Innovative and conceptual collections, with a kind of hidden image that can’t be seen at first glance. Adél Zsigmond’s garments can function as casual attire, formal wear or even as a form of artistic self-expression, it’s only up to us how we would like to wear them at the given moment. Interview!
Adél Zsigmond is a true explorer, a traveler type of person: she graduated at the Department of Textile Design of Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca, and after having lived in Prague, Dublin, Budapest, Lithuania and Norway, she founded her clothing brand trademarked by her own name on 2017.
You went a long way before establishing the Adél Zsigmond brand. What led you to found your own company?
During my university studies, I not only gained professional experience, but also found myself in situations that resulted in great lessons for the future. During the foreign grants, I could learn at well-equipped universities, where I had almost everything needed for implementing the creative and innovative projects at hand. In Prague, I saw how hard the students work, how easy-going they can be after work, and how inclusive and welcoming they are. In Budapest, I could learn various techniques and I also improved my theoretical knowledge, while I Dublin I admired their strange fashion, and created innovative materials at the university with novel technologies.
After I finished by studies at the university, I moved back home to Miercurea Ciuc, and suddenly I had no idea what to do next. Then, based on the recommendation of one of my friends, I found myself in Gyárfás Oláh’s workshop, who just became the designer of the PATZAIKIN brand, and he asked me to join him as co-designer. One of our major projects was creating the uniforms of the Romanian team for the London 2012 Olympic Games. During this time, I also got an insight into workshop secrets, I could see good and bad solutions for various problems. It was edifying to see in live how a designer workshop works with local employees. It was like the missing piece of the puzzle allowing me to see the viability of my own clothing design workshop realistically.
I also had the chance to work as a costume designer. I designed costumes for Igor Stravinsky’s ballet work titled Rite of Spring and Csaba Mikó’s matinee Boldogságia. These experiences further affirmed the idea that a designer must be fully familiar with the techniques of sewing, otherwise it’s impossible to ensure quality work. I also learnt that the genre influences the form of clothes significantly. The clothes of ballet dancers require different patterns than streetwear items, they must be flexible and comfortable to withstand the continuous movement and special motions.
The shapes of your apparel are on the borderline: you create statuesque yet wearable pieces manifesting your own artistic self-expression. A typical manifestation of the same includes the vivid, phosphorescent details built on neon colors, appearing in all items as a common feature. What concepts are your collections built on?
I work on collections using the mystical playfulness of clothes as a basic concept. The special atmosphere of the latest pieces is a result of the phosphorescentdetails, which transform the daytime look of the clothes in the dark. My patterns are characterized by stylized lines and a division to dimensions. The interplay between the organic shapes of the human body and the geometry of the clothes create a unique look
Geometric lines and phosphorescent details combined with black-white-grey tones not only result in a mystical look, but a futuristic effect, as well. What are your main sources of inspiration?
I mainly build on personal experiences from the past, and I mix these with current themes and design trends. This is a combination through which I can create something unique, because I present it through my personal filter. The collections Pow-Wow and Strike Me Pink are based on childhood experiences, drawing on the world of phosphorescent toys.
Your brand represents the slow fashion approach: instead of following seasonality, you design permanent collections. In addition, your product palette is quite wide: you design unisex apparel, menswear, womenswear and sometimes even kids wear, too. Why do you consider this approach important and what challenges does it entail?
For me, designing not only for women, but for men, too, was a great challenge. I designed my Pow-Wow menswear collection as a painter with a canvas before him, and it doesn’t matter whether the painting is dedicated to women or to men. I rather aspired to convey a certain atmosphere with it, so it can also be regarded a unisex collection in this sense.
Now with several design fairs behind me, it has been proven that there is a demand for it. More and more men ask me whether there is something new for them.
Strike me Pink is a womenswear collection, with the title giving away that we will meet something unexpected, but it also encompasses that the collection will charm us with the tones and rhythms of its pink patterns. When exposed to light, the clothes go through a metamorphosis: as it gets dark, the pink patterns start to glow.
I create my collections in a manner keeping waste materials at the minimum. We create bowties, for example, from the waste materials. And now during the epidemic, we switched to creating masks. Our customers are already taking the opportunity and choose masks matching their clothes.
The idea of a kids’ line also came from the economic use of materials. Many times, larger pieces of materials are left after cutting the clothes, which are not enough to cut an adult-sized piece, but it might be good for a kids top. Although I haven’t made a full kids collection yet, this is also included in my long-term goals.
What are your plans for the future; in what directions do you plan to develop your brand?
My plans include creating more haute-couture clothes in addition to the prêt-à-porter collections, with which I can take part in both domestic and foreign fashion shows and exhibitions.
The world of casual wear is a kind of comfort zone, while haute-couture is an alternate reality, and stepping into it is a refreshing experience for me – another thing resulting from the explorer attitude I work with.
Go and discover Adél’s phosphorescent pieces and check out the Facebook and Instagram page of the brand.
Photos: Norbert Simon, Tamás Szőcs
Model: Lilla Kiskamony Szalay, András Szén