Interview: Jean-Pierre Braganza

One to keep on your radar.

London born, Canadian raised designer Jean-Pierre Braganza is known for his “modern tailoring, structured silhouettes and complex prints,” however after this years London Fashion Festival, we are certain he will be renowned for his technological advance in the fashion industry.

As this years River Island Design Forum winner, Braganza has had the chance to bring the relationship with technology and fashion to the forefront of the industry.  His line for river island combines fashion with a film and 3D mobile application that will allow the users to experience his work in an entirely new way, and reflecting the line’s staple print of the “techno-organic.” For this reason (and many others), we were very excited to get the chance to hear from Braganza and get an insight into his newest collaboration.

How did you get involved with the River Island design forum?

The RI team approached me I thought it would be a brilliant way to do a line for a slightly younger woman, and explore things like denim, which I haven’t given enough attention to yet. It also gave me the chance to see my vision expressed in an incredibly innovative short film.

What was the process involved in the collaboration with River Island? Was there anything you learned from this partnership?

I definitely learned about what it’s like to work with a much larger team, and what that means in terms of deadlines and organization! But also about how much potential there is in the high street market, they have so many production relationships already set up, that was a bit of a luxury for a smaller operation like mine.

What are the key elements you consider when coming up with a new line?

With every new season the key things that I consider are all related to the zeitgeist, for lack of a better term. I am completely allergic to trend forecasting and must find some spark of uniqueness and freshness in ideation before I can start a new line. It might be as simple as a twist on an old detail, or as complex as a completely untried cutting idea. But originality is my motivation.

Your River Island collection was inspired by a trip you took to India. Do you think travel is important for the creative mind? How do those experiences shape your design process?

Travel and seeing new things is absolutely important, unfortunately finding the time for this is more and more difficult. The internet compensates for the lack of actual travel, we’re very lucky that we have this portal to other places at our fingertips.

Do you have any pieces that stand out as your favourite in this line?

I always love the jumpsuits. As they are a kind of key piece for my label, it’s great to have a version that is still amazing but with a more accessible price point. There is a super soft acid wash version, and a silk satin version with a complex techno-organic print.

The collection is being launched in a very exciting way, at London Fashion Week with a short film and also an application. Are you looking forwards to this? Do you think it will influence the way people view the collection?

Sure, I’m very excited to see our end result on the big screen. I think the film captures the essence of the collection in a cool and interesting way. Hopefully when people see it they will be intrigued and want to learn more about the collection and take a piece home.

The inclusion of the application and the Google cardboard glasses is not only an exciting way to get people more involved with the line, but also seems very reflective of the collection itself, combining the more organic nature of clothing with new and modern technology, (alike your kingfisher and motorcycle print). What sort of influence do you think the digital movement will have on fashion and design into the future?

We are already seeing a lot of innovation in the last few years around wearables such as fitness trackers, smart watches etc. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of a new connection between fashion and tech innovation. The key to this combined success will be in how designers find interesting and user-centred ways to integrate technology that enhances the clothing. I hope that tech companies realize this and instigate more meaningful collaborations with designers.

What role do you think technology will play on your designs going forward? Has this experience changed it?

Technology is always playing a part in the collection. As we move forward new technologies will provide interesting fabric choices, allow me to come up with new styles and shapes and maybe integrate new and interesting technology into pieces themselves. Finding the time to explore the possibilities is the challenge.

Were you able to get involved or have any influence with the film and app making process?

I worked very closely on the film to ensure the vision in my head was realized. As always, I was especially involved in the development of the soundtrack, which was by my frequent collaborator Auphelion. I’m very happy with the end result and can’t wait to see it with the full 3D effect.

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