As a young designer, to be able to bring your ideas and collection to life is a monumental moment. Last year saw ellesse introduce its new upcycling project, Tailors, which gave aspiring talent the chance to do just this for SS22.
Not only does Tailors have an eco-conscious approach through the repurposing of old ellesse deadstock and fabric, but it spotlights emerging designers by offering them a global platform to showcase their vision and leave their mark on the ellesse legacy.
After exploring the work of three upcoming designers, who faced a judging panel of industry insiders, ellesse made its final decision. Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Nomin Zezegmaa blew the judges away and stood out from the crowd with her unique approach in merging high-fashion and streetwear with ellesse’s tailoring heritage and her otherworldly creative practice.
Zezegmaa, who is of Mongol heritage, shared not only her sartorial vision in her garments but pulled in elements of her sculptural practice and personal background through different materials and mediums. We caught up with her to find out more about her collection and how this process with ellesse has helped evolve her practice.
"Creating my final collection was an insightful experience," says Zezegmaa. "Keeping the intention of upcycling in mind, I analyze the way each item is constructed and put together. From there I deconstruct, reconstruct, and modify elements so that the pieces are reborn with a distinct aesthetic or functional sensibility."
With a love for layering and draping, Zezegmaa’s approach to design aims to create as little waste as possible. "To appreciate, and fully respect the material and its manifold uses is important. Upcycling is not a 21st-century concept, but what makes it so urgently and alarmingly important is the lack of understanding and valuing of material and its consumption," she explains — and this conscious attitude to production is something ellesse kept at the forefront of Tailors.
Coming from a background that lacks portrayal in the industry isn’t easy, but Zezegmaa has taken matters into her own hands and is building that space for her community and her heritage. "The collection may not aesthetically hint towards my Mongolian roots, but the mentality of the approach and design is conceptually set on them. The intention to fully embed and use the given material, and to show what is possible within the idea of upcycling, underline the aims of my collection. This is a direct reflection of the Mongolian sensibility of my ancestors and in turn mirrors indigenous practice, knowledge, and craft," says Zezegmaa.
As a young creative, to be given an opportunity like this from an established brand like ellesse is sure to propel your practice in lots of new directions, while also being pretty eye-opening. Zezegmaa explains how she gained a lot of insights into various, different processes by being directly involved in the creative direction and styling. On top of getting to work with a highly professional team, she comments on how many hands and minds come together to bring pieces to life. "For brands like ellesse to work with upcoming designers in this manner offers a great platform — and representation is made accessible, which is crucial."
Looking at her body of work it is clear that Zezegmaa has her own unique aesthetic. When it came to shooting the collection, she merged her sculptural art with the pieces from her collection, creating an overarching sense of unity and explaining how, "together, the sculpture and model enter a time-specific relation. I’m eager to further elaborate and articulate the merging of design and art in my practice."
Through initiatives like Tailors, ellesse tackles the lack of diversity in the industry, focusing on individual voices and inclusivity, especially amongst the younger generation. It is these one-of-a-kind voices and visions that will propel our fashion landscape in the future.
Find out more about Zezegmaa's work on her site here.