WOW

Lisa Konno

As she picks up the phone, artist in residence Lisa Konno is in the middle of a bout of fabric testing: experimenting with different materials and techniques for her next collection. To see what works, and what doesn’t. Knitting, stitching, adding, subtracting – let’s not forget fashion is a pretty technical profession. ‘’Having studied at ArtEZ [a large art academy in Arnhem, SV], I realise that I have a very broad understanding of fashion, one that goes into drawing and textile technique as much as into design and conceptualisation. They really prepare you for an existence as a self-employed artist.’’

New York, New York

Lisa has been at WOW since August and has made herself at home: ‘’It’s a curious building to stay in, with this continuous stream of backpackers hanging around and livening up the place.’’ As early as 2008, when Lisa wasn’t anywhere near finishing high school, she spent a summer at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York. In her down-to-earth manner, she nearly manages to make it sound trivial, although you cannot escape the feeling that you’re dealing with an exceptionally talented individual. Later on, at ArtEZ, she learnt the craft – sometimes the hard way. ‘’Criticism can be fierce and the course is emotionally demanding, because you’re putting yourself out there. But you learn an important lesson along the way: be your own toughest critic.’’ It involves a lot of work, too. Her comments are revealing when she speaks about her internship at Alexander Wang’s men’s department (again in New York): ‘’They’re very efficient, very organised. Compared to school, I wasn’t actually that busy. I had a lot more free time than I anticipated!’’

fast fashion

Graduation collection Extended Materials clearly indicated where Lisa’s interests lie: the designs were made with used fabrics, thereby elongating the life of materials. The next collection, For the Workers, continued the theme. The designer is concerned with fast fashion: ‘’Big chains copy designs they see on the catwalk and produce them more quickly, in vast amounts. People tend to forget that these clothes are not made by machines but by humans. The value we attach to our clothes diminishes, they are sold very cheaply. That’s detrimental to the conditions in which the tailors work in places like Africa and South-East Asia.’’

merging mission and fun

The mission is clear: there is a need for appreciation of the garment, for a longer life and fair prices. Lisa, through her label, wants to show that idealism and fun, wearable fashion don’t cancel each other out. Indeed, they can merge: ‘’For some of my designs, I used zoomed-in pictures of workshops in Bangladesh and kind of hid them in the piece of clothing. That way, you literally wear the means of producing.’’ It is hardly surprising that for label Afriek, the fashion house that connects African tailors and Western buyers with limited edition clothing, Lisa designed the women’s collection, something very close to her heart. ‘’I love emphasising the connection between the producer and the consumer.’’ Lisa Konno will present her next collection around January 2016. Click here for the website.

Portrait by: Tetsuro Miyazaki

by Senne Vercouteren

People easily forget that fashion is made by people
Lisa Konno
Collection: For the Workers
Collection: For the Workers
Collection: For the Workers