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Graduate designer Kritikon Khamsawat is reimagining the space between our clothes and our bodies

Words by Gabrielle O’Hagan

Into the void.

When we think about clothes, we think about their style, colour, fit and fabric. A garment either complements your body perfectly, or it doesn’t – or that’s probably what you’ve always thought. But emerging Melbourne-based designer Kritikon Khamsawat is taking a different perspective.

The young RMIT graduate has reimagined the relationship between our bodies and our clothes. Using AI-generated images and digital technologies, Kritikon’s graduate collection Ma Void emphasises the space between our internal and external realities, both real and imagined.


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The bold, contrasting colours and cuts featured in their collection are evocative and otherworldly, blurring the line between performance and reality. At their core, Kritikon’s designs are an innovative and perceptive take on the contemporary fashion industry, and how it has evolved and changed over the last few years. Their collection earned them a spot among the top 10 designers at the 2022 National Graduate Showcase at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Fashion Journal is excited to once again be supporting the National Graduate Showcase, presented by Samsung Galaxy, to celebrate Australia’s top-ranked emerging talent in fashion. A select number of leading fashion graduates from all over the country will exhibit their visionary collections in a digital presentation, showcasing cutting-edge design and innovation.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling each designer through a series of interviews. Next up is Kritikon.

Hi Kritikon! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Kritikon Khamsawat, [I’m a] young designer, recently graduated from RMIT, base[d] in Naarm (Melbourne).

Tell us about your collection.

This collection, Ma Void, is the understanding of the cross-sections of the design industry… the clothing, interior and the body serve as tools of encasement, [and I’m] distinguishing the space between the dressed body and the performance… leading to a separation of the body and the clothes that it wears.

 

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A post shared by Kritikon Khamsawat (@hauteqatur)

When did you know you wanted to get into fashion and textile design?

I knew when I was around 14 when I was trying to figure out what am I good at/what I want[ed] to do in life. I knew that I wasn’t good at any academic stuff… then I got into sewing and realised that I wasn’t that bad at designing, and it’s the only thing I could do and I’ve stuck to it since.

What were the major points of inspiration for your collection, and you more broadly as a designer?

Embed IG post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVmdb4jFGng/

My starting off reference of [the] Yves Kline [photograph] Leaping Into the Void, expresses the innate and unavoidable engagement between existing space and non-existing space within the body and the world around us. My idea is to take this and play around with existing and non-existing space between body and garment… and how the garment will come in[to] play within different space[s].

 

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A post shared by Kritikon Khamsawat (@hauteqatur)

Tell us about the experience of putting together your graduate collection.

It was quite stressful with the [manufacturing] process – especially within the time of COVID-19, and trying to find fabric samples and trying to create a big garment size at home. It was a big struggle for me, but this also pushe[d] me to be creative with less material.

Your work starts by considering the space between the garment and the body. Can you tell us a bit about that and why it’s important?

Well, within the fashion world during COVID-19 and lockdown, the way different designer[s] choose to present fashion has change[d] from runway to film, or to something completely different from fashion.

Within my concept, it’s not only about [the] space between the garment and body but also… the space that the garment is performed in. And within the time of COVID-19 last year, I’ve play[ed] around with the [use] of garments and how [this] can change within the digital space. Either enhancing it or [changing it] into something completely new.

 

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A post shared by Kritikon Khamsawat (@hauteqatur)

How does this come to life in your designs? Talk us through an example, using one of your garments.

My garment comes to life not only through how the body move[s]… but through prints, using negative space, the fabrics’ colour… [I] play[ed] around with how the garments [would] perform within a digital space using green/blue screen. And [I used] AI-generated images of negative space to fill in the space of the garments, changing it and enhancing the garment into something new within the digital space.

What part does sustainability play in your design practice? And other ethical considerations?

Most of my garments are [made from one piece of fabric] as it is draped [over] the body. And the garment is only used for gallery spaces and performance purposes only.

 

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A post shared by Kritikon Khamsawat (@hauteqatur)

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now?

Any young, starting-off, new designers [who have] started to get recognised for their amazing work and how they are pushing the boundar[ies] of fashion within Australia.

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?

Less ready-to-wear… bigger ideas and concepts.

Dream Australian collaborators?

I would like to collaborate with any of the young [cohort] of new designer[s] honestly. As we know we want to create something more than just fashion.

 

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A post shared by Kritikon Khamsawat (@hauteqatur)

What’s next for you?

Embed IG post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWCX4Nuh4S6/

I’m focusing on bags and shoes at the moment as there isn’t much on the market here within [the] Australia[n] fashion industry and [I] would like to break into that for now, but other than that [I’m] still also planning my new collection this year!

Some of Kritikon’s responses have been edited for clarity. 

Explore the PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival runway program here.

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