Say goodbye to the days of fumbling an unwieldy melon while trying to carry in groceries. Japanese designer Tsuchiya Kaban’s latest leather bag provides an elegant, luxury vessel tote around your fruit. Holding exactly one, round watermelon, the carrier was crafted by Yusuke Kadoi as part of a project titled The Fun of Carrying, which encouraged designers to create playful, inventive items as side projects. Watch the video below to see Kadoi’s process and how simply he secures a watermelon inside. (via Spoon & Tamago)
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Trendy Octogenarian Couple Sports Stylish, Eclectic Garments Left Behind at Their Laundromat in Taiwan
Many of us fret over the loss of a beloved sweater or discovering a lone sock, but we can at least find some solace in knowing that the garments abandoned at Wansho Laundry in central Taiwan are being worn to their full potential. The laundromat’s owners, 83-year-old Chang Wan-ji and 84-year-old Hsu Sho-er, have been fashioning the skirts, blouses, and trousers left behind into adorable, eclectic styles. Just last month, their grandson Chang Reef began sharing photographs of the octogenarian couple modeling their fashionable outfits—which often include matching shoes, graphic tees, and a range of accessories like hats, big sunglasses, and small leather pouches—on Instagram, where they’ve since gone viral. For more of Chang and Hsu’s backstory (they got married in 1959!), dive into this New York Times profile. (via Kottke)
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United Kingdom-based designer Alexandra Sipa creates spellbinding accessories and garments from waste electrical wires. The Central Saint Martins’ graduate initially was inspired to experiment with wires as textiles when her headphones broke, leading her to extract the colorful coils and cables to create wire lace.
The designer learned to craft vibrant lace from YouTube videos, books, and her own mishaps, and one of her enchanting dresses took 1,000 hours to complete. Many cultural and historical references are woven into her pieces, including her interest in extreme austerity and heightened femininity in Romania. “The aesthetic of Bucharest is a mix of French architecture, grey brutalist apartment complexes, and mega communist structures (like the Palace of Parliament), while the women are usually very careful about the way they look, getting all dressed up for a supermarket trip and loving the ultra-glamorous, ultra-feminine look.”
Objects of nostalgia, the ruffled garments evoke her Romanian grandmother’s damaged, garden fence. They mirror the endless colors that were revealed throughout the cracks. More broadly, Sipa’s work is dedicated to how her grandmother cares for her household objects, reinventing them with time. “Every time I visit her, there’s something changed around the house, something moved, something repainted,” the designer says. “She will make any object look like a treasure, no matter where it came from. That stuck with me.”
Sipa’s garments echo her views on sustainability, and she believes that otherwise unwanted products should be seen as an opportunity to create new inventions and discover unusual techniques. “As my practice is rooted in creating luxury products out of local waste sources, my collection tackles one of the fastest-growing sources of waste in electronic waste, reaching 50 million tons in 2020,” she explains.
The designer’s goal is the complete circularity of her garments. “The industry is becoming aware of the urgency for change due to the climate emergency and the increasing demand from consumers for more sustainable options,” she explains. “However, companies need to recognize the business opportunity in the circular fashion industry.” The designer also stresses the importance of recognizing the economic, environmental, and social impacts. “ Fashion needs to become more sustainable from the inside out, not only in the materials used but also ethically in the treatment and compensation of workers in the production chain and workers designing the clothes.”
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Los Angeles-based designer Laura Estrada handcrafts sustainable jewelry pieces that are conceptually driven, sculptural adornments for the body and face. She uses ancient metalsmithing techniques to create timeless, wearable heirlooms that merge fashion with art. “From a very young age, I have been building little objects with my hands, ” Estrada explains. “This obsession manifested itself when I took a metalsmithing class in college.”
Metal is the designer’s chosen medium, and she describes it as a fierce, unforgiving, stubborn, resilient, and enduring material. “It reminded me of myself,” she explains. After receiving her BFA, Estrada undertook an apprenticeship with a master jeweler, an experience that refined her skills before she launched Laura Estrada Jewelry in 2018.
The designer finds her inspiration from diverse influences—whether observing nature while out on a hike or the images she comes across in art history books. “My ideas also thrive in a collaborative environment, and my conceptual work often starts with conversations or projects with other creatives, that then evolve into a deeper, more experimental direction for the work,” Estrada explains.
When creating her body-spanning pieces, the designer’s artistic process is sometimes chaotic, and she initially starts working and modeling with metal. “I have found even if I sketch it out before, everything changes when it becomes three dimensional,” she explains. “The metal takes on shapes and forms that I piece together repeatedly until it feels right, then I solder it all together. I work very intuitively and do my best to trust the flow of my creative process.”
Estrada’s jewelry evokes a sense of resilience, empowerment, and confidence. The physical and conceptual construction of her pieces merges the innovation and integrity of ancient design practices with future technologies, and she finds unique methods to harmonize the two. As she explains, “With a focus on the intersection between art, technology, and identity, my recent exploration of masks and face pieces as ritual adornment aim to empower the wearer in their chosen form of identity and individuality.”
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Oghalé Alex’s stunning new project is centered on the desire for “escaping the noise… Each picture is meant to look like something out of your imagination or something you might have seen in a dream,” the Nigerian-American photographer says.
Currently living in London, Alex’s serene series was shot for Cold Laundry, a fashion brand led by Ola and Cerise Alabi, in locations worldwide from Los Angeles and Scottsdale to Sicily, Milos, and San Pedro. “One of the things we thought about when it comes to escaping is a vacation,” Alex tells Colossal. “This can be to the beach, a resort, or simply anywhere a person considers to be peaceful.” The neutral tones of the natural landscape serve as an unobtrusive backdrop for the soft-hued clothing.
With models perpetually embodying impending action, whether through rigidly resting on beige sands or jogging with both feet in the air, the ethereal images explore the tension between movement and inactivity.
The touching, posing, and movement all comes from what our idea of freedom is. Sometimes we’ll have the models laying down in a formation. Other times they will be walking out of the frame towards something unseen. Whatever the models do, we often have them do it together because we believe there is comfort and freedom in companionship.
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At first, the garments look as though they’ve been spun with a traditional medium—wool or yarn—but on closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the thin and springy mesh-like material is composed of thousands of elastic bands that have been knitted together. Made by Japanese designer Rie Sakamoto, the handmade collection includes a jacket and dress, each of which illustrates the diverse functionality of stationery items like rubber bands.
Sakamoto’s “rubber collection” initially was exhibited at Tama Art University in Toyko as part of a graduate exhibition and the garments, which took Sakamoto half a year to make, reflect on how overlooked materials and objects can have diverse uses in fashion, contemporary design, and art.
The flexibility of the soft bands allows Sakamoto to stretch the rubber to make different-sized garments that are adaptable to various bodies. Similar to how wool garments are created with needles, Sakamoto makes each garment by knitting the rubber bands together. When closely observed, the materials are a matte, sand-like color, but when thousands are merged together into textiles or fashion pieces, an earthy orange emerges. When Sakamoto’s garments are held up in the light, they become almost iridescent
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.