Wool Week Belgium: Damien Ravn
Damien Ravn has created a wool design being exhibited at the WM Gallery in Antwerp as part of Wool Week in Belgium. Campaign for Wool caught up with the designer.
Please tell us a little about yourselves and how your designs utilize wool?
I usually work with hi-tech fabrics, like 3D Spacers, nylons and polyurethane, so this was the first time I purely worked with wool. I have used wool in some details before, but taking part in The Campaign for Wool was the perfect opportunity for me to really explore the many benefits and advantages wool has over synthetic fibres. I love the contrast of something very new combined with old techniques, so I usually work extensively with craftsmanship, handwork and tailoring on hi-tech materials, but it was a pure pleasure to put that contrast aside and to work with both a fabric and technique that felt like they were perfectly made for each other.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere for me, from a song to a painting to simply something precious I experience, but I like to start with something personal and then I very often look to architecture and art movements for references. I try to find a combination of thoughts to bridge those two, but pattern making and mathematics are also vital parts of my inspiration. I usually cut each piece in one pattern and out of a single piece of fabric and I love to see how mathematical and perfectly calculated a garment can be built up. There is beauty in a perfect construction, even though it is something ‘invisible’ to the eye.
What makes you choose wool over other fibres?
Normally I would not choose wool, as I have limited my work to summer collections until now and I have concentrated on hi-tech materials, but after getting the opportunity to focus entirely on wool for Campaign for Wool, it is definitely a fabric I will choose over other fibres from now on. Working with tailoring and wool, as opposed to 3D Spacers, is a much less contrasted experience, but that is also its strength and it is a pure pleasure to work with.
How do you source wool?
For the Antwerp Wool Week I sourced wool in select stores in Antwerp, Brussels and Amsterdam, but Premiere Vision would be an obvious choice for future work.
Are there any plans to introduce more wool in to your collection?
Definitely. After the Fall/Winter-preview during Wool Week, I will launch my first full winter collection in March next year. Things are already in the planning, so keep an eye up for news!
What is your opinion about The Campaign for Wool and your participation in Wool Week?
For me personally, The Campaign for Wool has been a very gratifying experience. It has been very emotional, as both the dress and the preview of my next collection were inspired by my late mother and the strong bond we had. She meant the world to me and she was so involved in everything I did, my best friend and biggest supporter, so it is an honour for me to be able to dedicate the Wool Object and my collection to her. This was the last project she helped me with before she passed away, so it has been both difficult and good to be able to channel my sorrow through our ‘final work’ together. Getting the chance to work with such a renowned company as Woolmark on such a personal project was fantastic and I’m very honoured to be part of the first Wool Week in Belgium. Getting the opportunity to display my preview of FW15/16 at the XSO gallery was also a great opportunity, I am very happy with all the great feedback and I would like to thank Veerle Windels, Martin Franck, XSO and The Woolmark Company again for this opportunity.
What does 2015 hold for you?
Next week I am starting the next school year at the Fashion Department of the Warsaw Fine Arts Academy, teaching 2BA and 3BA, which I am very much looking forward to. Having just moved to Berchem, I am currently setting up my new atelier and a private showroom, and I am starting to prepare the full launch of FW15/16 in March 2015. Some interesting things are in the planning, so I am looking forward to see how my label develop to new strengths next year.