At this time of year, many of us are obsessed with the countdown to Christmas, but here’s another countdown for the local and fashion-minded: San Francisco’s Autie Carlisle, who impressed us with her convertible dress during this year’s Art Institute of California fashion show, has mere days left to raise funds for her Geometric Nightmare fashion project.
Her goal: to amass $2,500 via creative project fundraising site Kickstarter by Dec. 19. Thus far, she’s raised just under half of her goal. If she hits the mark, she’ll walk with enough to create a collection of garments made of knitted rubber tubing to be presented during a four-designer fashion show in early 2011. But here’s the dramatic part. If she falls short, she gets nothing – not even the $1,000+ donors have already pledged.
As the clock ticks on her project time line, we caught up with the student designer to learn more about Geometric Nightmare and why we might want to contribute to her latest creative endeavor. Read on for her answers to our questions, as well as more dreamy illustrations from her project sketchbook.
Tell us about the idea behind your fashion show.
The Constituent Parts fashion show is put on by three other student designers and myself. The idea, though always in the back of our minds, was born out of the exhaustion of presenting our creations with other organizations. Though other shows that we’ve participated in have been great, we want to have more creative control to debut our collections in the correct setting they were made for, including more precisely the venue, music, choreography, hair and makeup, flyer, name, etc. The name of the show came from the idea that all four of us are separate individuals who are coming together in a combined effort to create something beautiful. The show will feature four completely separate collections, though all for the autumn/winter 2011 season. There will be three women’s RTW and one menswear. It will be the first show that we designers have put on independently and, therefore, is sort of a debut of ourselves as we discover ourselves as creators and share that with the world. The details are not completely in stone, but we are looking at the first week of February on a Thursday night.
What will you use the funds you raise to do?
The funds are essential to the completion of the line (though if not reached in this form, I will have to find another–but my dedication is relentless)! The collection garments will be made out of a series of knitted circles spanning about 8-10″ each, which requires about 15 feet of this rubber tubing. So each of those cost a certain amount, so literally each dollar that goes towards the project purchases the feet for each circle. So if I donator wants to know, I can tell them how many feet they have bought for the good of the collection! The money will directly be used on materials, which as I said includes the rubber tubing, as well as wool/silk creme colored yarn, black yarn and some other yardage of knits for stability behind the rubber as under-structures to the garments. Then once the line is created, it will be a beautiful piece of art that not only able to be visually rewarding to whoever looks up on it, it is three dimensional and wearable! How many pieces of art are that interactive?! This collection will be debuted at the Constituent Parts fashion show, as well as photographed and shown on my website at www.autieautie.com.
What gave you the unusual idea to try knitting with rubber tubes instead of yarn?
The idea came from an Italian company’s neoprene crocheted baskets called Neo. I recently had seen these at different gift shops in San Francisco and was fascinated and inspired. After contacting the ladies at Neo and earning their blessing, I started designing the clothing collection because no one was using this amazing fiber in garments (though it’s more avant garde than wearable I must admit). As a designer, we are always looking for new textiles and designing new textiles because how much more individual and creative is a garment if it is 100 percent from you and your creative mind? It is a very difficult material to work with, and different knitting techniques have to be applied. Let’s just say, my hands have cramps after knitting this. It’s not an easy knit-by-the-fireplace….
Beyond knitting with rubber, what else stands out about your collection?
The idea, as stated on my kickstarter site, was inspired in part by Ronan and Erwan Bourellec’s geometric “Clouds” creation. Intriguing to me was how an object can become three dimensional based on the ends that are attached to other ends. This, mixed with the idea that knits are not geometric by nature, brought me to this dark place of what it would be like to be overrun by geometry or to have total mathematical chaos in knits. I also wanted to combine the different mediums of creating this concept of a Geometric Nightmare. That’s why creating that silly video with the poem I wrote was so fun, as well as pushing the illustrations into little art pieces in themselves, discovering this muse woman pop out of them with her orange eyes and unrealistic hair. Life is comprised of so many senses, why not apply those to a fashion line? Words, pictures, textures, fabrics, colors, drawings, paintings, music, bodies, videos and photos to create a complete image.
What do you hope people get out of viewing Geometric Nightmare when it is completed?
I’ve never been asked that question- “what do you hope people get out of seeing it?” – before and yet that is such a vital and relevant question to answer before creating something (thank you for bringing that to my attention!). I suppose I just want to build this little imaginary world for people to enter, even if just for a moment. Something visually satisfying and mystyfing. Something differnt, to catch their attention and possibly inspire them about how new things are created all the time by different people and the way they see the world and choose to utilize the materials within it. I want other artists to see the lack of limitations and to be encouraged to live outside a box. In a a practical sense, I want the public and the fashion industry to see who Autie is and what she can create, building my network and brand (which is just called Autie). Who’s going to tell people about me if I don’t present myself for them to discover?
Fashion illustrations courtesy of Autie Carlisle