A few months back i was getting lost within the vortex of Instagram when in my feed appeared the beautiful laser cut top that you see below. I was instantly on the hunt for the designer of this piece, and that is how i discovered Australian designer Ben Lalic. I was so impressed by the recent UTS graduate’s talent that I had to connect with Ben! Within a matter of minutes, a dialogue was created over DM’s and a few emails and i got a better understanding of what went into his graduating collection.
M. Tell me a little bit about the unique techniques you use within your designs? And why you have chosen to use them in your UTS graduating collection?
B. The concept behind the collection was to incorporate disabled body shapes into a normalized image of the body. I used weaving as a way to merge two separate entities into one, just as prosthetics are used to merge technology with natural matter. The way I work is quite mathematical and this often follows into my designs. I prefer to flat pattern make because I can visualize how the patterns are going to look on the body. As such, the idea to weave the pattern making led into weaving the textiles and making them patterns themselves. I then took it upon myself to recreate the common diamond fence weave found around any outdoor sporting field to innately reference images of ability. The second application of laser cutting I used was just a further development of this technique. I wanted to make the viewer question what it really was they were looking at, and to make the garment appear one, appear normal.
M. Why did you choose to design menswear ?
B. Starting at uni, the first year was all women wear based. Actually a lot of the course was women wear based. However I just always knew that I wanted to focus on menswear and taking my 3rd year menswear core subject solidified that decision for my graduate collection.
M. Where are you based out of and has this impacted the way you design?
B. I am based out of Sydney, Australia. They always say that Australians have their own unique way of designing, whether that be in architecture, art or fashion. Whether this is related to our geographic isolation from the the rest of the world and their influences, i don’t know. I definitely think that being brought up in Australia has made me aware of designing to cater for individual needs and my designs definitely have an underlying aesthetic of function behind them.
M. How do you define yourself as a designer of the next generation ?
B. I believe that to be the next up-and-coming or designer of a major established label, you have to be innovative and new. I always aim to apply this understanding to all my work and believe that with a few years of experience under the hands of an established or emerging label, this will be me. My aim is to start my own label with garments that bridge the gap between casual and suit attire and I believe there is a large gap in the menswear market for a label to exist. No one wants to wear a basic t-shirt and shorts or french cuffed shirt and notched lapel blazer anymore, they want something new.
Follow Ben Lilac’s journey @BenLalic
– Article by Myles Sexton