Last August, Brit Shaked graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology's prestigious MFA program, a momentous occasion for any young designer. But with COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Shaked wasn't able to hold a fashion show or present her thesis collection in a big way.
Without any budget to even do a proper photo shoot, Shaked reached out to various artists and creatives on Instagram, all of whom lent their time and efforts to help her realize her vision and produce the video and images you see in this story.
"There were a lot of people that believed in my collection and supported the production of it to create those amazing looks," Shaked tells PAPER. "It was really inspiring and I hope that someday I can do it for somebody else. Because as a student, it's not easy to have a production like that. Nobody supports you. So for me to be able to find those people, that that's what fashion is about, collaborations with each other."
It's not difficult to see why so many people believed in Shaked's talent— her work is anything but conventional. At first glance, her clothes exude a psychedelic world of trippy prints and colors. But upon deeper inspection, a technological feat of voice-adaptive movements and personalization is ingrained in every aspect of the collection.
"For me, the future is a garment that I can control like any other device, like your phone," Shaked tells PAPER. "I can buy it from the store and then put my finger on it and tell the garment how I want it to be and the garment will listen to me and adapt to my needs."
Shaked grew up in Israel and studied textile design at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design before moving to the New York and working for several "mass-produced" retail and fashion companies. The lack of personalization at these brands was what propelled to her to pursue something where the wearer can put on something truly unique.
Her work and design approach caught the attention of threeASFOUR soon after FIT, where she currently does everything from pattern grading to laser-cutting and printing. She also owns her own startup company in Israel that deals with technology solutions for textiles, such as the creation of robotics that do handmade embroidery.
For her debut collection, all of the prints used were created from the shape of Shaked's voice and represent words, sentences and emotions. She also capture her sound waves and translated them into patterns and draping techniques. Her laser cuts enabled hard materials like recycled polypropylene sheets that hold all the technology together to be bent and manipulated.
If the complexities of Shaked's use of technology to create truly personalized garments might seem a bit much to some, the designer makes another cell phone analogy to dismiss such concerns. People always ask me, Do you not care if you put technology on your body?' And I always say, Come on, we put our phone in our pocket 99% of the day. It's basically the same."
In regards to the unisex collection, Shaked set out to go far from the body and create new silhouettes. "For me, personalizing the garment means that you get something that is a blank page, and you can design it to fit anybody," she says. "There was a lot of technology involved in the prints, in the construction of the garment, in the laser cut, everything was very unique to the process, because they basically did something that nobody did before. So I needed to create a lot of solutions for problems that I created myself."
Unlike most designers fresh out of school keen on establishing their own ready-to-wear label, Shaked hopes to bring her unique ideas to more production solutions. "I'm a designer and yes, I have my own aesthetic, but what if I can bring this solution to every company?" she says. "I think the easiest thing is to go open my own brand and start selling garments, but why not influence the fashion industry even more?"
Indeed, rather than simply make a beautiful garment for one customer, Shaked is much more interested in changing the way the industry thinks and bring that approach to manufacturers, which she sees as an additional value she brings as a designer. "I do want to sell my garments, but I also have the side of me that is so technology driven to push the industry to be more smart."
Photography: Virginia Kluiters
Styling: Melissa Lynn
Videography: Drew Botcherby
Video Editing: Kelsey Rath
Hair: Luigi Trejo
Makeup: Tamara Ash
Jewelry: Enbar Shetrit
Set Design: Niki Pietruszko