It is our absolute pleasure to feature dexterous Aussie innovator Nehma Vitols, an incredible emerging fashion practitioner, image maker and textile artist; who uses technologies to create amazing tangible artefacts. So far Nehma has moved to London, exhibited, showcased, been sponsored, been selected, been shortlisted, finished with Honours at the University of Technology in Sydney and has a hefty bunch of awards under her belt. We think it’s pretty safe to say – the only way is up for this hi-tech handicrafter. So proud!
NEXT GEN DESIGNER / Nehma Vitols
Do you have a personal style philosophy?
Not really – I’d say I have changed my look that many times, so it’d be inconsistently inconsistent. In general, beauty in imperfection, and there is a joy in the transient.
If you could live in any era, what would you choose, fashion-wise?
Right now. The fashion industry is being held accountable for its deadly environmental, ethical and social impacts. We’re edging towards a tipping point of inevitable change. Exciting stuff! Simultaneously, as a designer, there is freedom to draw from the past and create something loaded with meaning, or make bold references and create something obnoxiously ignorant devoid of all meaning and you are able to share it, in a moment, on a global stage.
Why is it important to understand the past when creating original and ‘new’ designs?
Relevant design is rooted in context and context comes from our past, present and future. Why re-invent the wheel when great things already exist? Take something and make it better.
As an artist, who are some of your most important creative influences?
Those who are around me, or apart of the project directly or indirectly in some way. Close relationships become my muse. Conversation and chit-chat is key to my creative process. Many of my design discoveries arise through conversation. And the way music artists talk about their creative process, right now – I am obsessed with listening to Dave Le’aupepe from Gang of Youths and Maggie Rogers talk about their work.
Favourite textile and why?
I am a materially driven designer. The textile I use becomes a material exploration and so I do not have a favourite textile per-say, as every textile is a potential new project.
Talk to us about all of these awards you’ve been winning lately… It seems you are definitely one to watch out for!
Aw, thank you! It’s nice to be recognised for doing something I love. Moreover, through these competitions I have met so many great like-minded passionate people.
We love sharing design students journeys! How has our sponsorship helped you at this stage of your career?
My sponsorship gave me encouragement, momentum and guidance and determined in my specialism and direction. Having been selected for the sponsorship based on my process work, I knew my collection would be print focused. I have no idea what I would have created had I not received the sponsorship!
We’d love to know three amazing things you’ve learned whilst studying, that you’ll keep in your pocket forever?
1. Anything is possible. One of the coolest things about being creative is the ability to create something you don’t know how and is yet to exist. An awesome thing about studying something creative is that there are other people invested in you too, and pushing you to create that thing you didn’t even know you had it in you to make!
2. Deadlines are essential and time is purely a design constraint not a limitation. Give yourself more time, and you’ll use all the time. Be accountable to deadlines. And just start. Conceptualise in tandem with making.
3. Play the cards you’ve been dealt. Design is a process. The outcome isn’t always predictable and it’s often in the mistakes, or through the process that something amazing occurs. So learning to let go and see what happens and what you’re working with makes the process both exciting and unpredictable.
What can we expect to see next from you and your designs? Also, what are your post-graduation plans?
I am a self-proclaimed hi-tech handcrafter. In my honours project I used Think Positive’s leading direct to fabric digital printing combined with laser-cutting and bonding. I used technologies to create tangible artefacts and that is what you should expect to see me to do more of! This year, in collaboration with Creative Technologist Mark Mitchell and Visual Designer Andy Lee, we created and presented at Electrofringe VR experiment with fabric, the interactive hanging artwork was printed by Think Positive. I also teamed up with Think Positive again to print a limited exclusive collection of artworks from my honours collection that can be hung on the wall or worn as scarves for private sales. Get in touch if you want one!
I am also now currently in London, seeking out fashion / art / design / tech opportunities. Wish me luck!