We ask the Sudanese designer what he has up his sleeve for AW16.
You’d be hard pushed to find a designer at London Fashion Week who is as multi-disciplined as Omer Asim. Born and raised in Sudan, he moved to London for university, where he graduated from The Bartlett School of Architecture, before completing a postgraduate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He then trained as a psychoanalyst with the United Nations Development Program, and eventually turned his hand to fashion through a string of internships with the likes of Vivienne Westwood.
Being a man of many a discipline is perhaps what has led to Omer’s unique approach to design: materials are primitive, structure is architectural and gender is nondescript. Given that he believes each collection should be an evolution and progression from the last, our anticipation is understandably ripe for the new collection. Ahead of his AW16 presentation this weekend, we caught up with Omer to quiz him on what to expect from him this season.
To what extent has growing up in Sudan had an influence on your designs? Can we see any of this in the new collection?
For a long time I thought my growing up in Sudan has nothing to do with how I approach my work, but recently I started seeing parallels in my work with what I perhaps absorbed from Sudan: village, desert and primitive elements. You will definitely see these elements in the collection, but you might not recognise some of them.
What were your inspirations behind the new collection?
My collections are an evolution of a work process, there is no theme or a new inspiration for each collection. The new collection is part of this continuum with a slight perceptible difference from the previous collection, but a more distinct difference will emerge over a few more collections.
You have spoken about your dislike for technology in garment-making, so talk us through your design process for this collection.
I have nothing against the sewing machine! It is a great piece of timeless technology. However, I’m a bit skeptical about trend-led technology. I always think to myself: will I like this after a few years, or will it feel naff and dated?! My design process is always a see-saw between my pattern-drafting table and considered research into old and new materials.
What songs or albums were being played the most in the studio while you were making the collection?
I’m not sure! I let the interns play what they like which is a mix of the radio and their iPods. When Im alone in the studio I play Classic FM, it neutralises the space and that helps me concentrate and work faster. Classic music used to bore the hell out of me!
How did you go about choosing the music for the show?
Unfortunately, I can’t afford a music producer so I have to put it together myself with the help of a DJ friend. I always prefer abstract sounds which I tend to find in House and tribal beats.
Sum up the new collection in one sentence.
I hope it will be alright.