In 1993 after graduation at Central Saint Martins in London, Hussein Chalayan made his mark in the industry with his “Decomposed silk dressed “. Since then, the British designer has become a lauded pioneer and integrates science, architecture, and design to transform his clothing into work of arts. Forward thinking, futuristic designs includes dresses fused with moving plane parts and Tyvek garments that resembled furniture and could be folded down to envelope size. In turn, Chalayan has been awarded British Designer of the year in 1999-2000 and Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2006, while he was also credited by Time magazine as one of its ‘100 Most Influential Innovators of the 21st Century’ – to name a few.
ICON caught up with the celebrated visionary for insight into his view on the industry.
ICON: Your mind looks to every aspect of the creative world. What’s behind the start of a collection, the idea, the evolution of the story?
Hussein Chalayan: “Coming from a multicultural background has formed part of my inspiration, making me open to different ways of looking at my surroundings. I like exploring ideas whilst also proposing a new way of creating around the body.”
2019 marks the 25th year anniversary of your brand. Who are the ‘Chayalan’ men and women of today?
HC: “My aim is to create pieces that my customers will still want to wear in 10 years time. I think our brand is modest – but empowering.”
What’s your opinion on fashion today vs what it should be?
HC: “I would ban nepotism and focus more on real designers as opposed to just creative directors.”
You have recently launched e-commerce. What do you think of the digital world?
HC: “I think that it’s becoming a more and more important tool to be ahead of [the] times and reach a wider range of customers. When talking about virtual reality, this will of course exist however the real experience of a show is a not replaceable.”
What is the wisest lesson learnt from the industry?
HC: “I think it’s important to take risks, work hard and develop new skills.”