Now known for putting skirts and silhouettes on men and tuxedos and men's shirts on women; fashion designers are gradually bending the genders... blurring the lines in between. We talked about the new wave extensively in our Fashion Issue this year. Amongst other well known faces, we also spoke to Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama, who feels gender is becoming less relevant in today’s’ world. Her label P.E.L.L.A is all about easy and non-pretentious silhouettes. Excerpts from the interview.
How has your creative process evolved, and how has it changed over time?
My creative process is still evolving. With two collections, it is too short a time to say it has changed. Of course, there are things that I may do a little differently, but overall it is still cohesive. I believe experiences do change and as we grow; these experiences formulate the thought and the doing of the being. One thing that will forever remain constant is the strife towards your own realm of design language.
Where did your passion for challenging the boundaries of masculinity/femininity stem from?
The boundaries of masculinity and femininity in clothing were defined by the social environment and passed down through the ages. Not just in clothing, boundaries exist everywhere and they are meant to standardise, bring an order. These boundaries are but an illusion so when you step out of it you see what it’s actually worth. Design to me is in my mind and what I think, I feel and I create.
Gender fluidity has been building up in fashion for a few years. Last year, non-gendered clothes progressed even further. In your opinion, what is the significance of the new trend?
I don’t hold much of a belief in trends—trends will come and go, but core innovations in design and pattern-making are here to stay. Non-gendered fashion is a language and I am sure it has a long way to go. I have been seeing this happen since the Bianca Jagger days [pantsuit by YSL], the lovely= androgynous beauty Annemarie Schwarzenbach who is forever etched in our memories and recently in 2011, when Pejic started to walk both the runways [femme, man]. Ever since, I think gender neutral fashion has become the new normal but it would be just right to say it has always been present.
What is your opinion/view on gender fluidity seeping into our culture, and do you think it will be the next big thing in fashion?
The social view and role of women and men today has evolved so much. It is merit and capability that is taking Centrestage—gender, religion, background, language, geography are becoming less relevant in today’s world. Fashion and clothing being an integral part of the culture, is bound to be impacted by the same. Everyone has the right to experiment with one’s consciousness; otherwise the pursuit of happiness will have no meaning. My answer would be, why not?
And lastly, describe your overall design vocabulary. When conceptualising a new piece, what is the most important aspect to you?
My label P.E.L.L.A, with its avant-garde tailoring in prét wear, portrays fashion in an innovative and unconventional way. It is deeply rooted in the wabi-sabi philosophy where designs are simple, unpretentious and fashioned out of natural materials to form organic silhouettes. Deliberate imperfections are incorporated in the design to give a ‘wrong’ solution to an otherwise correct norm. My patterns are often developed from a single block of fabric requiring a minimum of measurement and sewing.
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