Friday, March 07, 2008

New career plan #119: pattern-maker.

In a profile of designer Rick Owens in the issue of The New Yorker that came to my mailbox today (also arriving: tickets to the Ben Folds concert on April 24!, the Nordstrom catalog, other crap), I read this:

"Owens left Otis-Parsons [art school] after two years, to study pattern-cutting at a trade college. He began creating costumes and sets for local artists and performers, members of what he has called 'the wicked Hollywood hustler-bar world.' For four years, he worked in knockoff houses in Los Angeles, copying in cheap fabrics the work of well-known fashion designers. The experience proved invaluable. Many designers never master the difficult art of pattern-cutting, and the originality and sophistication of Owens's clothes--his ability to plant seams in unexpected places and to hang fabrics on the bias so that the cross grain clings to or drapes dramatically from the body--derive from his years in the knockoff mills. 'Picasso did classic figure drawing in the beginning, and then, after that, he's abstracted,' Owens told me. 'You can't convincingly get abstract until you really know the fundamentals. It's the same thing with pattern-making. You can't start distorting things unless you kind of know what you're doing.' As Cathy Horyn wrote last week in the Times, in an admiring review of Owens's Fall 2008 collection, 'A designer who controls his pattern making can say the most with his clothes. It's just like a writer with language.'"

"Just like a writer with language." Ta-da! Where's a trade college that teaches pattern-cutting?


  1. Cool. Also, like the new 1000 words or so feature... you are cool!

  2. A great excerpt. Maybe we should go back to some classical pedagogy then? Imitation exercises in the writing classroom?

  3. I like it. Thanks for making those connections.

  4. That's how I write. Snip-snip-snip, then stitch over the nearest torso.



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