• Brooke Roberts-Islam

Edda Gimnes makes fantastical fashion

“I wasn’t exactly top of my class, my techniques were a bit out there.” Edda Gimnes confirmed what I feared when lecturing recently – that in some institutions, students were being moulded, polished and judged according to a narrow set of guidelines where a certain ‘aesthetic’ prevails and is thought of as ‘good design’ and all else is less than acceptable. Want to design shiny ballgowns? Tacky! Want to scribble on blank canvases then slash and top-stitch them together a la’ paper doll dress? No way! Fashion design is almost entirely subjective, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you listen to some schools of thought in fashion education (no pun intended).

Edda Gimes AW16 collection and inspiration

What makes a good design? What makes a great designer? Does it have anything to do with taste? Does it matter? The question I prefer to ask is how does the designer’s work make me feel? What does it inspire in me? If the answer is nothing, then subjectively, it’s not for me. In the case of Edda Gimnes collection it filled me with happiness, excitement and wonder. I think fashion is largely about magic… and clothes. Edda’s clothes are sprinkled with a childlike fun that came from her abandon and wit in scrawling across vast sections of cloth with her non-dominant hand in an effort to return to a time when she was learning to draw – to return to being a kid. The charming naivety leaps off the fabrics which are stiff cotton ‘canvases’ that showcase her monochrome illustrations to great effect. The jagged seams and raw edges suggest an immediacy of design realisation – it’s like she created the pieces with fervour before their essence could be lost. She admits to struggling with pattern cutting and finding a way around that limitation by creating cutouts roughly in the shape of a dress sketched flat on a piece of paper. Rather than being held back by her limitation, it fed into the quick, naive mood of the illustrations and brought them to life in an honest and ‘fitting’ way.

The slow and at times laborious nature of refinement and re-working in clothing design and creation can mean that all that is human about the design is smoothed away, leaving a perfect but impersonal result. The ‘hand’ in the creation – the personality – is lost. Edda’s clothes are theatrical and honest – not unlike her. Edda’s personality shines boldly throughout the collection and I want to wear it all. I was in and out of tops and skirts and shoes and lived for a little while in her world. It was fun, personal and compelling.

To hear Edda talk about receiving a warm and positive response to her work was a joy. She was still beaming from meeting Jimmy Choo earlier that day. He took a huge shine to her and her collection. He adored her mis-matched and customised high street shoes. I can’t help but think of Quentin Blake‘s illustrations when I look at her black scribbles atop the pointy toed shoes. She beams with the recollection of reading Roald Dahl‘s books as a child and initially couldn’t remember where her inspiration for this illustration style came from, until she dug deep into her memories and saw the connection.

I’m delighted to bring the passion and energy of Edda’s designs to the ‘pages’ of Techstyler. Her garments are digitally printed and cut and sewn in London and when I spoke to her at Fashion Scoutduring London Fashion Week she was taking private orders. Sara Maino from Vogue Italia stopped by and Edda had interest from boutiques in Japan while I was chatting to her, so get your orders in fast, before everyone’s chasing a piece of Edda Gimnes magic.

Edda Gimnes AW16 Lookbook

When rounding off this post I read a completely unrelated (but brilliant) article and realised that the success of Edda’s collection lies in its authenticity. It offered this:

“When you’re not trying to hide away the real version of yourself, people will respond’. When you’re demonstrating authenticity, not some contrived personality, that’s when you find a way to reach out and connect with other human beings”

Onwards and upwards, authentically.

Header Image: Edda Gimnes AW16 Lookbook

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