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Suzanne Jongmans turns packaging waste into Renaissance art

December 3, 2019 18:11

How often do you shop?

How often do you receive a package delivery?

How many bubble wraps have you popped?

How many shopping bags and wrapping papers have you thrown in the trash? 

No one has really been taking record of this, but we all know the answer is uncountable. Is it really necessary to have several wrapping papers plus boxes and bubble wraps for just one item? We all see these useless things as disposable trash, but Dutch artist Suzanne Jongmans thinks differently.

You might recognize this artist’s work from the images in which she captured the Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collection for the brand Moncler. Suzanne Jongman's artwork is known for being reminiscent of the Renaissance period’s art. It’s like traveling back in time with a modern twist.

In the art collection 'Mind over matter', Suzanne Jongmans recycles trash such as wrapping paper, plastic sheets, and bubble wrap and crafts them into a collection with stunning costumes inspired by the Renaissance era.

“Have a look at the old masters, you can really see the time that is put into paint”, Suzanne Jongmans explains.
Suzanne uses material such as tissue paper to recreate the texture of silk, and reforms a can of tomato puree into a beautiful ring. All of a sudden the plastic waste turns into a luxurious royalty costume.

Our reckless disposal of plastic is a serious concern we face nowadays as we're contaminating our earth with so much unnecessary waste. Suzanne Jongman’s art raises awareness to the environmental issues of waste in the fashion industry, as well as in our daily life.

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The employees in the boutiques, in the design studio and in the backstage area at fashion shows wear white lab coats, as was common in the ateliers of the great couturiers, e.g. Christian Dior, and is still common today. The fashion shows for the high-priced fashion sometimes took place in the context of the Paris Prêt-à-porter shows in unconventional locations, up to shabby surroundings (construction site, metro station, dining room of the Salvation Army etc.). The boutiques are kept in plain white and gray. Margiela originally selected unspectacular locations such as a residential area in Tokyo and did not publish the addresses of the boutiques in order to require the customer to make an effort to find the store at all. The first Margiela store opened in Tokyo in 2000 and the first European boutique was inaugurated in Brussels in 2002. In 2008, a boutique opened in a basement on the edge of Munich's Maximilianstrasse. This was followed by participation in numerous exhibitions, including "Radical Fashion", which was shown in 2001 at the V&A Museum in London. In 2010 there were 36 own stores worldwide.  In 2015 there were over 50 stores worldwide, including boutiques, that only carry the MM6 collection.

The company followed a very restrictive communication policy. The designer can neither be photographed nor interviewed. Only his creations should speak for themselves and the designs should be perceived as the overall performance of the team. That's why the team always shows up in white doctor's coats after the fashion shows - nobody should stand out.

By recycling old fashion, separating, recoloring, reversing seams and zippers, both the origin and the artificial of the art of tailoring are shown. Margiela puts together what doesn't belong together: by hand, jeans turn into skirts, old army socks become pullovers. Baptized by the press as deconstructivism, this current is defined by an abrupt collision of different materials, which at first glance appear inharmonic in the sense of conventional viewing habits. Margiela herself rejects the term "deconstructivism". He resurrected clothes in a new form, he told ELLE in 1991.

Margiela was the unofficial 7th member of "Antwerp 6", a generation of fashion designers who all completed their training at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1980-1981 and shaped the "style of the Belgians". However, it does not belong to the actual group, but it became known in a similar period.

The Japanese "Street Magazine" dedicated two special editions to "Maison Martin Margiela", which were published in book form in 1999. Nicolas Ghesquière (Balenciaga) is a big fan of Maison Martin Margiela.

In July 2014, fashion critic Suzy Menkes exposed Matthieu Blazy via Instagram as Head of Design, after which he deleted his Instagram account and changed his profile in a career network. He left the company on October 1, 2014.

To this day, Margiela pieces, especially in the fashion industry and all fashion lovers, belong to the sanctuaries in every repertoire and archive. Getting vintage pieces from other designers may be possible, but Maison Martin Marginal Archives are a real hunt and that says it all about this art.