London's taste for the eclectic and avant-garde keeps it firmly at the frontiers of fashion - creating the perfect, fertile environment from which an abundance of new designers can emerge. The energy and diversity of the city has been a constant source of inspiration for generations of London-based designers and indeed, anyone interested in fashion, and this series of STYLEist celebrates the amazing talents of the capital's up and coming style-setters.
Amy Konstanze Mercedes Rainbow Winters
Amy is a new media artist and fashion designer whose work lies at the intersection of fashion, visual arts, music, film, dance and theatre. The British/Swiss artist graduated from Central Saint Martin’s in 2006 with a BA in Theatre Design. Previously Amy has worked in the smart textiles industry on research and development projects collaborating with scientists to create new fabrics for the fashion industry. She has won numerous awards and grants for her work and has been recognised by the likes of Channel 4, HSBC, Science Museum London, Science Gallery Dublin, TSB and the CSM Innovation Centre.
Her background in theatre gave her a strong spirit of observation and understanding of human behaviour and its environment. It is the foundation behind her obsession with artificial environments and the role of the human within this environment. The central theme in her work explores interaction- reaction, response and process. A personal obsession with theme parks, imaginary worlds and multi-sensory experiences and bringing incongruous disciplines together such as art and science are the driving force behind her work
Describe your brand
I fuse the cutting edge of science with the high-art of fashion to create visually stunning pieces especially made for music videos, rock-concerts, award-ceremonies, advertisements, magazine editorial and red-carpet events. The brand is highly theatrical, playful and expressive. The new collection includes two amazing showpieces. The first is the ‘rainforest’ showpiece which changes colour on reaction to sunlight and water, morphing from a black and white world into living colour. The second is the ‘thunderstorm’ dress, which is sound-reactive and transforms the wearer into a living thunderstorm. Made with bespoke holographic leather and sound-reactive, animated electroluminescent panels, as the volume rises, the dress illuminates to create ‘visual music’. The wearable pieces include bespoke prints on simply cut garments, which are inspired by the vibrant colours of the rainforest, light rain, cloud bursts and tropical thunderstorms.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is another form of art which through the use of the human body has the power to become interactive, I love working on photo-shoots and short films with my work and being able to create a specific atmosphere, another way of creating a living painting or illustration.
Who epitomises London Fashion for you?
Previous ‘60s style icons such as Twiggy who made London hip and who are still really relevant today for setting the city as a centre of experimentation. London in the ‘60s was a period of optimism and hedonism and new innovations in fashion, the mini-skirt, paper-dresses. Subconsciously my new collection is inspired by that time with optical illusion mini-dresses in rainforest colours.
How has London inspired you or your designs?
I think in London you always feel on edge as there are so many inspiring designers and new innovations that you have to keep pushing yourself. Naff places like the Trocadero Centre’s ‘Funland’ are also inspiring- a complete artificial world, all the sweets and video games look grotesque yet are strangely fascinating.
Where do you hang out?
I love the feeling in London you can dress for your area so it could be looking glamorous and polished in South Ken or mooching round brick lane on Sunday mornings. I also love all the little bars/café in Shoreditch, the river-bank in Richmond and the spooky beauty of Highgate cemetery. Canary Wharf over the weekend is also interesting, an empty space-town (although I don’t hang out there!).
What's the worst outfit you've seen someone wearing on the tube?
I quite like bad outfits! Tourists can be the worst offenders, but I would say it’s a tie between bored office-workers on the way to the gym after work with their rucksacks and trainers or the late night Leicester square clubbers wearing shiny nylon and far too much fake tan.
What was the first thing you designed?
Back in my school days I studied textiles and had an obsession with flowing water and its iridescent reflections- I created everything from waterfall chairs to paintings recreated entirely in stitch using a sewing machine as my paintbrush. On a more costume/fashion note at college I designed costumes for dark fairytale operas- Gottfried Helnwein was such a fantastic inspiration with his extravagant rococo style opera dresses filled with lights.
Which designers inspire you?
Thierry Mugler, each one of his shows was designed as a spectacle and the exuberant, expressive vision of John Galliano. Younger designers who inspire me are Nicholas Kirkwood's architectural shoes, Gemma Slack’s sculptural dresses and Holly Fulton's art-deco 3-D prints and embellishments.
Where can we buy your clothes?
Showpieces are made to order through the website www.rainbowwinters.com.
The Spring/Summer ’11 line has been released- wearable works of art which change colour, reacting to rain and sunshine. The label just launched this September so look out for stockists soon.