AP ¬ Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp ¬ Fashion Department

Sofie Gaudaen

(France) sofie.gaudaen@gmail.com

Ainu Stroke

The inspiration of my master project was a tribe from the North of Japan, the Ainu. They have a culture of tattooing, exclusively for women, to tattoo a big smile around their mouth, and braided shapes around their forearms and hands. They believe that the tattoos, placed at the extreme ends of their body, will keep the evil spirits from entering. Protecting them from diseases. These patterns are repeated on the edges of their kimonos in beautiful appliqués of cotton scraps, within the same idea of protection from beings entering their body. It made me want to draw a parallel with western medical garments : compression garments, girdles, ortheses, creating the contrast between very tight-fitting pieces and more voluminous kimono-inspired garments. The representation of medical items is often times very aseptic and didactic, but taken out of context I find some kind of beauty in this imagery. It's really about the aesthetics of care, in two different contexts, two different cultures. I was also inspired by one of my favorite artists, Pierre Soulages, who worked a lot with black. One part of his work consists of big brushstrokes, like abstracted calligraphy, in various kinds of media (from lithography to painting with walnut stains). So to translate the idea of tattoo, I decided to color the garment directly with pigment, abstracting those braid-like shapes into big brushstrokes that I made directly on the fabrics, from which I cut the pattern pieces before assembling them. The idea was to use different bases instead of different paints, to achieve a variety of textures. On thick wool for example, the colours are a bit toned down, the paint crackles and looks almost like leather, when on nylon, the colours will stay more vibrant, the brushstrokes more defined.

Catwalk pictures