13 April, 2011

Fabulous Blog

Jorge Ayala interviewed by New York-based Rana Mumtaz, from FABLOGUE
to see the original article click here

Tell us a little about AA School of Architecture and your present Role

The Architectural Association has offered me the opportunity to get started with this new programme in Paris- city where I spent most of the time. Christopher Pierce who leads the AA Global Schools Programme allowed this exchange to happen while pointing at an interest to grow up the AA within Europe. Somehow we both felt that the European Continent still holds a myriad of options for theoretical research and thick new research-based studios.

Also, on the last years the AA School has known an expansion in all continents and among them some countries have become really interesting places to study at the AA, like China. We thoroughly believe Paris could channel such interests linking different design scales, approaches and parallel disciplines.

How did you conceive the idea of FAAshion

It was when I saw the last pair of shoes designed by Alexander Fielden that I got the idea to open this programme! (laughters) I am joking!

Today, there is non academic institution trying to push forward on the long term both parallel disciplines –Fashion and Architecture- towards same directions. On the other side, at the beginning for AA School of Architecture it really represented a challenge to be able to generate an audience in Paris, geographically and culturally speaking very close to London. The Fashion Industry came as an opportunity to create a thick topic for our Parisian agendas.

When one thinks about Paris, one thinks about fashion and the thousands of billions that are invested on it, renewing such efforts season after season. Thus, our goal became to challenge all architectural expressions within fashion: from catwalks to retail, from pop up stores to apparel new typologies, going to clothing design too.

What do you see the program that you are developing will be morphing into in the future

As a new discipline: Fashion Architecture, having a field of expression and repercussions within the practice.

In today’s society, many consumers are hungry for greater meaning in their lives. Therefore big global brands of mass production need to address the anxieties of such costumer identities. To that extend, clothing design get ‘sort of democratized’. Due to this many fashion-design courses start to focus on cost-cutting strategies, fast-moving business, global goods, retail sections and commercial products. Within our design course we seek to prototype spatial apparel logics that stage sharp, raw, urban, experimental and alien couture forms.

As we speak, I am getting in contact with some American designers based between New York and Paris whom interests meet ours. Also, a series of academic institutions –elsewhere than France- have shown their support and will of joining this adventure.

Tell us a little about the recent exhibit in Paris and how it culminated and do you plan to hold such exhibits in other cities as well

The final show was amazing. The 40 students we had joining this first season were really proactive and wanted to have their word to say within such emerging topics. We manage to present a decent amount of digitally-design garments, new typologies for retail stores and experimental catwalks too.

And yes of course! We want to go wider. I have received an invitation to run our fashion architecture programme in Barcelona. We look forward to this, especially when cities like Barcelona, Los Angeles or Doha had turn to become leading locations for fashion and architectural novelty.

What are some of the thoughts that you would like to share with students who may want to apply to your program

On the feedback received from the first alumni, we all agree that many of the topics we raised during the first season are far for been concluded yet, they have so much potential for development (in theory and in practice).

Always keeping an eye in the reality, I believe fashion is such a deep social catalyst now at days we all can learn about. I am glad slowly but surely Architects start to look at the temporality of fashion as a source for architectural means.

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