Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
With InAisce, designer Jona has created a label based on quality, not quantity and precision, not press. Born in Colorado and having lived in Japan, Italy and Indonesia, Jona’s vision of design and branding is one that continues to stand as a unique take on traditional. For his F/W 13 menswear collection, the New York-based creative explored the human sense of exile, accompanied by collaborations with Claudy Jongstra, Layer-0 and Artemas Quibble. High-end materials such as silk, cupro and shearling were contrasted with raw seams, asymmetrical cuts and sandblasted surfaces, whilst the rawness of oversized felted wraps was juxtaposed with the clean and strict lines of tailoring.
What was the inspiration behind your latest collection, Seeking Aether?
Where last season was a disciplined exercise for me, Seeking Aether was a playful creative process with a lot less parameters.
A few of the pieces such as the skirts are stereotypically feminine items, questioning what clothing is considered masculine. What boundaries would you like to push in the world of menswear?
I’m not interested in pushing boundaries of menswear or influencing menswear/fashion at all. Experimenting with garments that are currently considered ‘feminine’ is a result of thinking outside the narrow confines of our current era and culture. There is nothing intrinsically feminine about a skirt or long flowing shirt, they are simply associated with women’s clothing at this time.
Of course, I must consider that I am creating for the people of now, so to that extent I am offering some ‘feminine’ garments as menswear. I think it is a powerful practice as men – regardless of our sexual orientation – to embrace our feminine side.
When it comes to the business ethos of your label, what made you decide to go against the typical PR and marketing strategies?
Marketing is a lie. Where is the integrity in selling a product simply because you force it on people? I wanted to challenge myself to create something which is beautiful enough to draw attention without us screaming for it, and with enough value for people to purchase it and be happy without us asking them to.
How does the juxtaposition of the natural with the industrial, as well as Eastern with Western aesthetics play out in your work?
There are many examples of this from fabric compositions to silhouettes to details. This is not a new approach, but I try to do it in such an integrated way so that entire looks, and the individual garments, cannot be placed in a specific time or place.
You recently said that you are influenced by music, architecture and nature. Who are the people in these fields inspiring you today?
The music I was listening to while creating Fall/Winter was more beat driven than usual. Things like Tinariwen, Uakti, Huun-Huur-Tu, Julien Jacob. I like architecture that creates a powerful environment, from monumental modernists like Kahn and Pei, to the masters of integrating natural surroundings like Andō, to more humble firms like Lot-ek, who re-purposes unconventional materials and dramatically rethinks dwelling environments. Who inspires me in the field of nature?Well, I must conclude there is a designer, but I don’t know who it is and precisely what techniques were used.
The uniquely sourced materials and diverse textures are an important part of your work, what innovations are you looking forward to working with soon?
I am very intrigued by tech fabrics but right now I’m getting involved with more primitive techniques that start with the origin of the fibres.
In what direction would you like to take your label in the future?
Wherever the LABEL takes ME.
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