I was just sitting on a hammock outside, smoking a cigarette, drying myself off after skinny dipping in beautiful crystal-clear pool. Yeah, I was feeling pretty damn relaxed. But after taking a look at Kamonnart Ongwandee's work I find myself feeling more than relaxed, I feel surprisingly... serene.
Ongwandee's Autumn/Winter 2013 collection 'In Remembrance Of' was inspired by the Thai fashion design student's growing interest in zen Buddhist philosophy. After watching the film by Yōjirō Takita (2008) about death, departure and overcoming grief through ideas of grace, beauty and transience, Ongwandee began researching Japanese aesthetics.
The designer's blog serves as evidence of the inspiration she finds in nature. Photographs of cloudy landscapes, leafy forests and muddy rivers fill pages and pages on the screen. Her love and awareness of nature translate into her work visually and in technique. For example, she opts for the more sustainable process transfer printing in order to eliminate the need for screens and fixing of dyes. "My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, frequently from the natural world, both concrete and abstract."
It is clear that Ongwandee is not merely a designer of clothes, but a thoughtful and profound artist. 'In Remembrance Of' tells a tale of grief through colour, design and fabric manipulation. We see the motions happening from dark to light, black to white to grey to white on white, from, sadness to peace, acceptance and transience.
Through her website we are given the insight into her process of creation, like the textile development of the collection's fabric - part human made, part machine. Part western, part Japanese. Ongwandee's work is constantly creating binaries that make us think of the fragility of human life. Her immediate goal is to get zen philosophy into people's worlds through her fashion creations. Writing about herself in the third person, Ongwandee states, "Kamonnart creates a piece of art that people can wear in everyday life but with god in details."
Words / Ana Gomides