If they would ever do a sequel to the cinematic adaptation of Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin's British cult-comic-strip Tank Girl and they ever needed a less demure and more futuristic attire for Jet Girl, they wouldn't have to look further than JC Munoz's first collection.
Born in California, the young designer was among the 39 students who showcased in May their collections at the annual Graduation Fashion Show of the Academy of Art University's School of Fashion in San Francisco.
The recipient of several awards in the 2015 Royal Society of the Arts competition (the Pointcarre Design Software, License and Support Award for Textile Design, the Sustainable Design Practices and the Founder's Portfolio Awards), Munoz's collection was inspired by aviation.
Rather than looking at pioneering female aviators as other fashion designers so far did, Munoz turned to engineering: by focusing on the fluidity of fighter jets, he came up with aerodynamic sporty shapes evoking the silhouettes of the F-16 and B-2 fighter jets. These deadly bombers have one thing in common - they are multi-role fighters, capable of attacking other planes and ground forces as well. So, in a way, Munoz may have been hinting at empowering modern women who seem to be constantly multi-tasking and juggling different roles in their lives. The designer himself actually attempted to play multiple roles: Munoz designed and made his own textiles and materials, piecing together for some of his looks over 300 felt stripes.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
JC Munoz: I was born in Salinas, California and grew up in Austin, Texas. I had a sport-driven upbringing as a kid and was mainly focused on sports, starting to play baseball at the age of 5 and receiving a scholarship for baseball in Houston. I played two years of college ball, but then decided to pursue a career that would allow me to express my creativity and allow others to enjoy it with me. I therefore moved to San Francisco to begin my studies as a designer. I had no experience in sewing or drawing, so I was terrified coming to the academy with no knowledge in construction. I didn't even think I would be showing a collection my senior year!
How did you feel at showcasing your collection at the Academy of the Arts fashion show?
JC Munoz: The feeling is unexplainable. It was a mixture of nervousness, anticipation and adrenaline all into one.
How did the creative process work for you for what regards this collection, did you first develop a story in your mind for example and then you transferred it on the fabric?
JC Munoz: I began researching an inspiration I wanted to follow. I've always had a obsession with airplanes and with the fact that their design can determine speed, beauty, and function. From there it all went into researching different types of planes, how they are identified, their names, materials used to make them and so on. As that process began to develop, so did the research in fabric. I wanted to use unconventional fabric that could hold its weight but yet have beauty to it.
Which was the most difficult aspect of developing your collection?
JC Munoz: Figuring out finishes for my garments - it was all trial and error to figure out what looked best aesthetically and functionally.
Can you tell us more about your main inspiration for this collection, aviation? In which ways did you interpret and integrate the curves of fighter jets into your designs?
JC Munoz: As you can see all my garments are covered in prints. I have an exceptional passion for prints and the impact they have on a simple shape. I wanted to not only integrate the design aspect but also the print aspect. Fighter jets are all determined by the number tagged on them, so that's where all my numbers came from. The linear prints are all inspired by the shapes of each individual piece of metal used to construct a plane. As for my silhouettes, the strips all came from the internal design of specific planes. I also wanted to include simple smooth shapes that capture that same feeling of aerodynamics.
Do disciplines such as art, architecture, engineering, technology or science usually inform the construction of your pieces?
JC Munoz: The motto "The more you know, the better the show" makes sense in the design aspect of construction. The more you know about architecture, engineering or technology, the greater your creativity expands as well as the construction of your pieces.
How was it developing your own textiles? Did you find it exciting but time consuming or challenging? Would you do it again?
JC Munoz: I would have to say that was the most work I have ever done in my entire life. Would I ever do it again? NO! Was it exciting? Yes, but having to balance design, construction and textiles was the most challenging and insane decision I've ever made!
What's the most important thing you learnt from your years at AAU?
JC Munoz: To find yourself as a designer and pursue what you love.
In your opinion, where is the real "future of fashion": in the techniques linked to printing (think about digital printing...), in specific materials (smart textiles/3D printing, etc.) or will genuine innovations come from new solutions in tailoring?
JC Munoz: The future of fashion is in sustainability and technology. Hopefully in a couple of years' time we designers will be able to create clothes that don't affect our environment, but instead help it. Technology will also play a large role because we need new fabrics and concepts and innovative dyes to help create a better world.
What plans do you have for the immediate future?
JC Munoz: My present plan is finding a mentor and learn the ropes from top to bottom to later open up my own brand and influence others to create art that impacts our community.
All images in this post courtesy AAU.
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