For the third collection since her debut in 2013, Chelsea Bravo looks to Japan for influence, taking inspiration from book Wabi Sabi written by Andrew Juniper for her AW15 collection. She is known for leading modern menswear in a new direction, focusing on innovative fabrics and experimental shapes. As a designer she is still a fresh face, but her creations boast a craft with heaps of experience. She constructs clothes for experimenter and the curious creative; Chelsea Bravo is a brand for those who are looking for a bit of balance, and for those who prefer to go against the grain. With the full collection set to be released later this year, we chat to Chelsea about the collection and what to expect, and she offers a little preview.
Describe the story behind the AW15 collection.
About two years ago I bought a book called Wabi Sabi- The Japanese Art Of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper. I have been very interested in Japanese aesthetics and way of thinking for some time, and I wanted to gain a greater understanding of their philosophy. I revisited the book last summer, as I never finished reading it, and everything really sunk in this time around. I understood the concept of Wabi Sabi much better than I did the previous year. I related to it and fell in love with the aesthetics that came out of the concept. Wabi Sabi speaks about appreciating the natural decaying of artefacts and materials; not trying to stop the process or mask it, but appreciating flaws and the natural flow of life and nature.
It is titled ‘Wabi’ (In Search Of). How do you represent this through the designs?
This collection was about learning to appreciate subtle details. This can be seen and felt through the textures of the fabrics used; such as organic brushed cotton and wool, cut out features seen in shirts and jackets, layering and the felt appliqué details, which were inspired by contemporary artist Christian Rosa. Each piece in the collection speaks softly and translates into a sombre and contemplative mood, the simplicity, a pure expression, authenticity, appreciating things as they are and not what they are being constructed to be.
How has it evolved since last season?
This season I focused more on the mood being expressed. Wabi is more introverted whilst Concourse was more extroverted, immediately capturing your attention. Wabi is a lot more subtle, requiring you to really look closer, because at first glance it doesn’t appear to be saying much, but it is – just very quietly.
Describe the collection in three words.
Sombre. Melancholy. Soft.
Tell us about the challenges you faced creating this collection.
Time! I was visiting family overseas, slap bang in the middle of everything, and then we had the Christmas period. I was sewing on buttons on Christmas Day!
What are you in search of?
Pure unrestricted expression.
Photography by Christina Ebenezer.