Most people through their food-waste away, but that rule does not apply to Scottish fashion designer Lexi Young. Growing up on a desolate island with a popular ion of a mere 160, she has always been forced to think more innovative to achieve her goals and dreams. So that she chose to work with homemade fruit leather should come as no surprise. With her ‘Structured Motion’ collection she mirrors modern architecture in her sculptural designs, following a gender-neutral and sustainable approach. Read on to find out how the Global Young Talent as seen in Harper’s Bazaar June makes her own leather in the comfort of her own kitchen.
Has your upbringing influenced the way you view the design and how you go about your design process?
I definitely feel like growing up on a small Hebridean Island has influenced the way I view the design and my design process. As a child, fashion was a sort of unknown, magical thing because I only ever saw it on TV. Although passionate about it from a young age, I was never exposed to real-life fashion, so I started creating my own by drawing, patterned paper and my mum helped me sew my first dress at 10 years old. Because of how I grew up, I am so easily inspired by my surroundings; nature, architecture, culture.
Your recent collection, “Structured Motion”, consists of contemporary abstract work, what inspired you to design this collection?
I was inspired by modern architecture, specifically the Tianjin Library that is formed like an eye. I thought it was so interesting looking at modern architecture with layers, ripples, and curves, as it looks like it flows naturally, although it is manmade. This is where the name ‘Structured Motion’ came from because it is something robust and solid, that mimics movement and flow. A lot of pleats were featured in this collection, which reflects the idea of manmade motion as I would sew them down to a certain point then see how the fabric organically flows. I made this collection all white and concrete colours to resemble this sleek architecture but also so that your sole focus is on the movement of the fabric, rather than the surface decoration.
Your collection is made mostly from bamboo; do you always consider sustainable options when designing?
I think sustainability is immensely important in the current climate. As a student, it can be so difficult to remain environmentally conscious because sustainable fabrics usually cost more. When finding fabrics for my new collections, I always search for recycled first and there are a lot of results and it is a lot easier to buy recycled fabrics than it used to be. In my collection I am currently designing, I am using homemade fruit leather. I make this using plumbs, blending them, adding food colouring and dehydrating them in the oven. I have been working only in black so far, but I am amazed at the outcome. It looks just like leather with a shiny texture but can be hard to sew in the sewing machine, so I have come up with new attachment methods. I believe this could be developed to a professional standard and produced as a new, sustainable, fabric.
“ When finding fabrics for my new collections, I always search for recycled first and there are a lot of results and it is a lot easier to buy recycled fabrics than it used to be. In my collection I am currently designing, I am using homemade fruit leather. ”
You’ve tailored your designs to be unisex, do you think gender neutral clothing is the way of the future?
I don’t think clothes should ever be made for one gender only. ‘Structured Motion’ is a very abstract collection and I made it unisex because I was considering the garments as futuristic, staple pieces, and to be futuristic, it can’t be labelled a specific gender because I believe the future may not have gender. I think of fashion as an artform, and like gender, there should be no boundaries or labels with art.
When designing, who do you in vision wearing your work?
I believe that once I have left University and had time to explore my design aesthetic without being constricted to a brief I will be able to answer this question more easily. However, at this point, when I think about who I picture wearing my designs, it is young people who appreciate minimalism and androgyny. They are open-minded and advocate for change. They wear what makes them happy and are ready for the future of a new sustainable, technological planet.
“ However, at this point, when I think about who I picture wearing my designs, it is young people who appreciate minimalism and androgyny. They are open-minded and advocate for change.”
Discover Lexi Young's full collection
Words by Lupe Baeyens