For those who live in the darkness but never in the shadows. A spotlight on the UK based brand TheDESCENDED, photographed by Marco Giuliano and styled by Anca Macavei.
Can you share with us some light onto the darkness of “TheDESCENDED”.
When I created TheDESCENDED, I really wanted to marry together my love of luxurious, feminine silhouettes, and fabrics, with my dark/‘alternative’ aesthetics and interests. At risk of sounding a little dramatic I’ve always felt like an outsider, or more of a ‘sideliner’. I was always too ‘fashion’ to fit comfortably into the alt scene and subcultures I related too, but then it also became apparent during my time in university, I was also too dark and ‘doomy’ to really fit in with the fashion scene I found there. So TheDESCENDED was born to [hopefully] cater to those that feel a similar way. We’re all a product of what and who we come from, so the name came from the idea of channeling and being empowered by those that came before you, anyone that inspires the same fierce feminine energy you get when you put on that particular outfit that makes you feel like the most confident, badass version of yourself.
You state you are triggered ”by past lives, movement, and movements”. Can you tell us more about the inspirations behind your brand and collections.
It’s kind of my wordy way of saying I can be inspired by anything. From a particular person or character (I love a good muse!) like the last collection ORTENSIA – inspired by the life of Hortense Mancini, to the Norwegian Black Metal scene/movement that inspired my first collection From the Dark. Sometimes I just hear a song, or feel a fabric and get this almost, vision of a collection or look in my head and that’s enough to get started.
What about your creative process, how do you start working on a collection?
I love reading about designers who ‘never start with a sketch’ or begin by simply taking to dress form and draping all over it it, because it sounds very cool.. but I’m very much a pen to paper kind of person (and not very cool), so I always start with sketching out whatever comes to me as soon as I’m struck with inspiration because I have to get it out and in front of me. It’s then I start diving deeper into whatever the subject of inspiration is, and begin bouncing between that and designing. I normally only take to the stand when I have the first draft of a physical garment to play with.
You opted for a small-batch, make-to-order production method, encouraging a slower, more environmentally respectful approach. How much is sustainability important for you?
It’s incredibly important to me. I believe though, nowadays it’s something that should be ingrained into the core of any business, fashion or otherwise, from the start. The quest for sustainability I think will be never ending, there is always something that can be done differently, better. It’s a constant learning experience, and it can be really overwhelming as theres so much conflicting information out there. I think as long as you are making a conscious effort to be as environmentally respectful as you know how to be, that’s already a great start. Once you’ve nailed one aspect, you can move on to look at how other areas can be improved, which is how I’m trying to approach it.
Which do you think is the future of the fashion industry in the intricate nowadays context?
In light of everything going on right now, it would be impossible to say. I think we’re in the process of tearing it all down, in order to rebuild an industry better suited to our times. There is a massive call to action for the industry as a whole, to do better at pretty much everything. I only hope we can learn from past mistakes, and seize every opportunity we can do improve and do better.
What do you think is a fashion designer’s biggest struggle today?
There is so much out there, small emerging designers can get lost amongst the crowd so easily. We’re in an age of instant gratification and constantly bombarded other peoples success, it can be really hard to keep that determination to keep going. Also just money, there’s never enough.
What’s next for TheDESCENDED?
Hopefully so many things! I’ve begun working on the next collection, and exploring ways to grow and get out there more (I’m the first person to throw their hands up and admit I jumped in head first, when maybe a little more knowledge or experience would have been beneficial). As a young brand, I’m embracing this period of discovery into what TheDESCENDED can become – with each collection at this stage, everything I thought I knew about myself as a designer, and what I wanted to do, evolves. This is only the beginning!
Photography: Marco Giuliano / @marcogiulianoph
Styling & Words: Anca Macavei / @ancamacavei
Creative direction: Inga Lavarini / @ilavarini
Assistants: Isabel Evangelisti, Martina Cambruzzi / @isabelevangelisti @martinacambruzzi
Model: Petra at Women Milan / @larebellev @women_milano
All garments by TheDESCENDED/ @the_descended
Shoes: Buffalo London & Le Dangerouge.