Lauren-Elise Trend is one young designer we are going to keep our eyes on. The RMIT honours student has had a pretty impressive year, showcasing her graduate collection at MSFW and winning Forever New’s inaugural study scholarship.
We had a chat to Lauren to find out a little more about her style, designs and influences.
How did you develop your design style?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a particular design style. As far as I’m concerned, with each project I’ve worked on I’ve been looking at different things. So the selection of materials and aesthetic choices really depend on what the project is concerned with. I’d say I’ve developed my own design approach, as opposed to a style or aesthetic.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your grad collection.
At present my practice project is concerned with critiquing and commenting on conventional fashion making and methodologies. It began with an interest in the stages of the design process and symbolising what these stages might be within the garments themselves. Each garment is an iteration of the next. I became fascinated with the repetition in fashion collections and the copy-paste mentality that’s so prevalent in contemporary fashion. I also became really intrigued by the act of flattening garments and restricting and refining their construction as far as possible. Within the series there’s very much this oscillation between the real and the flat.
Talk us through the Cut + Paste editorial with Tasha Tylee.
Tash was grappling with similar concepts for her graduate folio. She’s worked on a series of shoots that take her images beyond their developed or digital state. She literally manipulates and edits analogue prints of her photographs by hand, adding another layer and dimension to the flat image. This approach to fashion photography really, really excites me.
Who is your style icon?
I don’t really dress like anyone, but I obsess over Kristen Stewart, Chloë Sevigny, Jane Birkin.
A designer who you aspire to be like?
I think Phoebe Philo epitomises exactly the type of woman I hope to be, designer or not. She’s intellectual and means what she says. She has such commitment to her work, yet her family comes first.
What is the best thing about studying in Melbourne?
I’m so blown away by the community of young artists and designers who are supporting one another at the moment. There have been such exciting projects and presentations that have brought so many people together. I just feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a group of people that constantly support one another’s creative practice. It’s a really collaborative approach and it’s generating such great work.
What do you plan to do once you complete your Honours?
I think it’s imperative to just keep creating and working alongside my peers. There’s a few more collective projects lined up which I’m really excited to get stuck into. Just because there’s no more classes or studio briefs doesn’t mean it all needs to stop.
What advice would you give to someone looking to undertake a fashion degree at uni?
I can only really speak in relation to my experience at RMIT, but it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. An enormous amount of dedication is needed, both time and energy-wise. The people you study with become the only people you see. I think it’s imperative to note too, that a degree in fashion is no longer solely concerned with designing pretty dresses. RMIT is an interdisciplinary institution and there are opportunities to explore fashion that extend far beyond making clothes. Classes explore film, curation, performance, CAD as well as fundamental technical skills. In saying that, it is an academic program and there’s a level of criticality, conceptualism and innovation that is valued and expected from students.