July 11, 2018

10 Questions with Entrant AURÉLIE FONTAN

"I believe that working hard can really produce good things, dedication to your craft and curiosity are essential to progress."

- Aurélie Fontan

Recently we sat down with JBA entrant Aurélie Fontan to talk about uni life, finding inspiration and how fashion can change the world – read the full interview below!

Hi Aurélie – what does it feel like to graduate from ECA with your degree in fashion design and what are you doing now? 
I have been studying design for around 6 years now and I have been able to work on really exciting projects. This year I felt that I pushed my creativity really far, and the workload was crazy so I am really happy to be able to move on to a more professional activity. I am presently looking for job opportunities in sustainable fashion!

Where do you get your creative inspiration?
I feel really close to fine art as I started studying history of art and literature before fashion. I would say most of my inspirations come from really varied fields like contemporary art, science, books and innovative trends in design disciplines.

Who inspires you and why?
I am a great admirer of Iris van Herpen, she is a Dutch designer who re-invented the relationship between science, fashion and art.

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What values do you live by day to day, and why are they important to you?
I believe that working hard can really produce good things, dedication to your craft and curiosity are essential to progress. I also feel that there are wider issues, like environmental ones, that we can’t ignore, and caring about saving energy, producing less waste, is also important to me on a personal level.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Generally the extensive list of what needs to be done, I try to avoid procrastination whenever I can…

What challenges do you expect to face working in the fashion industry?  
I know things change rather slowly in the fashion industry. You can’t expect everyone to embrace sustainable fashion unless the offer is varied and attractive. I think I will face some challenges working within the fashion industry and witnessing all the practices that should really change.

In your previous John Byrne Award entry ‘Alpha Male’ you explored the concept of “masculine sensitivity” – why did you want to focus on this particular topic?
Alpha Male was my project in second year at the Edinburgh College of Art focused on Diversity in fashion. Celebrating the variety of identities and sexual orientations through clothing is something that I feel is important, but more specifically creating clothing for other minorities that might be overlooked. My muse’s identity went beyond a lot of pre-established steretotypes and therefore I wanted to create a line of garments that would respond to his need for female/male/unisex clothing.

What book/film/artwork/song/location/experience has had a major impact on you? Can you tell us the story behind that?
The True Cost by Andrew Morgan completely changed my perspective on the subject I was studying. It is a documentary about fast fashion that encompasses all that is wrong with fast fashion, and reveals issues that are less known to the public, including aspiring designers.

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What role can fashion play in making the world a better place? 
To me fashion is a tool to enable personal freedom. In a way, you can use fashion to make personal statements that have impact on a larger scale. As a woman, I believe that anyone should be able to dress how they want to, and unfortunately, peer pressure sometimes limit that type of freedom. I have myself experienced that with a lot of harassment against women in Paris where I come from. More generally, a more responsible fashion industry that pushes for diversity and equal rights for workers would also make a drastic change.

Which organisations or individuals are leading the way in terms of tackling waste in fashion?
I think charity shops do really well with tackling waste in fashion. Although a lot is still wasted, it is a rather good alternative to sending clothing to landfills. We already have too much clothing in circulation anyway. Holly McQuillan is a pioneer in the zero-waste garment cutting technique, a process that should be more considered to be included in the design chain.

What question/s do you ask yourself on a daily basis?
I always try to think about what I could do better in my work. And if there is any interesting project that I could look for.