Hermione Flynn has lived in different countries with their own culture her entire life, something that allowed her to understand what is missing in the predominant western one. Her work is very conceptual, and she makes it to cause different reactions and generate controversy, to provoke and make people talk about what has been done. Using audio-visuals and performance art to convey her strong messages, she’s the kind of creative that will lead the way towards the future of fashion.
Where and how did you get started in the fashion industry?
Well, I was born in New Zealand, although I did grow up in several different countries (Australia, Malaysia and England), and returned to my birthplace when I was thirteen years old. There I graduated with a degree in performance art and during my studies I started to pursue clothing as a form of communication, which later led to the creation of the brand.
In a more personal level, how do you define yourself as a designer?
I would say that I’m more of a cerebral designer. I like to spend a lot of time philosophizing and analyzing before I start creating. Once I have decided on the concept, the artistic solution or medium to use is always very clear to me. Essentially, after pondering for some time, the physical act of design happens very quickly.
Who inspires you the most in your collections? And in your everyday life?
I’m primarily inspired by things that I believe don’t make sense, things I find challenging. For example, why men in western culture do not wear dresses. In my opinion, there is no logical reasoning. By asking myself these questions I feel inspired to challenge these rules or standards with my collections and performances.
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From the nine collections you have created, which one is the one you relate with the most? Or do you have one that stands out from the rest for you, on an emotional level?
I wouldn’t say there is a specific collection but that there are specific moments across my career as a designer that stand out for me. Mostly, they are moments when I am putting on a live performance at an event like Fashionclash, for example, when we had a transgender model wrapped in aprons, or a previous event where I had a group of models scribbling on each other until they completely exasperated the task. It’s these moments in live performance where you can feel the emotional impact the work is having on the audience and how the work is engaging and gripping. Those are by far the highlights of my career.
After researching, I saw how you divided your brand into three sub-brands (let’s call them like that): Hermione Flynn, Hermione Flynn Concept and Second Skin. What are the main and most significant differences between them?
The Hermione Flynn Concept collections are designed with the intention to produce work that often provides social commentary and challenges current conventions. To maintain this integrity, I approach every design decision with an unwavering dedication to the artistic concept at hand. It is this thorough creative process that creates work which should be intellectually considered and appreciated as art.
Hermione Flynn is influenced by the aesthetic of the concept but is more catered towards clothing that someone can have in his or her wardrobe for everyday use. Functionality, quality, wearability and comfort are the main points of focus.
Second Skin is made up of simple jersey tops, bottoms, dresses and jumpsuits along with the classic mesh pieces. It is meant more to compliment the other garments by offering layering or simplistic options.
Generally, all these collections are created to offer a well-rounded wardrobe with your staple pieces for any occasion.
Inside your website, there is a huge amount of audio-visual contents. What position do images have for you? How do you deal with art direction and audio-visuals? How did you come up with the idea of creating a film for the latest collection?
Clothing exists within a context, and the environment completely influences the way it is perceived. Factors such as the location, style, sound/music and model choice evoke emotions and reactions that contribute to conveying an idea. To me, it’s about using the best platform to communicate the concept that informs the designs or fashion.
For example, in my most recent collection, Lawless, I took inspiration from how today technology advances exponentially, how the law as we currently know it struggles to maintain authority. As a point of departure, I staged a technological experiment featuring long-term dance collaborator Moon Kim, and the use of a 3-D sensor motion capture system. Through this work, I could explore the limitations of technology and the physical body translated onto a digital figure.
The most profound result portrayed a digital figure that did not recognize the borders or lawless reality. By utilizing this imagery, I could develop the collection which features classic menswear items, yet caters to the misplacement or duplication of limbs, portraying the physical realizations of a ‘borderless’ or ‘lawless’ reality. Due to this kind of creative process, audio-visual content plays an important role not only in how I create but how I gain inspiration for a collection or a performance piece.
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Can you explain us in more detail what is the C+B campaign about?
C+B stands for Cock and Balls, which stands for Cocktail dresses and Ball gowns for men. The collection was inspired by the fact that I sincerely don’t understand in western society why men do not wear dresses. Secondly, that eveningwear and cocktail dresses for women are also something I don’t relate to. Therefore, it was about approaching the design of a dress or ball gown as if I was designing for a man. What would this dress need? How do I make it functional? These questions are what inspired elements such as multi-functional closures, pockets and durable fabrics for the dresses or skirts. For example, I designed a ball gown covered in pockets because typically it leaves you with nowhere to put your wallet or anything for that matter. It was about combining those two elements and questioning why they are not more relevant in today’s western society.
You’ve spoken before about performance. Do you normally use it as the main concept in your runways/presentations? What possibilities does this medium offer when showcasing a fashion collection?
Personally, I don’t understand how the performance of a runway even became what it is, nor do I necessarily think it is the best way to showcase clothing. There are many artistic options out there to create a performance that doesn’t just consist of someone walking up and down a runway. Many designers ask the models to walk a certain way or have a certain attitude. I believe it can be taken a step further by the model doing something relevant to the concept or performing in a way that supports the idea or clothing on another level.
When you experience a performance, the models can be more present or more overpowering than the clothing at times so it is imperative to have them work together. So yes, performance is integral to the presentation but also integral to my design process where I tend to imagine the performance before the collection.
Finally, how do you see yourself and your brand in the future?
I would like my brand to keep influencing a movement in fashion about concept. It does exist already but maybe not in full force. I feel there could be more examples and I would like to be one of the leading designers in that area and help inspire fashion to move in that direction. As for myself, I personally could see myself as a teacher one day.
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