"A tailored jacket is a tailored jacket is a tailored jacket" we may state paraphrasing Gertrude Stein's famous quote "a rose is a rose is a rose". Yet, while things are undoubtedly what they are and apparently can't be changed, at times they can be radically transformed and a traditionally conventional tailored jacket could be reinvented from scratch. How could this be possible? Thanks to modularity, Mason Jung suggests.
Seoul-born but currently based in Germany, tailor, craftsman and menswear designer Mason Jung moved from modularity to create a jacket with a special cloth manufactured by French textile company Dormeuil. The results were displayed last week during the Ideabiella trade show in Milan and they proved quite intriguing.
Modularity consists in breaking something (think about a system or a design piece) in smaller parts; modules can then be used independently or combined together to give new shape to another piece. Modularity offers great flexibility in various industries, often reducing costs and allowing users to update certain parts of a unity in quick and practical ways - think about how the concept has been applied in interior design, architecture, or in the transport or the electronics industries.
Jung's jacket was displayed flat on a panel hung on a wall, as if it were a painting, to reveal visitors its pattern: the piece would look like a perfect man's jacket when donned by a model, but, if you see it flat on a panel, you realise that it is cut out of a single piece of fabric and features detachable elements, that is sleeves and lapels anchored in their places thanks to especially engineered fastenings. The jacket also features magnet-embedded tape closures on the shoulders to allow easy transformation and flexibility.
The advantage of such a piece is that the elements can be removed and neatly stored flat or arranged in a case while travelling without incurring in the risk of creasing the jacket; they can also be cleaned, repaired or replaced individually. In a nutshell, yes, this is a tailored jacket, but its traditional pattern was revolutionised to come up with something uniquely innovative.
While Jung's worked on the tailoring, Dormeuil developed a special fabric for it in a fine wool and cashmere blend that allows wearers to cut the fabric and adjust lengths without hemming the edges. Looks like outlandish and unwearable designs may not be the future of fashion after all, but the next chapter in the history of fashion will probably be told by wearable pieces engineered with cutting-edge techniques and materials and constructed with surprising patterns.
Was this the first time you went to Ideabiella and how did you end up collaborating with Dormeuil?
Mason Jung: Yes, this was my first time at Ideabiella. I had been developing the Modular Jacket for a while. This design requires specific quality fabric and fastenings to make sure the concept works out and I was lucky enough to be introduced to Dormeuil, a French company known for producing the highest quality cloths. They built their reputation as bespoke and classic suit makers, but they are very open-minded and have keen interest in employing their fabrics for creative products. They ended up developing a special melton for my project and we thought it would be a good idea to showcase the results at the tradeshow.
Can you tell us more about the actual inspirations behind the Modular Jacket?
Mason Jung: I wanted to create a new architecture for classic jackets. The Modular Jacket is a deviation from static and rigid conventional clothing to overcome the limitations imposed by those garments and provides functional advantages for modern life while preserving its elegant aesthetics. The three main aspects that I tried to achieve were mobility, interchangeability and customisation. I imagined a jacket that consists of individual components of independent entity, where the parts can be configured in various combinations to create different styles. This also means that each part can be separated and treated individually.
It looks like this pattern also saves material, did you design the jacket with the possibility of eliminating waste in mind?
Mason Jung: The jacket pattern needed to be made with a simple structure with as few cuts as possible so that the jacket can be folded in a minimal form for added mobility. As a result, the pattern happened to be cut economically, though eliminating waste wasn't my main objective for this project. I was mainly focused on improving the longevity of the garment and offering the wearer more flexibility and a reasonable maintenance. One of the main benefits of the modular system is that each part can be individually cleaned, repaired or replaced. So the wearer can avoid treating the whole garment unnecessarily.
Dormeuil developed a special fabric for this jacket, can you tell us more about its main features?
Mason Jung: The fabric is a non-fray woven fine wool and cashmere blend, a material with a good body and structure, that is still soft and smooth enough, so it is pleasant when worn. In a way it stands between dense upholstery fabric and a soft garment cloth, which is very unique. Besides, the non-fray quality allows the wearer to cut and adjust the jacket as required without hemming.
Would you like to develop further projects along these lines with Dormeuil or with other companies as well?
Mason Jung: Yes, I would like to do so as I'm always interested in projects that revolve around the possibility of innovating, exploring and experimenting.