Complex, Narrative, Unique - Pangea Kali Virga
Pangea Kali Virga
What’s your first fashion memory?
I watched the Fashion TV Network instead of cartoons, pored over magazines between children's books, and sketched outfits during family road trips. Honestly, my childhood consists primarily of fashion memories.
One of the first memories I have is waking up in the middle of the night, going to my costume trunk and swapping my pajamas for a reflective disco showgirl dance recital costume so I could wake up with it on. To this day getting dressed is one of my main motives for getting up.
What is your design aesthetic in three words?
Complex. Narrative. Unique.
As a designer, what are your major influences?
The influences for my designs are primarily internal. The basis for the collections are often questions or conflicts within me that I need to explore, define, and lay to rest through art for my own sanity. I care less about the clothes themselves and more about what the clothes help make tangible. Two of my dominant influences are existential fear and the deep desire to provide the opportunity for other people to see themselves differently in my clothing. Isn't that the point of clothing? To put on some kind of mask that facilitates the way you choose to see yourself and how you want to live your life? There is also so much inspiration and wonder to be found in the complexities of nature. Much of my free time is spent admiring plants and animals for their unique features and I often plagiarize the details of leaves, or the texture of wrinkles in the sand, or the movement of water in my creations. I follow the work of many designers, both lesser-known and renowned, and the sheer joy I get from observing other peoples’ work inspires me to work harder and with a more open mind.
What is your design philosophy?
I think design should be original, honest, and stand for something. I have no interest in making work revolving around trends or a specific aesthetic. My design philosophy is to let my questions guide me, to continue trying new techniques with every new garment, and to follow my instincts.
How would you describe the typical Pangea Kali Virga wearer?
There do not seem to be many similarities among the community of people who have purchased my designs. Perhaps maybe half of them are people who work or dabble in a creative industry such as music or performance. I honestly don’t think about anyone but myself when designing for my own line, with the belief being that if can I make something I really desire to touch and have on my body that other people may admire or want it for themselves.
Tell us about your Sun In An Empty Womb collection
Sun In An Empty Womb is an attempt to make garments that encapsulate womanhood. The design and creation process will be informed by what I believe to be my definitive experiences as a woman, fictional female characters who guided my ideas on what a woman is, motherhood, pregnancy, important figures in women’s liberation, the evolution of beauty standards, symbols of femininity in art and literature, and the overarching question of “what and who is a woman?”.
I want the clothes to express femininity both aesthetically and technically. It is important to me to create an experience for the wearer that transports them into the mindset of what the garment and collections are about. I want my clothes to be transformative for the wearer, not just a piece of clothing that is "pretty". There will be a look about menstruation, a look about pregnancy, a look about the Judeo-Christian creation myth, a look about the sexualization and objectification of female bodies, a few looks dedicated to fictional book characters from The Awakening, 100 Years of Solitude, and Wide Sargasso Sea, and a look dedicated to the female orgasm and the sexual organ.
What does it mean to be a sustainable brand?
I am sure there are actual standards for what constitutes a sustainable brand, but I would personally define it as being a responsible consumer and creator. The principles that I apply to my day-to-day life are extended to my creative process. Humanity is a force of creation and destruction and in some ways my designs are taking up space and resources that will be meaningless post-mortem, so I try to remain aware of that. I make things that have a lot of emotional impact but not a ton of resource waste. The most recent pieces I had made were comprised entirely of scrap and leftover fabrics from other orders and collections. These garments were some of the most original and resourceful designs I have made. When designing, I plan the best design to waste the least. Basically, this means considering every inch of fabric, using scraps effectively and beautifully, and sometimes integrating fibers like plastic bags or other landfill items. I am opposed to using the skins or bones of any species unless found while in nature. For the kind of work I do, I only make one of any style and invite custom orders for any repetitions, but even repetitions differ due to fabric availability. I strongly disagree with over-consumption and make clothes that require a commitment.
What are you currently working on?
I work full time as a women and menswear designer in Vietnam, but at night I work on completing the Sun In An Empty Womb collection. The goal is to debut the collection this Autumn while simultaneously working on PR and acquiring a long term showroom space.
What can we expect from Pangea Kali Virga over the next few years?
I plan on staying semi-nomadic, which keeps my plans open-ended. The goal is to continue making two collections a year wherever I am and having at least one permanent showroom space. I would love to participate in artist residencies to focus on further experimenting with fiber. I hope to link up and collaborate with other artists of other mediums to continue expanding the vision of the brand and possibly form a collective of creatives who work on collaborative large scale installation projects. I will continue doing custom orders and will expand my collections to contain pieces of both couture and RTW price points.