UR: What is the name of this new collection?
UR: What colors were used to make up collection?
CS: Mostly grayscale tones so blacks, greys, whites, and then some gold and silver in the last look.
UR: What were the inspiration for the various makeup looks?
CS: There were several artists doing (makeup for) all the girls, but I wanted to go for a darker, moodier vibe to match the energy of the work. So just focused on darkening up the eye makeup without making it overbearing.
UR: What inspired the hair and makeup looks for this show?
CS: The hair I pulled from looking at more structured, sporty braided looks and then trying to translate into a more futuristic vibe. But at the end of the day I sent a lot of imagery to the artists and they came up with the final look, so I can’t take that much credit.
UR: Types of garments that make up collection.
CS: 2 Jackets, 2 tops, 2 coats, a dress, a skirt, 2 pairs of shorts, and a pair of pants.
UR: What number collection is this for you?
CS: This is my second collection.
UR: What’s in the future for Clio Sage?
CS: Right now I’m not entirely sure. I was going to try to take some time off from making to just get some space from the pressure and get re-inspired, but it’s been really hard for me to not have at least some kind of project in the works. I had the idea that when the show wrapped I would have so much time to have fun and do nothing but my body and brain haven’t really been allowing that, so I’m already in the process of concepting out the next collection and starting to do some material and fabrication tests to see if what I’m envisioning is possible. I think this time around I want to go back to the joy of just creating through experimentation and not get so caught up in what it all “means”, though I definitely have a base idea for the theme throughout the next pieces.
So I guess to some extent I’m already beginning preparations for Spring // Summer ’18 and recently got contacted about a cool event I can show my work at this summer so I really want to focus on that and make one really great piece. But I’m definitely not trying to rush into anything so that I can take the time to refocus on my job, try to gather as much fabrication knowledge as I can from it, spend more time with my people, and most excitingly I picked up a small teaching position at Pratt’s Pre-College program this summer so I’m pretty stoked to be making a move into the education realm. But I think what I’ve realized is that making things is so embedded in what I need for my general psychological balance, sense of self worth and personal satisfaction (a dangerous combination for sure), so taking a break from it doesn’t really do anything but make me more anxious to jump back into it again.
UR: What was your inspiration for this collection? Was there any special meaning behind creating this collection and its various looks?
CS: It’s funny because now almost a month later the initial conception process for FUSIONS not only feels so long ago but also like it came from a totally different version of myself that was in the throes of feeling seasonally down, overwhelmed by the political state of the country, and grappling with family issues regarding mental health. So when I got asked to do a collection for NYFW, I immediately used all of that for my source material as well as a lot of thinking I’d been doing about the importance of empathy and the suppression of allowing messy internal feelings surface and be taken into serious consideration both personally and interpersonally. I think with everything going on, there was this inherent desire to just break something in the hopes that it would make everything better, so this collection became a narrative of breaking down the external structure and letting the amorphous and confusing internal state pour out and fuse with the stability of the external to create something new. At the end of the day I think the core of almost all conflict comes from inability to identify painful feelings because they haven’t been truly considered and instead just projected in a more “acceptable” form such as anger, so I wanted my pieces to create a story of how allowing to breathe and be seen can make something beautiful.
UR: What is the meaning behind the collection’s name?
CS: FUSIONS came from this idea of fusing the internal state with what’s projected publicly instead of keeping them clearly separated, and is also the chemical term for when a liquid becomes a solid which refers back to my interpretation of the internal as amorphous and liquid and the external as solid.
UR: What was your vision for this season’s collection?
CS: When I started I really wanted to focus on questions about mental health and the stigma of mental “illnesses” that are so prevalent in just being human that it seems inappropriate to label them as sickness. Unfortunately, when I tried to crowd source experiences with these mental conditions and feelings I didn’t really get enough feedback to do something that really could identify larger trends in how we can give these experiences physical qualities, so I abandoned that and decided to give one more generalized storyline of breaking down and building something new which could be applied to a variety of experiences at different scales. And in thinking about the universality of these experiences I decided that I wanted to attempt to do a street wear collection that would be much more easily wearable than my previous work which all was kind of made with the idea that they would be worn for specific occasions. So when it came to design I incorporated a lot of traditional fabric (wool) rather than vinyl and incorporated fabric elements such as hoods and sleeves not just to make them more readily wearable on a more regular basis, but to enforce this kind of future metropolis vibe where the emotional state is communicated through clothing. I think for the most part, and I’m definitely someone who’s done this, clothes are used as a way to conceal that someone’s not feeling good, or as a superficial way to feel better about yourself by looking a certain way. So I really liked this idea of very publically acknowledging feeling broken or confused or empowered through your pain and making it just the new standard for everyday wear. I also am just a huge sucked for sci-fi so I always push towards a more futuristic energy and an idea of what this future world looks like on a larger scale that would inform apparel being approached this way.
UR: What message did you wish to convey through this collection?
CS: I think it all goes back to empathy, that in being human who overtime becomes increasingly aware of the world and increasingly aware of yourself through experience and self reflection, how can we not to some extent be terrified or confused or depressed? In allowing ourselves to feel and fully consider and identify these things rather than try to ignore or conceal or suppress them, we become part of this larger connective network of empathy, even if our experiences aren’t exactly the same. I think I also am at an age now where for almost everyone I know there’s been that moment of traumatic event in some kind of caliber, that makes you look at your life and go yesterday was one way and now after this everything will be irreparably different, whether that’s a realization through experiencing death or heartbreak or another form of loss or change. Being able to talk about this experience, of being afraid of that shift, of not knowing if the me that comes out of it will be a me that I like or who will be able to handle it, was a really amazing thing that came out of so much that felt so bleak, so I really wanted to highlight the fact that no matter who you are you have felt these things to some extent and sharing them is absolutely opposite to showing weakness.
UR: What was the mental process when conceiving and creating this collection?
CS: So there’s the more romantic conceptual process which I’ve talked about, and then the more technical side of what physically do I want to do, who do I want to work with, how many looks and pieces do I need to tell this story etc. For me, the concept came easy because it was so raw at the time and it was the execution where I struggled, especially when I started feeling pressure to do the concept justice in its realization. To some extent I needed to do this collection for myself, to get these things I’d been thinking about so much out of my system as a therapeutic gesture. But now that it’s out I’m feeling much more excited to now go back to just playing with my work, approaching it with an open ended question of “this is a cool thing I thought of in my head is there some way I can make it physically possible?” I think for me, that approach leads to much more exciting work and to some extent I want to leave the heavy handedness of the psychological roots behind FUSIONS and move into my new collection with I’m (tentatively) calling PRESERVATIONS and will go back into design from a place of lightness and play and just getting that moment of purely selfish satisfaction that I was entirely independently able to figure out how to do something new and seemingly unreasonable.
UR: How many hours did it take to create this collection? (On average).
CS: Between the inspiration, conception, planning, fabricating, and finishing I really have no idea. But essentially it came down to two months of work, keeping in mind that everything aside from the laser cutting had to happen outside of my full time job. In addition to the time that the pieces got painted by the artist I was collaborating with.
UR: What types of materials made up this collection?
CS: Like my first collection, TESSELLATIONS, this collection used plexi glass for all the tops except this time they were first painted by artist Giovanni Dulay. The bottom half garments were all laser cut wool and then there was some wool and leather incorporated into a couple of the tops.
UR: On average, how long does it take to make a single garment in your collection?
CS: When I think about the time each piece will take I have to break it down into 3 parts. To start there’s the laser cutting time to just accumulate the necessary amount of pieces, which can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the material and how it reacts to the laser (can it be cut in a single strong pass vs. several lower power passes). After that I move into building up the textile as a rough pattern, and that usually takes somewhere around 16 hours but also depends a lot on what I’m making, the size of the pieces, the number of connections the shapes inform, etc. And then after I assemble the general idea of the piece I go into troubleshooting the fit and comfortability of the piece, figuring out what I need to open up or cut out to make it as wearable as possible, and handle any material behaviors I didn’t forsee. For a more basic piece I can usually knock it out in 2 to 3 days, while for more complicated ones it can take closer to a week.
UR: Where can we purchase garments from your collection?
CS: As of right now I have a very-not-up-to-date shop on my website, but inquiries about specific pieces via email are welcome!
This is the third interview we have conducted with Clio Sage, the second for ULTIMATE REPORT. Her design aesthetic is so unique and refreshing. These are the designs one sees in dreams and she so brilliantly brings to life through textiles and other cleverly engineered materials. We here at UR cannot wait to see where this designer places and what her next moves will be. Clio, we wish you the very best moving forward.
Catch up with Clio Sage online:
Instagram: @cliosage or https://www.instagram.com/cliosage/
Have a beautiful and successful week!
SOURCE: Images-CLIO SAGE. Interview with CLIO SAGE conducted by Mary Winkenwerder.
[RUNWAY BRILLIANCE] CLIO SAGE AW2017-2018 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW