Sunday, May 29, 2011

'I'm Basically a Cyborg'

So yesterday was the highly anticipated (by moi!) interview with Carri Munden of Cassette Playa at NAiM / Bureau Europa in Maastricht. The interview was part of the exhibition Out of Fashion, talking about the interplay between fashion and film. For those of you who know Cassette Playa a tiny bit, you probably know she is a master when it comes to the use of virtual reality, graphics and digital technology in her work. She actually describes herself as a cyborg, being online and connected 24/7!

Cassette Playa on The Creators Project

Carri admits she never really liked fashion, but what attracted her to this industry is personal style. I like that, because I feel the same way. Fashion is so fast-paced that sometimes it feels pointless and sad to discard of the styles you feel connected to and that define you, just because they happen to be passé. I for one don't really let fashion trends rule over my style, it's always a hodgepodge of the favorite items I've almost worn out, styled depending on the mood I have that day.

Me in my favorite Sixties meets Street style

Cassette Playa's designs always revolve around a theme, a narrative, including characters and all. It's not unusual to find different gangs taking it up against each other in her design collections. Carri clarifies that in her work she is inspired by elements beyond fashion, and that in her designs there's a strong tendency towards film, art and music. She describes her work as Future Primitism, which is the embrace of technology without losing sight of ancient science. It actually makes sense then that her top-3 fav movies are Star Wars, The Warriors, and Susperia. She explains that her motivation is to make the real world more virtual, more funny. Well, you have my blessing for that!

Cassette Playa Installation for Nike Sportswear London in Selfridge's, 2008 

Carri's passion for animation, film, and narratives in her designs stems from the lack of proper funds at the kick-off of her carreer. If you can't afford making professional films, you do it yourself! Cassette Playa was actually the first to make use of augmented reality during one of her shows in 2010 (see video). What initially looks like a regular runway show, is actually a virtual reality performance in real-time, where models are zoomed-in or projected (don't know what the right tech-word is for this) into a virtual reality, adding different layers to the clothing, creating a reality beyond what is actually real. Check out the video for the real experience!

Cassette Playa AW1011 - Augmenten Reality (courtesy to Amazing Grace on Vimeo) 

Often being labeled Prophet of Futurism Carri has a few words to say about the developments in the fashion industry, one of them being that fashion shows will become irrelevant in the (near) future. Due to the internet fashion has become more and more within reach of us mortals, and we yearn for a real-time fashion experience! Fashion film will be a means to reach the greater public and interactivity is the result. You can already see the balance of power moving from fashion brands towards fashion practitioners - big shot fashion labels are working alongside bloggers and street photographers, both as inspiration as well as to create word of mouth.

So, what's next? Perhaps a virtual fashion show in real-time, where an online connection is your frontrow ticket, with the possibiliy to place your orders right away!!! Aaah, can't wait...