Material innovation – and, indeed, the landscape of traditional fashion fabrics in general – has been a hot topic for numerous designers over the past year. London Fashion Week saw Richard Malone partnering with Freitag, a sustainable innovator that utilises the tarpaulin from lorry sides; elsewhere, Filippa Knutsson of Filippa K launched the development of a ‘short-life’ bio-based concept dress that’s 100% biodegradable. And it’s not just established brands that are getting in on the action...

"I prefer to work with materials that I can use for sculptural purposes," explains Copenhagen-based Kira Massara – a graduate of Central Saint Martins, who showed her final collection as part of the college’s Spring/Summer 2019 BA showcase. "There is a certain serenity to the practice of clay that I appreciate and that is echoed in my choice of colours, shapes and silhouettes." 

A compelling voice for the slow fashion philosophy – and a recipient of the Kering Sustainability Team Project Award – Kira’s disruptive use of clay and porcelain was, in part, a tribute to her ceramicist mother, from whom she learned the craft.

Keen to learn the full inspiration behind her standout graduate collection – and to uncover the inside track on what 2019 holds for the bright spark designer – we spoke to Kira to find out more...

Circles were a recurring motif throughout your SS19 collection.
This came from months of researching artists who have worked with sculptures in stone and ceramics. During this research, I remembered a visit I’d had at the Noguchi Museum in New York; Isamu Noguchi's work has always had a strong influence on me, and his ability to carve stone into soft and polished circular shapes was my starting point for the collection.

Why, for you, was porcelain the perfect medium to translate this initial idea?
I love the transition of raw earthy clay into glazed and shiny sculptural works. The sound of the pieces in movement is remarkable; I honestly didn't expect it to be so powerful. The alarming noise of 20kg ceramic fragments on a model walking down a runway was like listening to a chandelier in strong winds. I enjoyed that contrast between the poetic-ness of the porcelain, and the unease that was caused by the sound of fracturing. 

As a recent graduate, what do you think the main challenges are for young designers right now?
There’s the obvious problem that most newly graduated designers are forced to intern for long periods at large corporations and leading resourceful companies – all while having enormous student loans from many years of education. This results in many talented individuals leaving the industry to find other career paths. It’s an unsustainable culture that could be changed if the more resourceful companies took a responsible and inclusive approach to invest in new generations of designers. 

What does 2019 hold for you?
I’m looking forwards to going back to New York, where I’ll be working freelance for Marc Jacobs later this month. I have a soft spot for NYC, and I hope this coming year will generate more opportunities to spend time there. 

Shop the Styling

Kiana wears porcelain dress by Kira Massara; earring by WALD Berlin; velvet body by BaseRange; sandals by Malone Souliers.

Starring: Kiana Cummings @ Lindenstaub
DoP: Beatrix Blaise
Styling: Abigail Gurney-Read
Makeup: Rachel Singer-Clark
Hair: Declan Sheils

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