That CSM Graduated Edwin Mohney famous for her whimsical silhouettes, creations worthy of headlines (which remembers inflatable swimming pool dresses and “Trumpettos” from his MA collection?) and bespoke clothing for the like Beyoncé, Frank Ocean and Christina Aguilera . However, over the past year, it was forced to adapt to the industry challenges posed by pandemicThe Buffalo-born, LA-based fashion designer has shown that there is more to this brand than that.
First come avatar model, explore the possibilities of the new frontiers of digitally led fashion. Then, in the midst of a pandemic, Edwin turned his hand redesigning the PPE line hospital attire for frontline workers, which overcomes some of the shortcomings of existing uniforms. While Edwin’s work consistently displays exceptional craftsmanship, its unpredictable trajectory also keeps it interesting: for his latest project he’s teamed up with an Australian photographer Edward Mulvihill in a book exploring the outside of 3D modeling.
In response to a series of renders of an imaginary fantasy world created by Edward, Edwin has created six dresses that are incorporated in their design approach and which will ultimately be photographed in this imaginary setting. With the book due later this year, Edwin shares his new design with iD – picked up by Edward about new star Ajok – for an exclusive early preview.
We called Edwin to chat about his new project and his desire to “catch the wind and turn any moment into an unforgettable experience.”
Edwin, how would you describe yourself and your job?
I will describe myself as an artist working in the mediums of fashion, costume and design. I love the diverse aspects of these disciplines and how they continue to develop. There are always new techniques or completely opposite skills to explore. One minute I can express myself through pictures, then sew clothes, experiment with resin, be on set, or finally design characters on my computer. The integration of all these aspects feels generous and futuristic. I am interested in forging a path at the intersection of all my passions while remaining true to myself.
It makes a lot of sense in the context of your design. List your Instagram bio: couturier, customer, artist, tailor, tailor and stylist as your specialty. Why limit yourself ?!
Exactly. This description includes all versions of the ideal of myself that I see exist. One day I woke up and wanted to role-play Dior and Gaultier. The next day I distributed the Rauschenberg. To produce good work, in my opinion there is an element of performance and pretending to be involved. It comes from how I played as a child and I think that always lightens my mood when making things.
What inspires you the most?
Life, friends, love and family. Of course there are always literal references like imagery and music, but conversations with my best people inspire me more than anything.
How do you think growing up in America affected your job?
Enduring my teenage years really shaped me. I was consistently bullied and grew up as a strange, non-binary kid in rural America. I’m either too sensitive or too gay or too, dare I say, extraordinary for vanilla people. Creativity is my escape from pain that grows difficult and also a source of strength. Not much has changed in the way I practice. I still use my work to bring ideas to life and build more beautiful gifts. I learned a lot about my tenacity, passion, and identity through that experience.
The dresses here are made for your new project by photographer Edward Mulvihill. How did this come alive?
Planets and stars align. When many new ventures started, Edward and I were introduced Instagram. I have admired his work for some time and he came up with ideas for collaboration. I am so excited! It’s really something straight out of the universe because as I learn more about Edward’s ideas I realize I’ve started with dresses that feel in line with their virtual integration approach and textures. I keep expanding my early wardrobe ideas into a few more and here we are.
How do you make it and what is it made of?
I’m a big vintage collector. My favorite thing to do, when there’s no pandemic, is hunt for antiques. I have quite an archive of pleated cuts and jerseys from fabric stretch experiments. I didn’t find the technique, it was Pierre Cardin, but I created a silhouette which is my aesthetic using the stitched boning.
You’ve created clothes for some amazing artists including Christina Aguilera and Beyonce. Is this something you will continue to pursue?
It is the performative aspect of clothing that has inspired me from a young age. I love how the dress will change my mother’s mood or change her actions. It felt like magic. I ended up trying to help the wearer become the most confident version.
How would you describe what you are trying to share with the world?
If I can make something that makes someone smile or gives them life, that’s enough. The taste changes, my taste changes. I’m not interested in projecting my aesthetic in a deliberate way. Instead, I focus on catching the wind and turning the moment into a memorable experience. My goal is to unite people with this experience, whether they like it or not.