Intro

We are still talking about her 2015 graduation collection MADE YOU LOOK: the Swedish innovative and experimental fashion designer Saina Koohnavard has been able to translate Gestalt psychology in clothing.
We wonder how she succeeded in it: that is why we have decided to interview her.

Since 2015, she have continued to work around the same theme but developing it for performance and stage purposes.
Her previous collection (I)DEAL WITH IT explored how two-dimensional sketches are translated into garments on a three-dimensional body.
We are looking forward to seeing the development of her peculiar viewpoint on fashion design.

Tell me something your work.
I am an independent fashion designer based in Borås, Sweden.
I am currently also teaching BA and MA students in fashion design part time at The Swedish School of Textiles
At the moment, my work focuses on engaging the viewer. My 2015 MA collection was a good foundation for analytical thinking. It allowed me to truly investigate colour, patterns and materials in depth. I worked with principles of Gestalt psychology to explore the categorisation system of our perception, playing with these as an attempt to convey illusory effects.

 

Can you explain the process of applying Gestalt psychology to your outfits?
How we perceive our surroundings is something that has always interested me. In design, there are so many aspects at play that affect how we categorize and make assumptions and decisions. Principles within Gestalt psychology are used in other design fields, such as interaction design and industrial design, but it is not so common that we speak of or use these elements in the field of fashion. I started incorporating these elements, working with the plaid pattern, a pattern that is known to most people, and used principles such as the law of figure-ground to play with layers. The law of figure-ground basically means that we have difficulties in separating figure from background due to the fact that it is not exactly evident which is which. My aim was to use this aspect but with garments, playing with layers so that the differentiation between undergarment and outerwear would appear unclear. The overall process was just about trial and error. It was about going back and forth between printing and draping, testing contrasts and saturations, having test audiences. I could have continued with it for a longer period of time because there wasn’t really a method for stopping. But in the end this technique was used in multiple garment types such as dresses, coats and shirts.

 

Her collection is indeed a great mix of shaded shapes and colours that confuse the viewer at first glance. It has been quite difficult to describe her clothes because my eyes have to make an effort to identify all the elements of her outfits: the plaid pattern in uncommon colours blends with white to overlap layers and silhouettes: jackets, taillleurs, trousers and dresses arise unexpected from the whole.

 

What inspires you?
Travelling, books, materials, garments in thrift stores, movies, music.

 

Three adjectives to describe your design?
Experimental, colorful, inquisitive

 

Three adjectives to describe fashion in your Country?
Scaled down, season based, normative. Although there are smaller brands that are challenging these expressions at the moment.

 

What kind of music were you listening during your latest project?
Wilde, Little Dragon, sir Was, Tom Zé, Kelela, Solange.

 

Artists, fashion designers you love and who inspire you?
Andrea Jiapei Li, Ports 1961, Dries van Noten, Anrealage, and of course Comme des Garçons.

 

One famous person you would love to dress? Which kind of dress would you imagine for him/her?
I would love to dress Solange, Kelela and Roisin Murphy. I am imagining rich colours, manipulations in materials and crazy head pieces. I am actually dressing my dream muse, Yukimi Nagano. She is the singer of Little Dragon, the band I am working with, for stage wear.

 

Colours you love?
I love all of them equally!

 

What were you doing before answering all these questions?
Cuddling with my dachshund.

 

Close your eyes. Imagine a shape / object to describe your Country.
A pine tree.