big fashion house.