I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with LA designer Jasmin Shokrian in her studio to take a look at her Fall collection and talk about her inspiration for Spring 2012. I’d been to her studio many times before pulling clothing for photo shoots and I remembered it being a beautiful tranquil space that communicated her design aesthetic so well. I first saw Jasmin’s collection when I moved to LA six years ago and I was so excited to find an LA designer that had such an elevated and artistic approach to fashion. Her design aesthetic could be described as complex simplicity as she practices high design techniques using architectural references to produce beautifully cut garments. There is something about her line that always reminds me of both Japanese and French design which explains why I’ve always been such a fan.
Jasmin is a layed back Angeleno, born and raised, and grew up idolizing her mother’s refined taste in clothing. She vividly remembers watching her mother design and sew amazing clothes during her childhood and her fascination with design began there.
Jasmin studied film, painting and sculpture at The Art Institute of Chicago which is where her love of design and art grew into something bigger than she had imagined. Her passion began with sculpture where she constructed pieces out of found objects, metal, fiber and fabrics. During her tenure, she discovered her love for conceptual art and began to use her vision in her passion for filmmaking. Fashion was never a part of her plan until she returned to Los Angeles and decided to join forces with her mother to start her collection in 2002.
“I am obsessed with the banal. I take photos all day. I find that it really helps me sketch out my ideas. Sometimes those photos make their way on to the walls of my studio, or the walls of my apartment. I live with them.
Shapes emerge, colors emerge concepts are obvious to me when I pay attention to what I am photographing. I need to live with the ideas in order to make sure that they feel right, before I decide to make an entire collection about them.”
Understanding Jasmin’s point of view on fashion is directly linked to her artistic studies as she doesn’t approach fashion in a typical sense. As a conceptual artist, her inspiration comes from imagery, emotion and experience. She doesn’t draw upon history nor does she reference trend ideas or movements. Everything comes from inside of her head drawing on her own visceral experiences to produce clothes that portray the feelings they evoke. Jasmin is an artist in every sense of the word. To talk with her about her inspiration is a conversation that only those with an intellect for conceptuality can understand. I was fascinated during our conversation and we both had the feeling that we could go on for days comparing ideas on design, filmmaking and art. But let’s get back to the fashion.
” My philosophy has always been to approach what I am doing in the realm of fashion as I would if I were approaching any other work of art. I do not however state that what I am making in fashion is Art. There has always been a clear difference to me because I am unfortunately far too aware that fashion is not yet accepted in the “Art World” as a valid medium. I do however feel that I am treading a line that is really exciting to me as an artist. My Brand is driven by the idea that I am making something innovative. I have always been very critical of what I make. I am therefore alwayslooking at fashion with a discerning eye.”
Jasmin’s design aesthetic combines Utilitarian and Nautical references while also referencing line and shape. Her woman is subtle but strong with a sex appeal that is only witnessed by those with an eye for detail. Her designs are timeless and carry a refined sensibility in craftmanship and cut that are likened to most French designers. Those that don’t appreciate design, might think her silhouettes are simple, but that is not the case at all. Every piece has a touch of architecture and intellect that reminds me most of designer Martin Margiela.
My comparison to Margiela put a smile on her face as Jasmin is obsessed with innovation and sites Margiela, Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves St Laurent (particularly from the year 1978) as some of her biggest fashion influences. As we talked further, we found more and more similarities in our design taste as she sited some of her current fashion favorites (which happen to be some of mine): Cosmic Wonder, Comme des Garcons,Sacai and Couturier Bouchra Jarrar. Jasmin and I most connected on our thoughts about the importance of timelessness and classicism in design. We both love what Celine is doing in regard to designing for a strong, clean, feminine and modern woman that surpasses all trends. I always talk about buying clothes that are high in design because they will last in your closet forever. Jasmin completely represents this train of thought in everything that she produces which is why I respect her aesthetic so much. I’m not the only one who appreciates her aesthetic, in 2005 she won the highly respected Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award for womenswear design joining the list of recipients that include Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam and and Thakoon.
In 2009, Jasmin launched a new design experiment called Draft No 17 that features conceptual variations of classic fashion silhouettes. The first edition paid tribute to the quintessential slip dress in a variety of approachable yet directional variations such as dresses, tops, shirts, pants and jumpsuits. This season, she merged fabrics from Draft and shapes from her main Collection to tell the story. The narrative for the Fall 2011 line is based on juxtaposition and incorporates the idea of tromp- l’oeil thru innovative fabric combinations and the idea of “fake vs. real”. Some pieces seem perfect on one end through their construction and yet falling apart on the other with raw edges and exposed seams. The color palette includes bright blues and reds perfectly combined with a modern black and white palette.
Jasmin is currently working in her Los Angeles studio developing concepts for her Spring 2012 collection. I plan on checking back in with her in a few months to talk shop and find out more about which experience she drew from to initiate her inspiration for the season. Can’t wait!!!
“I have Found fashion to be an exciting and challenging medium for my ideas.My collections always begin from some sort of epiphany. Chance is a huge part of my process. Its important to listen to my own thoughts, and really pay attention to what I see and hear around me.Its the honing in on what is relative to this medium that is exciting. Sculpture filmic ideas and painting have always informed the collections. I think about movement, context as well as shape in a particular composition. I cannot help but approach each idea this way.”