Fashion designer Valeska Jasso Collado, a recent graduate from Westminster University, used unusual combinations of metal, latex and foam to create her final collection of adventurous garments inspired by the 1980’s Memphis style furniture.
We have caught up with Valeska to tell us a little bit more about her experiences at University, love of unusual materials and her new dream job in Paris.
Volt Café: How would you describe your work aesthetic?
Valeska Jasso Collado: Colourful, fun and graphic.
VC: Was fashion your first artistic pathway?
VJC: Yes, I’ve wanted to do fashion for years. When I was at school I would sell painted and altered T-shirts to people and I’ve always been making clothes for myself. I first tried to study fashion in Hamburg, where I am from, but didn’t get into the course two years in a row. I think German fashion schools work very different to the ones in London. During my Foundation course at Saint Martins I considered doing accessories design for a while as I loved using the workshops there to experiment with metal, plaster and wood for example.
VC: During your studies at Westminster University what was the most valuable lesson you have been taught?
VJC: Probably that you have to be very strong about your ideas but also that you need to find the right people to ask for advice. I had a hard time with my tutors because the material development held back the making of my final garments for a long time so I didn’t have anything to show them while other students went on with the making of their collection. I also didn’t agree with a lot of their advice regarding the design development which didn’t impress them considering that I seemed in big trouble with my collection. I had some really talented friends on the course though whose advice I’d seek and probably also will in the future.
VC: In your final collection we can see inspiration from the Memphis style furniture and interiors, what was is about that style that inspired you to base a collection on it?
VJC: I like the graphicness and how colourful it is but I especially love its strange look. The material combinations are so random and other than those you see in current furniture design; it didn’t seem to aim for an intelligent design, it seems just very playful, which I love.
VC: What would you say is the main influence in your work?
VJC: Everything influences my work. The art I look at, the city I am in, the people I see. When I was living in India, for example, I would think of other ideas than I do now I guess. The other students influenced my work at lot at University because there are just so many ideas around even from courses other than fashion. I think I will miss that creative environment a lot.
VC: We loved the innovative use of metal, foam and latex in your work. What was it about these materials in particular that you were drawn to?
VJC: I liked the variety of materials in Memphis style designs and wanted to have that in my collection too. I also looked at David Taylor’s interior designs for inspiration and loved the combination of materials he used. His designs are absolutely amazing with their mix of concrete, glass and metal. I actually started using foam to be able to create the voluminous shapes and I thought of using latex because it reminded me of coloured glass with its shininess. Also its elasticity was perfect for the shapes. I tried out over 50 other materials in combination with the foam before I thought about latex.
VC: Memphis style furniture is considered quite difficult and ‘ugly’, appealing mainly to niche collectors. Yet you’ve used the inspiration to create beautiful and appealing garments. Was this quite challenging?
VJC: I’ve always used slightly ugly or awkward inspiration for my designs. I think it turns out more interesting than if I’d look at something beautiful, however I wasn’t sure at the beginning whether to use it as an inspiration or not as I couldn’t make my mind up whether I loved it or hated it. I then decided to choose a different colour palette that made it work for me. I personally would now love to own some Memphis style furniture.
VC: Is this your first time using atypical materials?
VJC: I’ve included different materials for a few projects in the past, perspex, resin and metal mesh for example. For my collection I had enough time to properly develop a material for the first time. The developing process for the foam-latex was very time consuming and difficult as most ideas I had didn’t work out. My dad helped me for weeks to refine the material and details and to actually make some pieces.
VC: Do you find your personal style has changed or been influenced by the development of your work?
VJC: It definitely has. My final designs of my collection are very different from any of the fictional design projects we used to do throughout at University and I feel like I have only just realized how designing a collection really works.
VC: What are your next steps after University?
VJC: I have been very lucky and been able to start my dream job only four weeks after the graduate show. I sent an email asking for positions at Jacquemus in Paris and got a call back a week later. They told me they had seen my collection online already and really liked it. They offered me a job straight away. I now live in Paris and work for this amazing brand and will try to also work on my own designs on the side as soon as I get my mannequin and sewing machine to Paris.
Words by Danielle Westwood
Images by Marek Puc
TagsDanielle Westwood, Jacquemus, Marek Puc, University of Westminster, Valeska jasso Collado,