We sat down to talk with with Haden Gaynor, Business Developer at Nirvana CPH, to find out more about his previous work in the fashion industry and his final design project at university, which brought to life a collection of aesthetically-focused sportswear outfits capable of standing the test of time.
I studied BA Fashion Design & Performance Sportswear at University College Falmouth and my final major project, ‘The Form of True Grit’, was a turning point in my design education.
My desire to design ‘products’ as opposed to ‘fashion’ was based on an abiding love of products that stand the test of time both functionally and aesthetically. The clothing for this project had to remain humble, , whilst being at once hardwearing and luxurious.
My research into, and fascination with lost and forgotten fabrics grew organically after reading of the bravery of Sir Edmund Hillary and his fellow mountaineer Tenzing Norgay. On 29th May 1953 Hillary and Norgay became the first climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest, as part of the ninth British expedition to the mountain. Hillary was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century. He did this whilst wearing a jacket made from a fabric called Ventile, but nobody seemed to have any idea what this material was or from where it had been derived. My subsequent research into this unsung hero of the fabric world left me absolutely hooked.
Can you tell us what exactly was produced?
Six full outfits – sketched, designed and developed, made into paper patterns from this, calico toiles are then fabricated to ensure correct fit. Once the toile garment is correct a final fabric version is made.
What were the materials and processes used?
There were multiple materials and processes used during the coarse of this project. Materials ranging from, L34 Ventile , Scottish Flannel Wool, White Hungarian Goose Down, Pertex Quantum Ultralight, Waxed cotton, Guernsey spun Yarn and Shower proof Cotton Drill/Twill. Most of the processes were defined by how the material needed to be managed in order to give the garments longevity and protection.
Were there any challenges faced during production?
The Ventile fabric I used is a pure cotton that isn’t coated or laminated, yet the combination of the dense weave and the swelling properties of the fibres when wet provide excellent weatherproofing – This is known as ‘super hydrophobic fabric’. It’s an entirely natural product that offers a unique level of comfort, look and feel as well as being windproof, highly breathable, durable and quiet, which is why the military have a love for this fabric purely for its stealth quality.
The jacket had to be ‘lap’ seamed throughout. Lap seams consist of four layers of fabric intertwined into each other to create a very strong seam which allows the fabric to remain waterproof; as none of the needle holes in the cotton come into contact with any water. Those who have ever sewn together a garment from scratch know how difficult the sleeve holes can be to get flush.
The second hardest challenge was to distribute the white Hungarian goose down perfectly within the lining of the jacket. I had to actually lock myself into a completely calm secluded room. No sudden movements of any kind could be made, if someone was to open the door, it would create a vacuum in the room, the down would then waft and dance its way free around the room.
Down is an incredibly light and delicately mesmerising natural materials, research shows that no man made material can even come close to its beautiful loft and insulating properties. Sweating and breathing into a gas mask whilst fighting against the clock to meet that crucial deadline was extremely challenging. Down is by far one of the most expensive and wonderfully curious materials I have ever used to create something.
You can view more of Haden’s work here.
Are you interested in fashion design or would like to find out more about how Haden came up with his concepts? Perhaps you would just like to discuss his work? Then please tweet us at @NirvanaCPH.