After her work was presented at ILFWDA during LFW, we just had to catch up with Agnes about her designs.
Hi Agnes! Let’s start at the beginning: how did you become a fashion designer?
My way to become a fashion designer was very unusual. Most of the designers would answer this question easily like they were dreaming about it when they were a child. I never did. I didn’t dream to be a fashion designer, I just made dresses for myself as a hobby since age 13 to express myself. Luckily my family supported me with my hobby, especially my grandmother who allowed me to cut up her dresses even if it was her favourite one. I love to wear unique clothes and that feeling to see the result of my own creations made this hobby stronger. I started to make more and more outfits for every occasion and enjoyed getting positive feedback from my friends and the questions from unknown people like “Excuse me, where did you buy your dress?” It took me a long time to realise but finally I opened my eyes that it is not just a hobby. I love to create, people love what they see and I can’t be that egoist and create dresses only for myself. That’s how I decided to start studying fashion design as a profession at age 33. I believe that it’s never too late to start to do what you love and what is really your passion.
“IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE”
Where have you been drawing your inspiration from so far?
I reflect. ‘Me time’ gives me time to think and reflect on my experiences and day-to-day life. Usually the Bing moment happens when you least expect it – like when you’re on the train, or in the shower, or right before bed. And as I am a fabric lover most of the time the inspirations are coming from fabrics. My hobby is to visit fabric shops, where I can spend hours touching the fabrics and imagining the dresses. Because of this hobby I have a huge fabric collection so when the inspiration comes, and it can be in the middle of the night, I am ready to create.
Tell us all about some of your most recent designs.
My greatest passion is combining. Combining the styles (historical with modern) and combining the materials (recycling, upcycling material with luxury and high- quality fabrics). My designs are bespoke and draped creations with attention to detail. I create feminine shapes to make a woman feel beautiful, unique and confident with herself.
Your designs use sustainable materials – how do you source them? I investigate second hands garments and discarded fabrics, figuring out new ways to give them new life and a second chance by using different sustainable techniques like recycling, upcycling, zero waste, fabric manipulation, crocheting and handcraft decorating. Some pieces were made by recycling plastic milk jugs. The rigid surface of the plastic becomes body-friendly by using crocheting techniques on it. For example, one dress was made from 40-year-old fabric, which supposed to be used for my mother’s wedding dress.
Why is it important for you to have an eco-friendly collection?
Creating a sustainable collection is such an easy way to make a huge difference for the planet! And the other reason is, seeing the potential where others may see waste gives me a new sense of satisfaction. It’s time to get rid of our throw-away mentality and take a look at the steps we can take on a personal level to help stop this vicious fast-fashion cycle. By shopping sustainably, for quality over quantity, we can wear our clothes for longer. We know that we’re supporting the good stuff, and in some way helping the world.
How does it feel to see your work on the runway?
In February I presented my first collection at ILFWDA during London Fashion Week and it was a “dream come true”. I’m so excited to see my work walk the runway and feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in myself. It’s turning a vision into a reality and telling a story of where I am now and how my garments relate to my future as a designer. And this positive feeling inspires me to create new collections.
What does ‘fashion’ mean to you?
People will always need clothes and it’s an important aspect of any human culture to have a creative society and to express themselves visually through what they wear. Fashion is very unique. Some might say a dress is ugly, when another could say it is beautiful. Different people like different things. It depends on who you are and what your opinions are. So, fashion means to me the way to express my identity.
What are your plans for the future?
I will definitely pursue a career in design and I have to improve the marketing and logistics side of fashion. I planning to build my own brand and create more beautiful garments.
Thanks for talking with us today – finally, where can we see your collections next?
This weekend I will showcase my collection at Global Sustainable Fashion Week in Budapest. Thank you for your invitation, it was a pleasure to answer your questions.
Images by Martin Higgs Photography, Robert & Racquel Photography, Cedric Shillingford Tasheira, Robert Bedson