Last month, Bristol’s University of the West of England (UWE) sent their best designers down the runway for graduation week, including Rei Tan. The young Singaporean designer has an interest in pattern cutting and an experimental and trial and error approach to working.
For her concrete.shadows F/W 2012 collection, Rei was inspired by the abandoned island Gunkanjima, also known as Battleship Island, off the coast of Nagasaki. Its concrete buildings sit in silence, wooden banisters slowly rotting, concrete crumbling into fragments, grids of glass windows gradually disappearing. Staircases, levels and windows create grid like images and structure, repeating and repeating.
“This led me to Tadao Ando’s architectural work,” Rei continues. “With his use of dense concrete, he removes any surface decorating that is vulnerable to the passage of time. His minimalistic work is accented by the light and shadows created by the cut outs in the structure. His two-dimensional plans made me think of how we turn two-dimensional objects into three-dimensional work. How paper form three-dimensional structures, which brought me to exploring Shigeru Ban’s use of cardboard to create buildings and paper pop-ups. From the mix of research and imagery, I developed by stand work, pattern cutting and sketching to form this collection. concrete.shadows is a calm, minimalistic collection with solid neoprene, translucent organdie, stiff silk paper and textured moleskin/ faux suede. It is almost neutral gender with a dark monochrome colour palette. The layering of garments creates space and void between the inner (body) and outer (garment) layers. The laser cutting mimics the lines of shadows and paper pop-ups. The silhouette is influenced by the straight and asymmetrical structure of the buildings.”
Click here to view Rei’s graduation collection.