Alison Page Portrait

Read: Designer Catchups: Alison Page

Date: August 4, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

Read: Designer Catchups: MaterialByProduct

Date: August 4, 2015

Author: Dermot McGuire

WithCUSP about to come a close on 15 August atQVMAG, we’ve set out to discover what our 12 designers have been investigating, creating, and experimenting with since CUSP first launched back in 2013.

We caught up withMaterialByProduct‘s artisan and director Susan Dimasi to discover the latest from the bleeding edge of ‘slow fashion’

Established in 2003 by designer and artisan Susan Dimasi, MaterialByProduct occupies a unique position at the nexus of fashion, art, design and culture.

The gorgeous pieces, Susan says, are more than just clothes. “They are compositions in space. For the wearer, the experience of being immersed in the clothes is probably more important than the experience of being admired in them.”

Check out this wonderful video where Susan and renowned choreographer and dancer Shelley Lasica tell a story of clothes and women in MBP’s studio.

Interested in cultivating memories and experience through the clothes we wear, Susan creates beautiful clothing that literally tells the story of the wearer.

When garments marked with coloured textas are activated by the wearer’s body heat and emotional states the patterns ‘bleed’ into the cloth, changing the look and story of the piece forevermore.

Here’s Susan talking about MaterialByProduct’s design ethos and inspirations.

For the tenth anniversary of MaterialByProduct, Susan took over a space in luxury men’s fashion store Harrolds in Melbourne, and filled it with ‘moments’ that paid homage to fashion designers who have influenced her: Margiela, Balenciaga and Kawakubo among them.

Here’s a little write up about the event, and interview with Susan where she talks about making the invisible visible.

The resulting template of lines, dots and dashes she draws in chalk, Liquid Paper and Texta – whatever is durable and at hand – resembles a musical language, or Kandinsky’s points and lines. Her cutting-edge designs made from silk, wool and leather have twice earned her Premier’s Design Awards (2006 and 2008).

With a keen interest in sustainability, MaterialByProduct has often eschewed the more traditional bi-annual collections of the fashion industry in favour of a more timeless aesthetic and schedule.

The luxury goods brand has small production runs that are focused on trans-seasonality – a practice that creates longevity and value for money.

Susan and MaterialByProduct were featured in the Australian Financial Review, talking about this idea of ‘slow fashion.’

“Slow fashion is where you don’t necessarily adhere to the standard seasons,” [RMIT University’s School of Fashion and Textiles Associate Professor Robyn Healy] says. “Fashion is no longer directed by spring, summer, autumn, winter or resort collections. Slow fashion means the designs can be sustained for longer periods.”

One of the more celebrated exponents is Susan Dimasi, an RMIT graduate, whose design house MATERIALBYPRODUCT is a luxury goods brand that has small production runs that are nonetheless commercially viable.

Dimasi says that while she creates seasonal collections, her emphasis is on trans-seasonality, which gives longevity to her designs. Her clientele is discerning, wanting information on how the clothes are tailored and what they are crafted from. “They look for longevity, and value sustainable design credentials when investing in their wardrobe,” she says.

Earlier this year, womenswear boutique Department of the Exterior joined forces with the artisan Hotel Hotel to present MaterialByProduct’s new collection at the Nishi Gallery in Canberra.

There, Susan shared memories and inspirations for the ‘Star’ collection, in what was a real treat for loyal fans and new followers alike.

The pieces on display in the store were breathtakingly beautiful and all but thrummed with the time and effort that had gone into executing each beautiful piece. When you see a Materialbyproduct garment in the flesh, you instantly know that you are beholding something different to anything you have ever seen in a store. Tailored to perfection with beautifully hand-sewn accents, the caliber of these pieces is truly a cut above.

The last couple of years have seen MaterialByProduct’s star continue to rise, and we expect plenty more thoughtful work from Susan for years to come!

MaterialByProduct rejects the fashion industry status quo. In a trade where collections are typically produced biannually, only to be superseded a season later, MaterialByProduct offers year-round continuity and timelessness. And despite the mass production and waste characteristic of the industry, this luxury fashion house is testament to the power of thinking differently.

Over the past ten years, MaterialByProduct’s artisan and director, Susan Dimasi, has been dedicated to developing systematic techniques for marking, cutting and joining cloth to create exquisitely feminine pieces. For Dimasi, the process is integral to creating a distinct MaterialByProduct design language. “The garments are more than clothes; they are compositions in space,” she explains. “For the wearer, the experience of being immersed in the clothes is probably more important than the experience of being admired in them.”